Star visitor experience a hook for longer holiday stays

Enjoying a sunrise with the wallabies and kangaroos on the beach at Cape Hillsborough has reached unprecedented interest from visitors to The Mackay Region and a concerted effort is being made to encourage them to stay longer off the back of this star visitor attraction.

With that increased popularity, Mackay Tourism Ltd. and Tourism and Events Queensland, in partnership with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Pty Ltd  (DBCT P/L) and Rio Tinto Hail Creek Mine have collaborated to shift the emphasis of this experience from being a short-term photo opportunity to a multi-day experience to encourage visitors to immerse themselves in the multitude of the region’s attractions.

Teaming up with over a dozen tourism operators from across the Cape Hillsborough and Hibiscus Coast precinct, a program has been running since early 2017 to influence greater collaboration between businesses, plan for future growth and encourage increased length of stay and dispersal across the region.

Rio Tinto Hail Creek Mine’s General Manager, Operations Rowan Munro said Rio Tinto was pleased to support local businesses and the tourism industry through this initiative.

“We understand the importance of having a diverse range of businesses and industries such as tourism in the region to build the capacity and ensure that Mackay will be a strong and sustainable community in the future,” Mr Munro said.

DBCT P/L were also major supporters. CEO Steve Rae said DBCT P/L saw the value in sponsoring a tourism experience that would not only have flow-on economic benefit to the community, but also improve the livability of The Mackay Region.

“Our employees are locals, and improving the Cape Hillsborough experience benefits them as well when they want to explore what’s on offer in their own backyard,” Mr Rae said.

The program includes business mentoring, storytelling and mentoring for commercial tourism operators, improved interpretive signage at Cape Hillsborough National Park and new marketing collateral to promote the diversity of accommodation, walking trails, food, produce and nature based experiences within easy proximity to Casuarina Beach.

The Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park is directly adjacent to Casuarina Beach, and is the key accommodation provider for visitors who seek out this experience.

Owner Ben Atherton says visitors find they enjoy the full experience when they stay for at least one night, so they can wake up and walk outside to see this amazing nature experience unfold before their eyes.

“What’s more beautiful than jumping out of bed to watch the sunrise and seeing Australia’s native wildlife having breakfast on the beach?” Mr Atherton said.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of visitors for the sunrise experience over the last 12 months, so it is extremely important that something is in place to protect the experience, and the wildlife.”

General Manager of Mackay Tourism, Tas Webber, said it was important that visitors know about the other exciting experiences they can enjoy in the area so that they extend their stay.

“Visitors can also explore walking trails with breathtaking views of the coral sea, indulge in a treatment at Avatar Country Day Spa and Spiritual Wellness Centre, enjoy delicious food at The Old Station Tea House, buy fresh, seasonal, organic produce at The Organic and Natural Store as well as discover how rare and precious gems are made into jewelry at That Sapphire Place”, Mr Webber said

In addition to Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park, the area has other distinctive accommodation experiences set in the heart of nature including five star retreat The Feathered Nest near Kuttabul, and private retreat Shambalah Creek Cottage at Cameron’s Pocket, with both attracting visitors from home and abroad.

Other businesses involved in the program include Reeforest Adventure Tours, Sticks and Stones, Seaforth and Seaforth Bowls Club.

Mackay Tourism is also focusing efforts on working with Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park and key stakeholders to ensure the sunrise with the wallabies experience is appropriately managed into the future to protect and enhance this special natural encounter for generations to come.

For more information, visit have also produced a new blog 48 Hours in Cape Hillsborough and The Hibiscus Coast.


Melissa Woods - Communications Officer

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Published: 31 July 2017


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