The Pioneer Valley & Eungella National Park

What an awesome day we had…

Decided to jump in the FJ and head out west to see what we could find outside of Mackay Qld.  Well found a fantastic scenic drive from where we are staying at Bucasia Beach in Mackay to Eungella National Park, which is a 2 hour drive along some of the most prettiest countryside we have seen.  Its also Sugar Cane Land, sugar can as far as the eye can see.

Map

So were driving along admiring the countryside, seeing the old farm houses spread out between Sugar Cane Fields, and these little country towns dotted along our drive.  Just so relaxing no rush to get to our final destination.

copy-6k3a7547_ss-lr-1.jpgSugar Cane Train fully loaded

Teemburra Dam

Teemburra Dam is situated in the picturesque Pioneer Valley approximately 50 kilometres west of Mackay City on a fully sealed road. The dam was constructed in 1997 to cope with the increasing demand for town water storage and irrigation purposes. The dam itself has a surface area of 1040 hectares, an average depth of 14.2 metres and holds 147 500 mega litres of water at full capacity.

The dam is stocked by a local fish stocking group MAFSA with Sooty Grunter and Barramundi, who have also set up their own community hatchery to breed Sooty Grunter. A 25 horse power limit applies to all boats here with no water skiing allowed.
There is no camping allowed at the dam, however accommodation can be found at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungella National Park and Kinchant Dam.

A Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) is required to fish at Teemburra Dam.

We captured this picture before we got yelled at to get off the restricted wall of the Dam..  Oppps will do what you can to capture that photo.

Teemburra Dam_SS LR (1)

Temburra Dam Panoramic – Taken from on top of the Dam wall

So back into the car we go and then notice at turn off to:

Finch Hatton Gorge

Finch Hatton reminded me of driving through the Daintree Rainforest it was just so magical.  When we arrived at the car park it was full, so we guessed that this is the locals watering hole to cool down from the tropical heat, and just like up in the Daintree they have a flying fox cableway through the rainforest canopy.  We didn’t do it as we had already done in the Daintree, and for anyone wanting a great thrill highly recommend doing it. We were also quite surprised at the number of places you can stay at up near the Gorge , a great little campsite, but you have to be self sufficient, or you can stay at Finch Hatton Gorge Cabins.

6K3A7508_SS LR (1)So peaceful even the bird on the rock was chilled out

Finch Hatton Gorge is located within the Eungella National Park and is a spectacular piece of tropical rainforest, interspersed by pristine rock pools and waterfalls. Imagine swimming in a clear rock pool as water cascades down from tall boulders and large rainforest trees tower above. Finch Hatton Gorge is also home to some very rare and unique flora and fauna such as the rare gastric brooding frog and the orange sided skink, but we didnt spot either of them.

6K3A7510_SS LR (1)Crossing one of the many water crossings

After cooling off and giving Makka a cool drink we decided it was time to head up the mountain to get to Eungella.  We had noticed the signs along the road advising that there was a steep climb to the top but WOW wasn’t expecting it to be this steep, made the Gillies Highway from Gordonvale to the Tablelands of Cairns look like a kiddies slippery dip.  So up we head nice and slow getting higher and higher and the view between the trees its getting more special the further we climb then finally we make to:-

Eungella Nation Park (Meaning Land of the Clouds)

A town on top of a mountain was my first thought, a unique diversity with some charming cafes and restaurants, an historic pub and several food and souvenir outlets with a rather large range of accommodation and camping options.  Eungella is perched high in the Clarke Range (and when they say high they mean 1,259m). The mountain to the North East is Mount Dalrymple and is the highest peak in Central Queensland of the Great Dividing Range.

The township is a hub for one of Queensland’s most extensive protected areas, it has a rich cultural history of gold mining, timber and dairying. The National Park has an expansive subtropical rainforest spanning rugged gorges and escarpments.

PioneerValley Eungella LR (1)The view took your breath away –  looking back down the Pioneer Valley

5kms up the road we made it to Broken Creek where if your lucky you can see a Platypus in the wild, and wouldn’t you believe it, WE GOT TO SEE ONE. The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate fraud. It is one of the few venomous mammals, the male platypus having a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. The unique features of the platypus make it an important subject in the study of evolutionary biology and a recognisable and iconic symbol of Australia; it has appeared as a mascot at national events and is featured on the reverse of its 20-cent coin. The platypus is the animal emblem of the state of New South Wales.

6K3A7539_SS LR (1)Not many people get to see a Platypus in the Wild

So another day ended and with a sigh we headed home.  But once again still so much to see and do, and our Adventure has only just begun.

6K3A7520_SS LR (1)Feeling on top of the WORLD