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Top 11 Things To Do in Cape Palmerston, QLD Australia (with local Hidden Gems)

05/08/2023
9 mins read
Salonika Beach
Source: Tourism and Events Queensland/Brooke Miles

Cape Palmerston, QLD Australia is a hidden gem located in the heart of Queensland’s stunning coastline. This remote and undeveloped park offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, with its breathtaking beaches, creeks, and mountains. Whether you’re a nature lover, outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Cape Palmerston has something for everyone.

Join us as we unveil the top things to do in Cape Palmerston, QLD Australia, and discover the natural wonders that await you. From boating and fishing to hiking and birdwatching, this enchanting destination promises unforgettable adventures. Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of Cape Palmerston and embark on an extraordinary journey through this captivating world.

Things To Do In Cape Palmerston, QLD

1. Enjoying the sandy beaches, dunes, and rugged headlands

Cape Palmerston is a foodie’s paradise, offering a variety of seafood feasts and island discoveries. Join a local tour or explore on your own to discover the best seafood spots and hidden gems.

Sarina Beach
Source: Tourism and Events Queensland/Brooke Miles
Grasstree Beach
Source: Tourism and Events Queensland/Brooke Miles
Salonika Beach
Source: Tourism and Events Queensland/Brooke Miles

Indulge in fresh oysters, prawns, and fish, and enjoy the stunning views of the ocean and surrounding landscape. This is a perfect activity for those looking for a unique and delicious experience.

  • Address: Cape Palmerston National Park, Ilbilbie QLD 4738, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 115km southwest of Mackay, off the Bruce Highway
  • Note: Explore the various access points along the coastline, such as the main entrance near the campground, to access the sandy beaches, dunes, and rugged headlands.

2. Fishing along the waterways

Calling all fishing enthusiasts! Cape Palmerston offers an abundance of fishing opportunities for both beginners and seasoned anglers. Cast your line into the pristine waterways and try your luck at catching a variety of fish species. From bream and flathead to mangrove jack and barramundi, the possibilities are endless. Whether you prefer shore fishing or heading out on a boat, you’ll find plenty of spots to reel in your next big catch. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature and enjoy the thrill of the chase as you wait for that exciting tug on your line.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but the best time is during the cooler months (April to September) when the fish are more active.
  • Address: Cape Palmerston National Park, Ilbilbie QLD 4738, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 115km southwest of Mackay, off the Bruce Highway
  • Note: Make sure to obtain the necessary permits before fishing.

3. Birdwatching to see ospreys, sea eagles, and white-breasted woodswallows

For nature lovers and bird enthusiasts, Cape Palmerston is a paradise waiting to be explored. Grab your binoculars and embark on a birdwatching adventure to spot magnificent ospreys, majestic sea eagles, and charming white-breasted woodswallows. As you wander through the coastal habitats and lush forests, keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Listen to the melodic songs and observe their graceful movements as they soar through the sky. Don’t forget to bring a field guide to identify the various bird species you encounter along the way.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but the best time is during the cooler months (April to September) when the birds are more active.
  • Address: Cape Palmerston National Park, Ilbilbie QLD 4738, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 115km southwest of Mackay, off the Bruce Highway
  • Note: Bring a field guide to identify the various bird species you encounter along the way.

4. Driving along the beach

Experience the thrill of driving along the sandy shores of Cape Palmerston. Hop into a 4×4 vehicle and embark on an exhilarating beach driving adventure. Feel the adrenaline rush as you navigate through the soft sand, with the sparkling ocean on one side and the rugged coastline on the other. Explore hidden gems, discover secluded spots, and enjoy the freedom of exploring this stunning coastal landscape at your own pace. Just make sure to check the tides and obtain the necessary permits before hitting the beach. Get ready for an unforgettable off-road experience that will leave you with lasting memories.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but the best time is during the dry season (May to October) when the weather is mild and the sand is firmer.
  • Address: Cape Palmerston National Park, Ilbilbie QLD 4738, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 115km southwest of Mackay, off the Bruce Highway
  • Note: Make sure to check the tides and obtain the necessary permits before hitting the beach.

