Resident horse next to the caravan park
After leaving Carnarvon National Park there wasn't much to see other than huge coal mines and multitudes of dead 'roos by the side of the road. So really, we just drove for a couple of days, taking to heart how huge this country is.
We thought about heading for a town called Emerald, where they let you dig for buried treasure and pan for rare stones, but it reminded us a bit of Barkerville, so we thought it was probably a hoax to sap tourist's money. Instead we drove through Emerald, and spent the night in a caravan park in Capella with many noisy Cockatoos.
There aren't any radio stations out here in the pseudo-outback, not even the national station reaches us. So we are very excited to have picked up an FM transmitter so we can listen to music instead of having to talk to each other. We've named our van Janis for a couple of reasons. She is a Hippie Camper, which reminded us of the 60's, and the first car we got a ride in on our adventure was named Janis by Farrell (the Irish chick who picked us up on the Blasket Islands and took
This here is cattle country
us on a tour of southern Ireland). So we felt the name rounded out our trip nicely. Suffice to say the first album we listened to was Pearl.
After a couple of long driving days and about 700 kilometers we made it to Eungella National Park. We managed to skirt Mackay and get into the Poineer valley with few hickups. I did get stung by a bee while I was driving. That's never happened to me before! Perhaps it had to do with all the sugar cane. There must have been a few bees pollinating the thousands upon thousands of acres of cane. There are even little railways running through the fields to transport the cane at harvest time.
Eungella is situated at the very end of the Pioneer Valley up an almost sheer cliff. We urged Janis in second gear up the mountain. The drive was tricky, with hairpin turns and waterfalls running across the road, but it was worth it. At the top from our campsite we could see the entire valley spread out in front of us all the way to Mackay.
We hiked around the park along a series of short walks that
This here is sugarcane country. The sugar cane actually starts along the coast just north of Noosa and runs all the way up to Daintree.
turned into a respectable 9k hike when we put them all together. Although the forest is at the top of the mountain, it is really very wet and tropical looking. There are all sorts of plants that I have no idea what they are and I am a little afraid to touch. We found a vine that looked safe enough and pretended to be Tarzan. But even that turned out to be dangerous, because Alex skinned his knee when the vine abruptly succumb to his weight.
The day we left Eungella we went down to a place called Broken River that was well known as a platypus residence. After staring at the still water for about an hour, we did see a small critter hanging out by what looked to us like a beaver dam. We were really suprised by how small they were.
We plan to head toward Cairns, but we still have about 800 kilometers to go before then. Hopefully we get in some beach bumming on the way. It's been too long since we've seen the ocean.
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