Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

13-Apr-2005
   

After leaving Rubyvale we headed about 500kms northeast through the massive coalfields near Peak Downs towards Mackay. We camped at a place called Finch Hatton, which was close to the Eungella National Park. As soon as we had set up the caravan it rained and it rained and it rained! Three days later it was still raining. We drove up a steep winding road to the National Park but could not see a lot because we were in the clouds. Most of the park is a tropical rain forest and is supposed to be a good place to see platypus. But not the day we visited! The rain forest was interesting though.

Eungella Rain Forest

Vine
Strangler Vine

It's not a snake Trisha! It's one of those things that Tarzan swings on. There is a scary bit a bit further down though. This vine had certainly got a strangle hold on the tree.

Strangler Vine

Mackay has a couple of ports, which handle coal and sugar exports. There are sugar plantations everywhere and several sugar mills with miles of small gauge railways to collect the cane and take it to the mill. The sugar is harvested from June onwards so there wasn't much happening while we were there. This is what sugar looks like before it gets to Tesco's.

Sugar Cane Plantation

Sugar Cane
Hay Point

Coal is transported to the Hay Point Coal Terminal by massive trains that stretch up to 2kms long. We counted over 30 large bulk carriers waiting to be loaded with coal at the terminal. The helicopter is used to get the pilots out to the ships.

Trisha, here comes the scary bit!! There were a few Tree Frogs around the campsite. These are beautiful green frogs with sticky pads on their feet.

Me with tree frog sitting on my shoulder - or is it Prince Charles waiting for a kiss? The one on my shoulder was quite friendly.

Me and the tree frog
Tree Frog

No that's not the scary bit Trish - this frog lived down the ladies loo so can you imagine it getting it's sticky little feet on your nether regions when you least expected it?

Green Tree Frog fresh from the ladies toilet

We met up with a couple that we last saw in Albany in Western Australia. Bill and Carmel live just outside Mackay and they kindly offered us the use of their garden for a couple of nights to park the van in. Bill used to be a sugar cane farmer and explained the sugar business to us. Thanks for looking after us and showing us around.

Ali, Carmel and Bill

Bill and Carmel
Wedge Island Looking out to Wedge Island from Cape Hillsborough.