5. Camping in the Cape Palmerston National Park

Immerse yourself in nature’s embrace by camping in the breathtaking Cape Palmerston National Park. Set up your tent or park your camper in one of the designated camping areas and prepare to be surrounded by stunning natural beauty. Wake up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore, breathe in the fresh coastal air, and witness the vibrant colors of the sunrise or sunset. Explore the park’s walking trails, discover hidden beaches, and marvel at the diverse flora and fauna that call this place home. Camping in Cape Palmerston National Park is an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with the wonders of the natural world.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but the best time is during the cooler months (April to September) when the weather is milder.
  • Address: Cape Palmerston National Park, Ilbilbie QLD 4738, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 115km southwest of Mackay, off the Bruce Highway
  • Note: The park is accessible only by 4WD vehicles, and self-sufficient campers are recommended.

6. Boating along the coastal estuaries and creeks

Embark on a thrilling boating adventure along the picturesque coastal estuaries and creeks of Cape Palmerston. Feel the wind in your hair as you navigate through the calm waters, surrounded by stunning natural beauty. Explore hidden coves, discover secluded beaches, and witness the diverse marine life that calls this area home. Whether you’re an experienced boater or a novice looking for a new experience, this activity is perfect for all skill levels. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking views and memorable moments along the way.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but the best time is during the dry season (May to October) when the weather is mild and the water is calmer.
  • Address: Cape Palmerston National Park, Ilbilbie QLD 4738, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 115km southwest of Mackay, off the Bruce Highway
  • Note: Make sure to check the tides and obtain the necessary permits before hitting the water.

7. Checking out the Palmerston Markets

For a unique and exciting shopping experience, head to the Palmerston Markets. This market offers a variety of stalls selling local produce, crafts, and souvenirs. Discover hidden gems, sample delicious local food, and interact with friendly locals. The market is open on Fridays and Saturdays, making it a perfect destination for a weekend outing.

  • Address: Palmerston, Northern Territory, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Varies, typically held on weekends
  • Distance from town: Located in Palmerston itself
  • Note: Explore the Palmerston Markets to discover local produce, crafts, and souvenirs. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and interact with friendly locals.

8. Hiking to the peak of Mount Funnel

Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a challenging yet rewarding trek to the peak of Mount Funnel. This hike offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the sparkling ocean, lush forests, and rugged coastline. The trail is well-marked, but be prepared for steep inclines and rocky terrain. As you ascend to the summit, take in the breathtaking scenery and feel a sense of accomplishment as you reach the top. This hike is a must-do for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but the best time is during the cooler months (April to September) when the weather is milder.
  • Address: Mount Funnel, Cape Palmerston National Park, Ilbilbie QLD 4738, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 115km southwest of Mackay, off the Bruce Highway
  • Note: The trail is well-marked, but be prepared for steep inclines and rocky terrain.

9. Visiting the Palmerston Water Park

For a fun and exciting day out with family and friends, head to the Palmerston Water Park. This park offers a variety of water activities, including water slides, pools, and splash pads.

Cool off from the heat and enjoy the refreshing water as you splash around and have fun. The park also offers picnic areas, BBQ facilities, and a playground, making it a perfect destination for a family day out.

  • Address: 10 Pioneer Ave, Tuggerah NSW 2259
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Distance from town: Approximately 14 minutes or 14 km from Cape Palmerston
  • Note: Enjoy the water slides, pools, and splash pads at the Palmerston Water Park. It’s a perfect place to cool off and have fun with family and friends.

10. Exploring the Marlow Lagoon Recreation Area

For a peaceful and relaxing experience, head to the Marlow Lagoon Recreation Area. This area offers a variety of walking trails, picnic areas, and scenic views of the lagoon.

Take a leisurely stroll along the trails, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the stunning natural beauty that surrounds you. The area is also home to a variety of bird species, making it a perfect spot for birdwatching enthusiasts.

