Mackay Cape Hillsborough

Here’s how you can get your very own “wallabies at dawn” photo with your family

Have you ever seen stunning shots of wallabies enjoying their brekkie on the beach? Cue instant photo envy.

Thanks to an adorning sunrise, golden shoreline and gorgeous palm trees, these shots look like they’ve barely used any effects to make them pop.

So, grab the kids and start packing your favourite long and wide-angle lenses.

First things first, where’s this famous beach?

Causarina-Beach-Cape-Hillsborough

Two words: Casuarina Beach.

Located just 52km from Mackay, Causarina Beach is in Cape Hillsborough, a National Park along the East Coast. The area is maintained by resident rangers to protect the wildlife and to ensure that visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience.

You will need a set of wheels to get to Cape Hillsborough. So, if you’re flying to Mackay, be sure to hire a car. If you’re driving north from Brisbane, take the Pacific Coast Way and embark on an unforgettable road trip.

When is the best time to see wallabies?

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Ranger-Sam-Wallabies-at-Cape-Hillsborough

Although wallabies may visit the beach throughout the day and night, the best time to see them is approximately an hour either side of sunrise. So, be sure to time your visit precisely.

Before you arrive, book your Wallaby Tour with Ranger Sam because she’ll get you as close as possible to the dining wallabies. Sam will take you the best spot on the beach to capture that incredible shot and teach you about the Cape Hillsborough natural eco-system and the resident wallabies and kangaroos that visit daily.

Why do wallabies venture down to the beach?

Wallaby-at-Sunrise-Wallabies-at-Cape-Hillsborough

Nope, they’re not just early risers who are up at the crack of dawn. The early hours of the morning (and low tide) are actually prime feeding times. And, the Causarina Beach shoreline is like an all-you-can-eat buffet for wallabies.

The high tides wash tasty mangrove seedpods ashore, and these are irresistible to our furry friends. We guess that they’re the equivalent to our salt and vinegar chips.

How to get that perfect shot?

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Your models (a.k.a the wallabies) are wild animals and are easily spooked. So, don’t try and pat them and avoid the temptation to use flash.

If you really want that perfect shot, be prepared to get a little sandy. The best photos are taken crouching or lying on the sand so that you can capture the magnificent sunrise and landscape in the background.

Where to stay?

Smalleys-Beach-Camping-Cape-Hillsborough

Rough it up and camp under the stars in a powered or unpowered site at the Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park or along Smalleys Beach (9-minute drive away). Both have cooking facilities and shower amenities.

Or for hotels and resorts, head to Seaforth where you’ll find Halliday Bay Resort, Seaforth Holiday Units and Seaforth Beachside Accommodation.

Before you visit, brush up on your wallaby knowledge

Wallaby-on-the-beach-Cape-Hillsborough

  • Wallabies and kangaroos are native to Australia.
  • The wallabies that visit Cape Hillsborough shorelines are the Agile Wallabies and the Eastern Grey Kangaroos.
  • Wallabies and Kangaroos are macropods, which are plant-eating marsupials.
  • They can’t walk backwards or move their hind legs independently, except for when they’re lying on their side.
  • Some of the wallabies and kangaroos that you’ll see in Cape Hillsborough will also have a joey (baby roo) in their pouch. Cue cuteness overload.

Need some more helpful info?

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Have you seen the Wallabies at Cape Hillsborough? Share your pics with us using #thisisqueensland or tagging @queensland.

This post was originally published in 2014 and updated in August 2018