Cape Hillsborough National Park on Queensland's Whitsunday coast is a hidden gem, a short drive north of Mackay. The 816 hectare park has rocky headlands and formations resulting from early volcanic activity. Surrounding waters are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and offer rocky coves, secluded and palm-fringed sandy beaches and inquisitive wallabies at sunrise each day.
Cape Hillsborough began forming around 30 million years ago when lava flows covered the area. Pinnacle Rock, standing beside the road to the Cape, is a remnant of that time. The area was alternately covered with silt and lava flows and pounded by surf over the centuries. Rocks at the Cape's twin beaches are proof of geological upheaval.
Juipera Aborigines left behind shell middens and rock fish traps and stone axe-heads. Fire places typical of those people have been found a metre below the current soil surface.
Captain Cook was the first recorded European to see the area, and named it after the Earl of Hillsborough. That was in 1770, and by the end of the 1860s the first farms were established.
Cape Hillsborough Resort was developed by the Risleys in the 1950s. Something for everyone, it has motel rooms, cabins, huts, villas, powered and unpowered camping sites.
They spent many years of hard work clearing a track into the area, firstly by hand, then bulldozer to remove large trees. The road to Hidden Valley and circular walking track was also initiated by the Risleys. They created other walking tracks and a picnic area, took in running water from a spring and had electricity and telephone connected. They opened for business in 1966 and retired in 1975. A sealed road to Cape Hillsborough was completed in 1993 and it was connected to town water in 2001.
Cape Hillsborough unpowered camping sites start at $20 a double a night and $25 for powered. Villas start at $70 a double a night, Beach Huts $85 and motel rooms $105.
40 minutes north of Mackay in Queensland.
For further information
Cape Hillsborough Nature Resort
MS 895 Mackay Queensland 4740
Phone: (07) 4959 0152
Fax: (07) 4959 0500
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