Robyn's Travelling Adventures travel blog

Strangler fig


View across valley

At 4.40pm on Saturday I got on the Greyhound from Noosa to Mackay, settled nicely in my window seat, 5A. I find it difficult to sleep whilst travelling so just listened to my music (which is getting a bit boring after nearly 5 months of the same songs!). At 10.45pm we had a meal break, and when I got back on the bus, the girl who had been given the seat next to mine, had stolen my window seat, I wasn't very happy but she was saying how she felt ill and she was practically asleep and so I just let her steal my seat. But when we next stopped I wanted it back so I could sleep and she wouldn't move. I had slept for about half an hour and had hurt my neck and wasn't in a happy mood, it being 2am. Anyway, after our next stop at about 5.30am I stole my seat back whilst she got off the bus! So I got to sleep for a bit again.

Now onto the actual point of this blog - I got into Mackay at 7.10am and had to walk to the hostel, which was about 5 minutes away. However, it was shut until 8am and there was another girl outside who had been sitting there since 4.30am! Anyway, some guy let us in to sit in the common room until reception opened, which was nice. You could tell we were now in tropical Queensland because it was already hot and humid outside, and the air con inside was very nice indeed.

After checking in and having a shower I found I couldn't sleep so went for a wander to try and find a shop so that I could get some food in to have for lunch and dinner. But, all the food shops are shut on Sundays! In fact, most shops were shut. I wandered around the little street market, which had a woman playing guitar and singing in the middle of the city centre and lots of craft and jewellery stalls. I then wandered down next to Pioneer river, where there is a boardwalk and some nice park areas. The effect of the drought is obvious here as well, as the river is dried up in some places and not really flowing properly. Getting back to the hostel I enquired about getting to Eungella National Park and was told I had to book a tour to get there. I asked if it was possible to be on one the next day and the lady phoned for me, it was possible which was good!

So on Monday I got picked up outside the hostel at 11.30am with 3 other girls from my hostel. And we made our way to our lunch spot, passing lots of sugar cane plantations and driving through some very picturesque countryside. We then went on to Finch Hatton Gorge and had a half hour walk through some rainforest until we reached Araluen Cascades, where we went for a very welcome swim. Although the water was icy cold! It reminded me a lot of Abai Falls in Taman Negara. We then walked back to the bus and set off for Broken River where we were do do platypus spotting (which was the purpose of me coming to Mackay and going on the tour!).

We drove through the valley and up a steep winding road with an amazing view of the valley. We then went on along to where the viewing platforms are for the platypus. Our guide, Keith gave a walkie talkie to one of the members of our group and headed for a different spot so that he could call us if he spotted one and vice versa. After a while we saw several turtles, which was pretty cool, but no platypus. Then Keith radioed that he had one down where he was, so we hurried off to see it, but it had gone by the time we were there. So we went to the bridge and then back to the first viewing platform. I had just about given up on seeing one when Keith saw another one down where he was, so we rushed back down there, and this time it stayed. It was so cute, only about 40cm, and was making its way steadily upstream. We watched it dive and swim for about 20 minutes and then as it was getting on for 7pm we had to get the bus back to the city. Keith said usually there are more, but for some reason they didn't want to come out today. Anyway, I was happy at finally having seen one in the wild especially after missing 2 in Tasmania and paying money to see one this time!

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