Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cape Hillsborough National Park

We set out to another national park for more bushwalking. Along the way, we had an overdose of the same scenery...

Yes, you guessed it, sugarcane plantations.

And more sugarcane plantations.

Cape Hillsborough National Park is located 837km northwest of Brisbane, about 50km north-west of Mackay and is open 24 hours a day. The Yuibera people lived in this area for thousands of years and signs of their special connection to the area are still present. Explorer James Cook named Cape Hillsborough during his voyage up the Queensland coast in 1770.

While at the park, we walked two tracks. The first we did was the Diversity Boardwalk, which is graded easy. The 1.2km return walk took about 40 minutes to complete.

This track meanders through melaleuca woodland, a mangrove community, open eucalypt forest and vine thicket. The first 300m of the walk is accessible to wheelchairs.

The second track was chosen because we have not done a beach walk before. Therefore, the moderate-graded Beachcomber Cove Track was ventured. It took us about 1.5 hours to complete the 2.2km return track, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

This track starts from the northern end of the Cape Hillsborough picnic area, and then passes through open eucalypt forest and remnant rainforest with hoop pines, ferns and vines.

The upward climb was a little tiring but when we arrived at the end of the track in Beachcomber Cove, we were rewarded with pleasant views from a lookout on top of the ridge.

As it was low tide, we returned to Cape Hillsborough picnic area along the beach.

On the broad beach, sand bubbler crabs leave intricate patterns at low tide, and many sea creatures shelter in tidal rock pools. Surrounding waters are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The park is a peninsula of volcanic origin, covered largely by rainforest with a maximum elevation of 267m. Large rhyolite boulders scattered over the headlands and beaches are a reminder of volcanic activity millions of years ago, as are volcanic plugs and other striking rock formations found in the park.

After a quick lunch at the picnic area, we then continued our journey northward. Next stop, Townsville.

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