We spent 5 days in Mackay, not exactly a tourist trap, although the marina was quite nice. Tourism here comes a poor second to the sugar and agricultural industries upon which this little place thrives. The main town certainly wasn’t the prettiest place I’ve ever visited, and there’s not much offered in the way of entertainment. However, a couple of things made our stay really worth while. We (we being, me, Bob, Lesley, Glenn & Stuart) took a drive out to Finch Hatton Gorge in the Eungella National Park. (Eungella means “land of Clouds” I had to add this, it sounds so lovely). We had read that the park was home to the famous ‘Duckbilled Platypus’, so we decided to check it out.Duckbilled Platypus
The drive to the park took us past thousands and thousands of hectares of sugar cane, endless, miles and miles of it, we were driving for over an hour past the many plantations. Eventually the sugar ended and we drove on up into the lush, subtropical rainforest, which was fabulous although the typical rainforest weather got us drenched when we got out of the car to take photographs at the lookout.
It took us about an hour to reach the park, and much to my delight, as we drove higher up into the mountains towards the National park, we spotted the famous ‘Laughing Kookaburra’, as well as a many other beautiful birds.
The prehistoric gardens at Finch Hatton Gorge in the rainforest were rich with lush tropical plants, magnificient, ancient gum trees and gorgeous flowers. We stopped for a cup of coffee and a scone at the little cafe, but I’m sorry to say the scone wasn’t actually a scone, rather it was some sort of sponge, not at all what we expected, and my hot chocolate was watery and tasteless, so even though the location was lovely, the food at the cafe was a little bit of a disappointment.
The walk along the river was really pretty with turtles, fish butterflies and birds, but no platypus. Just as we were about to give up after having walked up and down the length of it, we finally spotted one. It came up to the surface for air, basked for a few seconds and then dove back down, surfacing again a few minutes later in another spot in the river.
We stayed to photograph and watch for about 30 minutes, I also saw a fabulous brightly colored ‘Paradise Kingfisher’.
Was it worth the drive and the search? Absolutely. The Duckbilled Platypus are the most unusual, wierdest creatures, and seeing one in the wild in its natural environment was a real treat.