11. Hiking the Mount Perry Summit Fire Trail

For a more challenging hiking experience, check out the Mount Perry Summit Fire Trail. This trail takes you up Mount Perry to its summit, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The trail can be overgrown in sections and hard to follow at times, so make sure you have a map and plenty of water. As you hike, keep an eye out for the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home. This hike is perfect for those looking for a challenging adventure and a chance to connect with nature.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but the best time is during the cooler months (April to September) when the weather is milder.
  • Address: Mount Perry Summit Fire Trail, Cape Palmerston National Park, Ilbilbie QLD 4738, Australia
  • Distance from town: Approximately 115km southwest of Mackay, off the Bruce Highway
  • Note: The trail can be overgrown in sections and hard to follow at times, so make sure you have a map and plenty of water.

Towns Nearby Cape Palmerston, QLD

Here are some nearby towns/suburbs around Cape Palmerston, QLD Australia, along with their highlights, attractions, distance from Cape Palmerston, and reasons why they are worth visiting:

  1. Mackay, QLD (115 km from Cape Palmerston): A vibrant city with a range of attractions, including the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, the Bluewater Lagoon, and the Mackay Marina Village. It’s also a great base for exploring the nearby Eungella National Park and the Whitsunday Islands.
  2. Sarina, QLD (36 km from Cape Palmerston): Home to the Sarina Sugar Shed, a popular attraction where you can learn about the history of sugar cane farming and taste local products. The town also offers a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops to explore.
  3. Ilbilbie, QLD (10 km from Cape Palmerston): A small town located near the entrance to Cape Palmerston National Park. It’s a great place to stock up on supplies before heading into the park.
  4. Greenhill, QLD (6 km from Cape Palmerston): A small town located near the park boundary. It’s a great place to start your exploration of Cape Palmerston National Park.
  5. Midge Point, QLD (60 km from Cape Palmerston): A quiet coastal town with a beautiful beach and a range of accommodation options. It’s a great place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring.
  6. Eungella, QLD (130 km from Cape Palmerston): A charming mountain village located in the Eungella National Park. It’s a great destination for nature lovers and hikers, with its stunning rainforest walks and scenic views.
  7. Airlie Beach, QLD (150 km from Cape Palmerston): A popular tourist destination and the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. It offers a range of attractions, including the Airlie Beach Lagoon, the Conway National Park, and the Great Barrier Reef.

These nearby towns/suburbs around Cape Palmerston, QLD Australia offer a range of attractions and experiences for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking natural wonders, cultural treasures, or simply a peaceful retreat, these destinations are worth exploring.

Getting To Cape Palmerston, QLD

To get to Cape Palmerston, QLD Australia from common destinations or origins as a local tourist, you have several options for both public transport and driving.

From Mackay:

  • By car: Drive south on the Bruce Highway for approximately 115 km, then turn left onto Cape Palmerston Road. Follow the road for approximately 6 km to reach the park boundary.
  • By bus: Take the Buslink route 301 from Mackay to Ilbilbie, then hire a 4WD vehicle to access Cape Palmerston National Park.

From other nearby towns:

  • From Sarina: Drive north on the Bruce Highway for approximately 36 km, then turn right onto Cape Palmerston Road. Follow the road for approximately 6 km to reach the park boundary.
  • From Rockhampton: Drive north on the Bruce Highway for approximately 300 km, then turn left onto Cape Palmerston Road. Follow the road for approximately 6 km to reach the park boundary.

For public transport options from other nearby towns, use the Queensland Government’s TransLink website (https://translink.com.au/) or app to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on bus and train routes, schedules, and ticketing.Note: Cape Palmerston National Park is accessible only by 4WD vehicles, and self-sufficient campers are recommended. The park boundary is approximately 6 km from Greenhill, which is the nearest town.

Hafiz Kashif

Kashif, our associate writer at HumbleTrail, brings stories from across the globe to our readers. Originating from Pakistan, his journey has taken him through the vibrant cityscape of Dubai and now to the diverse and cultural melting pot of Melbourne, Australia.

His writing is a reflection of his own journey - rich in diverse experiences and filled with the excitement of discovering new places. Melbourne, with its unique blend of cultures and bustling energy, has captured Kashif's heart, a sentiment that deeply resonates in his work.

Kashif's articles for HumbleTrail are more than just travel logs; they are narratives that weave together the beauty of diverse cultures and the thrill of exploration, inviting readers to see the world through his eyes.

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