|Saturday 15th February
Today we are planning a more thorough drive around the city and then all the Southern Beaches before heading back.
We found the Bluewater Lagoon in the city centre right opposite a large shopping centre, which is free entry and maintained by the Regional Council and a great place for families to enjoy the outdoors without the worry of stingers etc during the wet season. Although we did not swim as just as we arrived a child vomited in the pool and everyone was made to exit the water while it was cleaned up and had to wait 1/2 an hour for the all clear.
We therefore headed into the one of the main Shopping Centres as we needed to buy small flip notebooks, the Reject Shop had these and we topped up the snacks while we were there.
We missed the HOMEMADE MARKETS which are held in the new Basketball Stadium, which was a pity, but at least a cheaper day was had for that reason.
The loop drive we took to the beaches included: Hay Point which is a massive harbour for ship loading of coal and there were 34 ships waiting out in the ocean and 6 at the docks on one side of the point, and a normally pristine beach on the other, again some of the debris from the cyclone still remains on the beach.
Half Tide, Salonika Beach, Grasstree Beach and Sarina Beach were all quite nice, but we were not blown away by any of them. Maybe because we have seen better.
We decided that was enough for today. We headed back to the park.
Not long after we got back we heard some bad news from home so had a very reflective night on how time is short and we should live and love every day. Remember everyone, WE DO LOVE YOU ALL. Rest in Peace: Ian Hills.
Sunday 16th February
A slower start today being Sunday,but we are heading off to Eungella National Park which is 90kms west of Mackay. We have a few small towns to have a look at and also a mentally booked late lunch at Pinnacle Hotel (Best pies in Queensland) on the way back.
This area's landscape is so beautiful, the rainforest and cane fields and diary farms mixed together, and Finch Hatton Gorge was an eye opener, we actually trekked 1100m (900 uphill and 200 down) to the Gorge Swimming holes, so lovely, and although there were a lot of people there, we both braved the very refreshing water and chatted to a group of mature people, one of whom was a local, who said the waterfall is actually spilling over more substantially than normal so it was a good time to be there. They also advised us not to miss Cape Hillsborough and advised a route so we could include it on our way home.
We then headed out to Eungella and found Cooke's Lookout and The Sky Window Lookout, we took another small walk around a trail and enjoyed the wonderful views of the Pioneer Valley. We could almost see all the way to the ocean, but the clouds were coming in low.
We did stop at the Pinnacle Hotel and ordered a pie each, and were warned it would be a half hour wait, but both were really big, and we would recommend them to anyone heading that way. They had the (maybe their) children serving and it was flat out the entire time we were there, Steph had a chat to a Mackay local, a young lady who was with a group on the way up to Gorge, she said that a lot of people use the gorge as a swimming hole and the pub as the stop off. We were very pleased to note: Most of the young ones who came to the hotel were drinking soft drinks not alcohol...Good on Them.
We headed off and took the short cut route to get back to Bruce Highway and the turn off for Cape Hillsborough, we found the small community of Seaforth, which was quite nice and had a $106 per week Council?? Caravan Park, but we did not notice any power facility, and a sign saying no generators which was quite a surprise.
Cape Hillsborough was quite a lovely beach, with quite a few small islands just off shore, and walking access to one of the close islands at low tide, but we again took notice of the erosion and damage caused by the King Tides a few weeks ago, the boat ramp had been washed away and the repair job was made up of trees and debris covered with gravel and sand and was falling away again. We did see a few of the local wallabies on the esplanade and we have been told they go down on the beach daily.
We headed back to the caravan and settled in for the night.