In our continuing quest to experience Australian wildlife in its natural habitat, we’re eager for our first kangaroo sighting. We’ve heard that Cape Hillsborough National Park is a slam-dunk.

Every morning at sunrise, a mob of wallabies and kangaroos gathers on the beach to feast on mangrove seed pods, seaweed and coral sand dollars. All we need to do is arrive the night before, get up early, and voila! Up-close ‘roo encounter!

Referring to our trusty (indispensable actually) Wikicamps Australia app, we found that there’s a caravan park right there. Our campsite is literally in direct sight of the beach where all the action takes place every morning.

We’re not generally morning people, but the chance to get an iconic photo of a kangaroo on the beach at sunrise is strong motivation. The manager at the caravan park advised us to be on the beach at 6 am. Not taking any chances, we set an alarm for 5.

When the alarm went off, a look out the window revealed a group of shadowy figures barely visible on the beach, silhouetted by the faint pre-dawn light, the sun still well below the horizon over the Pacific (we’re still not used to “Pacific sunrise”).

Those figures on the beach led to what is possibly the fastest early-morning exit from bed we’ve ever had. We couldn’t wait to see what was out there. Stepping out onto the beach, the scene we’d viewed in so many photos during our research unfolded before us, like a postcard: a mob of wallabies and kangaroos feeding at the tide line. (“Mob” is the term for a group of ‘roos, also known as a troop, a court or a herd).

We know better than to approach wildlife too closely, but apparently these guys are so used to people that they do all the approaching. Even though they’re likely habituated to humans as a result of those who break the rules by feeding them (something we never do), that does lead to some remarkably close encounters as the fearless ‘roos walk right up to us.

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