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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mackay - the border between tropical coastline and outback

Did you know that the platypus is about the weirdest animal there is? Wikipedia describes it as „egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal“. In the Eungella National Park close to Mackay, where I was staying with my friend, you can see a platypus in the wild. A drive from Mackay to Eugnella takes approximately 1 hour. You would be surprised how much you can experience in and around Mackay. There are so many national parks, beautiful beaches and little towns just around the corner. It is 1.5 hours from Airlie Beach and about the same from the Outback. Mackay is the border city between the tropical Whitsunday Coast and the Outback so to say. A great place to start your journey, relax at the beaches, explore the forests or have a nice day in the Botanical Garden, a stroll along the river and a night out at the Marina.

Let's get back to the platypus though, I decided to see this animal is reason enough to leave early in he morning to get to Eugnella on time to witness a platypus having breaky. They come out in the morning between 5:00-8:00 am and in the afternoon past 4:00pm. I had to catch the early one, as I did not want to drive back in the dark. You guys, this was my first day driving on the left side! Crazy Australians! I did not want to push it by driving in the dark. To see a platypus you have to be patient and quiet, I felt really lucky when I finally got to see one and it came right underneath where I was standing! What a funny animal: It shoots right up to the surface like a cork and when going down again does a duckdive and keeps wiggling his head to move downwards.

But there was much more to see at the Eugnella National Park. I went for a couple of walks in this largest continuous strech of rainforest in Australia. People always say this country is so young. Its society maybe is, but the country, the land is one of the most ancient I have ever seen.
When having a hot chocolate at the Hideout Cafe in Eugnella I was told not to miss out on the Finch Hatton Gorge. The lady was right! First you pass sugar cane fields to get there, then you drive through a couple of rivers – seriously, the road is simply crossing a river, not going over it on a bridge, but crossing it! - walk through the rainforest and then you arrive at the gorge. I ended up taking a swim, a freezing cold one it was, somewhere more secluded.

All freshened up I drove back to Mackay - On the left side! - and we did take a walk on the beach and had some delicious steak and prawns at the Marina before I took my flight back to Brisbane. I wish I could have stayed longer, there is so much more to see in Mackay, the border of the tropical coast and the Outback.

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