"THE LAND IN THE CLOUDS"
Trip Start May 08, 2008
65Trip End Jan 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
The aboriginal name of Eungella means "The Land in the Clouds" and how true that is. We felt like we were sitting up amongst the clouds!
The Aboriginals did have such a love of their land, and how beautifully they named some of the more scenic areas in Australia.
We drove 100k west from Mackay through sugar cane farms, lots of little towns up to Eungella, which lies 700m above sea level, and this 700m is covered in 4.5kms. What a climb! But the views were breathtaking and when we arrived at our campsite we were just awe struck.
You will see from the photos that we had the most spectacular views from our campsite located on the top of the range overlooking the valley below
In a little town called Mirani, which we passed on the way up to Eungella, was the original home of Dame Nellie Melba. Melba House was built in 1882-83 for the first Mill Manager, Charles Armstrong and his wife Helen (Nellie) Porter Mitchell, who later became the world famous and much loved opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. However, she didn't stay in Mirani for too long, nor did she stay married. The husband was apparently a tyrant and did not approve of his wife pursuing a singing career. So Nellie took her small son and returned to Melbourne to the family home. Her surname "Melba" was her stage name and chosen because of her hometown of Melbourne. After studying in London and later in Paris she became a much loved and very famous singer.
Melba House today features a memorabilia display dedicated to Nellie, and also houses the Visitor Information Centre and local craft shop.
When we did arrive at our destination, there was a bus load of students there
Anyway turns out they were students from the University of Queensland all studying Environmental Management, and the vast majority of them were doing their Masters. They were all so interesting to chat with, and such great ambassadors for their Uni, and also their respective countries. There were Japanese, Chinese, S. African, Thai, Costa Rian, Caribbean, American, and of course some Aussies. Apparently Qld Uni had the reputation for the best Uni in the World for this course. And they were too busy to make any noise at all - but the one ladies shower did get well used! They were only with us for 2 days and we thoroughly enjoyed the interaction we had with them.
One Thai student had a chat to Kev and wanted to know what we were doing and where we had been. He got this amazed look and she said, "are you one of those, um..what do they call them..."grey nomads"! He had no response except to say that "Yes" he did fit the bill. It was so funny.
We did lots of beautiful walks and spent one day in Finch Hatton Gorge. Just Beautiful
We spent one lovely, peaceful day doing nothing much except enjoying the view and entertaining Kev's cousin and her partner who are travelling around Australia at the moment and just happened to be in Mackay at the same time as us. They drove up for the day and we had a lovely picnic in the sun overlooking the valley.
The other highlight was platypus spotting at Broken River. Headed off just before dusk and were lucky enough to see quite a few of the cute platypus. They swam right in front of us and were playing and diving and put on quite a show. Amazing to see them in the wild. A real bonus.
Our last day was spent at the local coffee shop called "The Hideaway" - very quirky but yummy pumpkin scones, a short walk and then some local home-made ice cream and dinner at the pub which is called "The Chalet". Sounds like an "eating" day but we had to sample all the local fare.
A perfect end to a perfect stay. We could stay here much longer but unfortunately have to move on.
Sam, and her partner Damien, owners of Explorer's Haven were both just so friendly and hospitable, we really were very reluctant to stay, and felt very much at home here - and really with such a view each day, it was just an amazing stay. A definite highlight of this trip.