Updated: Jan 24
Before you start
Distance: 1.2 Km over a generally flat path with some rocky surface. With children can take about 50 min.
How to get there: 50 km North of Mackay. Follow the Bruce Highway and turn off to Seaforth. From here follow the signs to Cape Hillsborough. When you get to the Cape Hillsborough nature park at the end of the road, you will find a small road
leading behind the back of the park. Follow the gravel road till you reach the Hidden valley at the end of the road (2 km).
Accomodation: Plenty of options exist for accomodation around Cape Hillsborough and Seaforth. These include camping and caravanning options at the nature park, Smalley's beach (see our post), Ball bay and Seaforth.
Be prepare to be amazed by this hidden valley at Cape Hillsborough. This is a must do walk when you visit the area. This trail takes you into the cultural past of the land, and the natural history of the region.
The walk starts at the car park, where you will find a sign containing the main information about the trail. Take your time to read this to your kids. The trail itself takes you through various forest types starting with open dry forest and rainforest at the furthest point (the hidden valley) while clinging closely to the shore. We could hear the waves breaking on the shore while walking. The trees in this area are very special, and as you walk along you will discover some of the most important trees for indigenous Australians.
As mentioned, the region is rich in Aboriginal history. The girls were fascinated with the information on the signs about what the different trees were used for, identifying these trees in the forest and their colourful fruits on the ground. The trail also encircles a waterhole which provided water to the Yuibera people. After the waterhole the tree canopy becomes denser and the trees taller, indicating you are in a rainforest patch. The tallest tree we found was a Milky pine about 25m tall.
Fauna and flora
Some of the trees you will find on this walk.
Blue quandong: Fruits used for food,
Broad leaved tree: Bark used for building huts and the leaves were bruised in water. This water was used for medical purposes.
Cheese fruit: The fruit was used as medicine and food.
Cluster fig: They ate the fruits of this tree.
Damson: Parts of the plant was used for fish poison.
Hickory wattle: Used the wood for a variety of things including musical instruments, and the seeds were used to make flour.
Ghost gum: Used for firewood.
Grasstree: Their flowers were used for preparing a drink.
Native cherry: Wood burnt as a mosquito repellent and the fruits eaten.
Native gardenia: Fruits were eaten.
Silver ash: Wood made into tools.
Milky pine: Bark ground to a powder to make a glue. This glue was essential for attaching feathers to their skin for ceremonies.
Tanjong tree: Fruit for food.
Supple jack: Stems of the tree were used for fibre and sewing and other parts for medical purposes.
(Reference: Stone, 2016. Walks, Track and Trails of Queensland Tropics).
Bring aerogard as there are lots of march flies and mosquitos.
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Thanks for reading!