Australia: Mackay QLD

The call of the open road has been a strong one for a lot of us during this covid year and we’re certainly doing our best to answer it. There’s loads of fabulous places to visit in QLD, a state that spans 1.7 million square kms and on this trip we’ve see just a snippet.

To date, we’ve clocked up 5000 kms towing our trusty Austrack camper trailer. I have to say the Austrack’s done us proud and not missed a beat. We can set up pretty quick smart now, make adjustments along the way, laugh when we park alongside a thick, high slab and the pullout kitchen requires me to morph into a midget.

Our next destination is Mackay and enroute we called into the Kuttabul Hotel for a light refreshment.

Inside the friendly Kuttabul Hotel

Mackay, population 80,000 is dubbed the sugar capital of Australia. Besides being surrounded by canefields, there’s an abundance of beaches, a pleasant downtown dotted with some beautiful buildings, all within easy reach of Eungella National Park and Sarina.

Blacks Beach Mackay was our pick to set up camp. That’s us right hand side.
Downtown Mackay – columns grace the Masonic Temple built in 1925.
We enjoyed a coffee in the cafe across from this art deco building and got talking to a lady who’s recently returned to her hometown after years living, working and skiing overseas. Mackay has grown up a lot in her absence, so much so, that she sees a future for herself here. So good to hear stories like this where people return to the place they were born and bred because it offers solid infrastructure, secure employment, hope.
The Queensland National Bank built in 1923
A friend asked if we were doing a ‘Pub Crawl Trip’. We are!
Nothing nondescript about this stunning view from the Eimeo Hotel balcony over a long lunch. Water temp is 20 celsius.
Mackay Harbour

Eungella National Park, 70 kms from Mackay makes for a good day trip.

Built in 1933 as a guest house for people requiring clear mountain air’, the views from the garden are stunning
Fabulous views over valley floor from Eungella Chalet

Thirty minutes south of Mackay is the smaller town of Sarina.

Sarina Beach
Touristy it is, but you won’t find a better place to gain an understanding of the cane industry, the way sugar is milled and best of all, sample some excellent rum.
Relegated to the past is this massive Massey Ferguson cane harvester
Sarina Mill – the season is in full swing. It starts end of June and goes for 6 months. The mill operates 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Lots of seasonal workers are in town; mill workers as well as truck drivers who transport cane from farms to rail. People we spoke to said there is plenty of work available.
Grasstree Beach just outside Sarina
Hay Point, the world’s largest coal export port is also within easy reach of Mackay. It’s impressive. Handling capacity is 130 million tonnes and 900 ships use the port each year. We counted 14 huge ships waiting their turn.

Next stop: Yeppoon

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