Eungella National Park
Most mornings that Chels and I wake up in Dusty we have no idea what we are going to see that day or where we will be sleeping that night. We basically plan each day as it comes and we love the unknown aspect because we keep finding places that simply blow us away.
We decided to head inland from Mackay simply because we saw a National Park on the map and we had been on the coast for a while. So we found ourselves driving inland through the ever-lasting sugar cane fields on route to Eungella National Park (pronounced young-gulla). We were completely awe struck when we hit the Pioneer Valley on the way to Eungella. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and driving through small town after small town, we felt like we had driven through a portal into the Tasmanian hinterlands.
After a quick look on Wiki-camps we decided to stop at a bush camp at Finch Hatton Gorge. Cool place set in the middle of the bush with a hippy, sustainability feel to it.The best part was the amazing bush showers, which had a door and three walls. The missing wall was open to the rainforest surrounds (frogs and birds included!). The hot water was generated from a wood fire oven and it was proper hot!
The next day we drove further up the valley and up into the village of Eungella. The drive up the mountainside to the village is incredible. It’s a super steep and windy road that crosses over waterfalls and under thick rainforest. The village of Eungella is set in green rolling hills with million dollar views down the valley below, really special.
Both Chels and I were still yet to see Platypus in the wild and we read that the Broken River in Eungella is one of the best places in Australia to view them, so we bee-lined straight there. We waited for about 10mins thinking that this will be just like every other time we’ve tried to view them (that usually consists of waiting quietly for about an hour with no luck), but then suddenly a little platypus sprung to the surface for about 10secs then dived back under the water! We ended up hanging around for well over an hour watching multiple platypuses swimming around feeding and playing about. It was great!
While watching platypus we got chatting to a friendly couple from Cairns. The guy, Allan, started talking about fishing and how he caught a huge barramundi in the lake that they were camped at. And with that we now knew where we would sleep that night.
I was lucky enough to have Allan lend me his wife’s fishing kayak and take me out barra fishing on the lake in the night. A bloody awesome experience with the night stars reflecting on the dead still lake. Unfortunately we had no bites, but Allan and Jenny have invited us to stay at their place in Cairns and therefore more chances to go barra fishing.
While packing up the next morning Jen and Al recommended a place on the coast just north of Mackay called Cape Hillsborough, so we headed there and found another hidden gem of a place! There was a caravan park situated in the middle of a nature reserve and right on the beach. The beach had amazing surrounds with rugged mountains and small cliff-lined islands.
We heard that kangaroos hung out on the beach on sunrise and so we took our coffee and cameras down to the sand the morning to check it out. We were lucky enough to see a couple of the big males having a box on the beach with the sun rising in the background and got a few great shots.
It’s these unexpected experiences, stemmed from visiting unknown places, which keeps fuelling our Unknown Journey around Oz. Now…where to next…