Waterfalls and wildlife

Over the weekend Adam and I ventured into the mountains west of Mackay for a day of bushwalking and animal spotting.

The rainforests of Eungella National Park have been a favourite of my family for many years – we’ve had an annual holiday there for as long I can remember.

After stopping for a quick coffee at our new favourite coffee shop in the Pioneer Valley (see here!), we headed into Finch Hatton Gorge.

Looking down towards the Pioneer Valley from Finch Hatton Creek.

We walked up the track until it met the Finch Hatton Creek at Callistemon Crossing. You have to rock-hop across the creek to finish the final section of the walk, but my lack of proper walking shoes and a few rather sinister looking black clouds meant we didn’t quite make it to the top. I had visions of us getting across the creek, a huge downpour happening and then getting stuck in the rainforest with no phone reception! Adam’s idea of a great day – me, not so much!

We spent a good 20 minutes taking in the view at the Araluen Cascades – which is a popular swimming spot, especially in the humid summers the region’s well known for.

Araluen Cascades – a welcome retreat after an uphill walk!

We then made our way up the Clarke Range to the township of Eungella, which is basically the end point of the Pioneer Valley.

Broken River is world famous for its platypus population, and while we’d spotted more than a dozen when we visited with my family earlier this year, Adam and I couldn’t help going to have a look again.

We saw three platypus in the hour or so we stayed at the three areas along the river they’re known to live in. It doesn’t matter how many times you see a platypus, it’s always magic. There’s a quiet reverence in sitting, silently listening to the water and the rainforest. Then you spot bubbles coming to the surface of the river and you know within a few moments, a billed, webbed footed little creature will soon pop up.

A platypus searching for food under the Broken River bridge.

We finished the day with a homemade tub of ice-cream (the hills around Eungella are home to dairy farms… there isn’t too many left now, so I like to support the farmers that are still making a go of it) at a little cafe surrounded by trees.

The perfect spot for an ice-cream.

We’ve got a week and a half left in Mackay before we fly to the UK – so still time for a few more adventures!

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