LEAVING Emerald and heading back out to the coast in the campervan was a welcome relief. I’m not saying anything bad about Emerald, it’s a very unique place, but to head out to where the Great Barrier Reef begins and see the view just says it all.
Pulling into Mackay we ran into trouble. Big trouble, so it’s worth taking note of this if you’re driving around Queensland in your hire campervan from DriveNow or caravan. We had all pulled over on the side of a newly tar-sealed road to wait for the others. We got out, I walked up to the motorhome to speak to Sheree and, just at that moment as we were standing there and talking, a delightful truck tears past doing about 90km in a 40km zone, showering not only myself but the motorhome with stones … and there goes the driver-side window. Luckily it missed my head! The window shattered into a million pieces all over Sheree and the interior of the motorhome. Welcome to Mackay.
Once we fixed the window we decided to ease our stress levels with a leisurely drive up the Eungella National Park, the home of the wild platypus. It’s worth the 50-minute drive up there just to see them – it’s like watching a remake of one of David Attenborough’s docos. They are so larger than life, so plentiful in numbers and cheekily played with the camera. It really is something you can’t miss if you are in this part of the world and especially if you have kids.
Just around the corner is the Eungella Chalet, a mountain top restaurant with great local afternoon tea, and you can sit there and spend an entire afternoon looking out at the most spectacular view all the way back down to Mackay township.
One weird thing I will tell you about the people of Mackay is their fishing competition. If you go fishing and think you have caught a big fish, you need to skin it and fillet it, then hang it on your street sign … no kidding. They are everywhere (see picture)! Yet the odd thing is you don’t get any bad smells, maybe because some of them have been there so long. We stayed at the Andergrove Caravan Park and enjoyed their Tuesday Morning Tea Special – scones and cream, and that certainly made up for the broken window, that’s for sure.
PETER “SPIDA” EVERITT
The Great Australian Doorstep – visit www.thegreataustraliandoorstep.com.au