This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2002 Travels October 29 – November 6

 TUESDAY 29 OCTOBER TO WEDNESDAY 6 NOVEMBER   BUCASIA BEACH

The caravan park was an older one, with some permanent residents, in a very pleasant location. The road to the park was a narrow one, with wide green grass verges and lots of trees. it ended at a small headland by Eimeo Creek inlet, so there was very little passing traffic.

I found it most enjoyable to walk along the road to a shop where I could get papers and basic items. The beach was also pleasant walking.

There were lots of plumed whistling ducks making themselves at home in the park, and soon around our site.

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Plumed whistling ducks quite at home

We did do some exploring in our time here, and also made a couple of brief forays into the main shops in Mackay. It was always lovely, though, to return to our beachfront park. A diesel refill cost 84cpl.

One day, we drove out to Finch Hatton, to the west of Mackay. The road through the flat, sugar cane country of the Pioneer River valley, was really scenic, with the Great Dividing Range looming steadily closer, and the valley sides eventually closing in.

We decided to go up the Range, to Eungella, before visiting Finch Hatton Gorge, at the base of the Range, on the way back. If we did not have time for that on the same day, we could always come out again another day, without having to drive up the Range again.

The road up the Range climbed steadily. It featured some impressive roadside drops, signs warning of possible falling rocks, and some very sharp hairpin bends. No way would we ever contemplate bringing the van up here!

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Road to Eungella twisting up the Range

At the top of the Range was the small village of Eungella; we continued past this to the  Eungella National Park. Here, we walked a circuit, taking in some of the rainforest for which the area was noted, and the Sky Window – a lookout point that gave an awesome vista down the Pioneer Valley.

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Pioneer Valley from Sky Window

It was cooler up the top, so walking in the forest was reasonably comfortable. Even this late in the dry season, there were flowing streams.

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Eungella pool

After a careful descent back down the Range, we deviated to The Finch Hatton Gorge area. It was hot here, and there was very little water in the creek, so we did not walk far, but in our meanderings did spot a new bird – the Eungella honey eater, which is only found in a small area around here. That was a rewarding find.

Another day, just for something to do, we drove out the Peak Downs Highway. This took a far easier route up the Range, with only a couple of tight bends. We went as far as the township of Copabella, noting that there looked to be some mining activity in that area. Retraced our way back to Mackay.

We also did some exploring of back roads closer to Mackay, finding the farming country and little valleys interesting. I noted that some of the names here replicated the classical ones found in Tasmania – Mt Ossa, Mt Pelion, Mt Jukes.

Drove out to Cape Hillsborough National Park and walked on the beach there. We liked the caravan park there, and noted it for a possible future visit.

As the month ticked over into November, and we had not heard about work, eventually phoned the NAP person, and were told to report for work at Giru on Friday 8th. That provided us with some certainty about what we would be doing next.

Refuelled Truck for the drive north – still 84cpl.

It was good to end this period of rather being in limbo, although the stay at Bucasia Beach was really quite an enjoyable one.


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1998 Travels May 15

FRIDAY 15 MAY   ROCKHAMPTON TO MACKAY   354kms

We left the park just after 8am. It does make departing in the morning much easier,  when we can stay attached.

We stopped briefly to take a picture of the rig in front of the big marker that indicates the Tropic of Capricorn. One side has a sign saying temperate zone and the other side says tropical zone. So, we are now officially in the tropics!

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Our rig “on” the Tropic of Capricorn

Then we crossed the Fitzroy River bridge – that is one big river! It seemed to be very full, swift,  and brown. I am not sure if that is normal or whether they have had rains upstream. The road bridge, and the rail one alongside it, are pretty high up.

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On the road bridge over the Fitzroy River, looking to the rail bridge

Bought diesel in Rockhampton – 67 cpl.

Again, we drove through mostly grazing country; the cattle now are predominantly the grey, humpy backed Brahman types. Sugar cane appeared as we got closer to Mackay. It was growing almost right to the road sides and was not fenced off. It is about 8 feet high now, so we were driving through corridors through the cane.

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Mountains and sugar cane between Rockhampton and Mackay

In Mackay, we booked into the Big 4 Beach Caravan Park. It took considerable navigation  through the town, to get there, but I wanted seafront. It cost $16.20, and again we were able to leave the rig hitched up.

I saw an unusual bird flitting around and sitting on the fence wire. It was brilliantly coloured, very shiny. and with a couple of narrow long feathers sticking down from its tail – not a very big bird. I identified it afterwards as a Rainbow Bee Eater. The rainbow part is apt.

We took the bikes off and cycled off to find some shops for some bits and pieces, but found we were not near any major centre. The parts of town we cycled through were rather run down and uninspiring. We rode 8kms looking, before giving up on the shops idea.

Back at the van, we walked through the dunes to the beach and were surprised that there was no sea! It was about 1500 metres out – it was low tide. So we walked along where high tide would be. In the distance was another surprise – the lights of the 3km long Hay Point pier. It loads coal from the mines west of here, and has to be that long to get far enough out to reach water deep enough for ships. It is pretty at night.

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Where did the sea go? Low tide at Mackay. Hay Point jetty on horizon

In the absence of shops, there was also an absence of our Friday fish and chips. So our tea was a gourmet meal from tins – baked beans and creamed corn, on toast.

Whilst eating tea we were considerably startled by some very loud thumps and bangs and much gunfire! Eventually worked out that it was the army playing war games, and they may have “attacked” the nearby airport. Well, we hoped that was what it was! The “battle” went on for half an hour. The defence forces are a very obvious presence up north.

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We have been conscious, over the past two days, that we are bypassing any number of interesting places along the coast. We will come back to these, at a later date – probably in a later year! For now, if we are to achieve our next big goal for the year – Cape York – we must press on northwards.