Wedge Island, off Cape Hillsborough in the Mackay Region is special. Not just because of its stunning views, but because this tiny island in the Coral Sea marks the beginning an ancient volcanic chain that runs all the way across Australia.
The island and Cape Hillsborough off its coast, are both a result of the 34-million-year-old Cosgrove Volcanic Track. Starting from Wedge Island here in Northern Queensland, this range extends all the way down to the Northern coast of Tasmania.
As Associate Professor Rhodri Davies of the Australian National University’s Research School of Earth said, this Volcanic Chain is unique.
“It’s the longest continental track on Earth. We realised that the same hotspot had caused volcanoes in the Whitsundays and the central Victoria region, and some rare features in New South Wales, roughly halfway between them,” says Professor Davies.
“The track is nearly three times the length of the famous Yellowstone hotspot track on the North American continent.”
Running 2,000 kilometres across Australia, this track has left interesting formations in its wake. Possibly it’s most interesting one is at Cape Hillsborough, which is already home to one of the most unique experiences in Australia.
Every morning, wallabies and kangaroos come down to the beach at Cape Hillsborough to gather and eat food, making it one of the most unique sights in Australia.
Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park Owner Renee Atherton said the volcanic chain was the reason for the geographical diversity in the region.
“The Cosgrove Volcanic Chain has helped in the formation of the natural wonder that is Cape Hillsborough,” says Mrs Atherton. “It has helped create the diverse topological terrain that attracts tourists and wildlife alike.”
Just an hour’s drive away from Cape Hillsborough, is another unique sight. Mount Britton was a flourishing goldmining town in the past. Even today, there is still evidence of this once prosperous mining town, with many old mining gear and materials still on site.
Where this gold came from is no surprise though. The shiny valuable able metal is often found next to volcanoes and Mount Britton is on the foothills of The Marling Spikes, a group of Volcanic plugs belonging to the Nebo Range of the Cosgrove Volcanic Chain.
This volcanic chain extends all the way through the Mackay and Isaac Regions before heading south to Victoria and further along to Tasmania, with the Peak Range National Park also consisting of volcanic plugs.
Marije Kenter is a pilot for Bush Heli Services, and she said that the diversity among the Peak Range National Park leaves her customers astounded.
“It is such an amazing area to explore, I remember the first time I flew over Wolfang and Gemini Peaks, I couldn’t stop smiling, When I flew over Lords Table Mountain my passengers were overwhelmed,” says Ms. Kenter.
“What I like the most is that The Peak Ranges is that it’s something most visitors don’t expect, so when I fly my passengers around The Peak Range National Park area they are astounded.”
Mariie adds that according to her, Lords Table Mountain is an example of what makes these ranges special.
“Lord Table mountains from the air is something super unique, I definitely pick that particular mountain as what makes the Peak Range special. “
“It’s completely flat from the top and the cliffs just look amazing!”
As Marije mentions, the peaks in the Peak Range National Park all differ from one and another. First named by Ludwig Leichhardt, these mountains come in all shapes and sizes.
Wolfang Peak is steep, rocky and dome shaped at 572 meters, while Lords Table Mountain forms a plateau almost 300 meters high.
Not only that, but these peaks also vary in distance. There is almost a 700 km gap, where no peaks exist at all.
With all these unique features, Mackay Tourism CEO Tas Webber said the volcanic chain provides both the Mackay and Isaac Region with some exclusive experiences.
“The volcanic chain provides tourists with some unmatchable experiences in both the Mackay and the Isaac Regions,” Mr Webber said.
“From the diversity on show at Cape Hillsborough to the hiking experiences on offer at the Peak Range mountains, the Cosgrove chain provides tourists with both adventures and serene natural beauty.”
The Cosgrove Volcano Chain continued to fascinate scientists the world over for a very long time. Now, that its mystery has been decoded, it continues to amaze tourists with the natural beauty it has created around it.
Where to stay in Mackay
Looking for a great place to stay in Mackay? Whether you’re after a high-rise hotel or a cosy cabin by the beach, there’s plenty of options to suit everyone’s style and budget.
Quest Mackay on Gordon
A gorgeous outdoor pool, decked-out self contained apartments and balcony views overlooking the river or the city; Quest Mackay is a top choice. Just 10 minutes’ walk from the Entertainment and Convention Centre and a 1.3-kilometre stroll to Bluewater Lagoon, you’ll be far enough away from the evening noise but close enough to all the fun during the day.
Check availability and unlock the best rate here.
Coral Cay Resort
Only 5-minutes’ drive from the heart of Mackay, Coral Cay Resort is a hub for relaxation. Cool off in the outdoor pool or warm up in the sauna. Grab some supplies and enjoy a BBQ in the courtyard or dine in at the onsite restaurant. If you’re heading out for a day of exploring, you can even order a packed lunch from the resort to take with you.
Find your dates here.
Mid City Motor Inn
A great affordable option close to all the action, Mid City have a large outdoor pool, simple and clean rooms and is just a 5-minute stroll from Bluewater Lagoon and Caneland Shopping Centre. From here, you’re also a short drive from Mackay Botanic Gardens and Mackay Marina.
Check out pricing and availability here.
Check out a few more adventures in the Mackay region while you’re here:
Lead image of Wedge Island in the Mackay Region. Photo: @benvanm