Emerald (S23°31.200’ E148°10.153’) in central-east Queensland was our stopping point for a couple of days in-between Carnarvon Gorge and the coast: I had a late notice article to write and while I was working Lisa was kind enough to tackle the mountain of washing we had piled up. After two nights in Emerald we were back on the road headed toward Mackay (S21°05.404’ E149°12.874’) for more chores, The Tank was due for an oil change so we figured that Mackay was the best place to get it done. Mackay isn’t one of our favourite stops along the way, even the mechanic who helped us out said he’d lived there all his life and thought the place was severely overrated (with no prompting from me!). But it was a necessary evil to get The Tank taken care of. We definitely felt back in the tropics proper in Mackay, with mangrove-lined rivers and crocodile warnings at all the beaches, it’s been a while since we couldn’t jump in the water at will…
All our formalities taken care of, we headed back inland to nearby Eungella and surrounding Eungella National Park. The countryside around Mackay leading into the Pioneer Valley is almost exclusively covered with sugar cane. Seemingly endless fields of the towering cane stalks, the annual cane harvest was just beginning so the fields were a brilliant green and all the mills in full swing. Some pungently sweet, grassy aromas in the air.
The rainforests around Eungella are the largest collection of sub-tropical rainforests left on the planet, dense jungles filled with an amazing array of plant and birdlife. Lisa sniffed out a 4WD-only accessible campground called The Diggings (S21°10.478’ E148°28.736’) in Crediton State Forest for our night in the mountains. We cruised Diggings Road from Eungella through the rainforest, eventually making our way to the picturesque camping area alongside Broken River. It was an awesome spot, not another soul in site and the picturesque Broken River flowing at our doorstep. I was tempted to hop in for a swim but upon feeling the briskness of the water decided against it, opting for a roaring campfire and a few beers instead. The photo here of the Kookaburras was quite funny to watch: we noticed two Kookaburras on a branch above our campsite and by the time it was dark there were no less than six of them huddled together to brave the cold night!
From The Diggings we cruised back down the super-steep road from Eungella into Pioneer Valley – a road so steep The Tank had to tackle it both up and down in second gear – and stopped off at majestic Finch Hatton Gorge near the town of Pioneer. Finch Hatton Gorge was an amazing place, powerful rivers have carved their way through the rock over the years resulting in waterfall after waterfall through the dense jungle. The water cascading over all the boulders coupled with the countless number of swimming holes along the gorge really reminded me of the streams in the California Sierra Nevada. We spent a couple of hours exploring the gorge, taking in all its splendor with a roughly five kilometer hike to the Wheel of Fire waterfall. Next stop for us: the Whitsundays.
This entry was posted on Thursday, June 10th, 2010 at 9:00 AM and is filed under Australia, Queensland. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.