Driving to Eungella

24/6/07 06:11 Depart Brisbane 13°C 0.0km
11 minutes after the ETD we depart the Palsson residence. Mum is driving. Our first item on the agenda is to fill up the tank as that would be the cheapest petrol we would see until we returned to the South East 10 days later.

24/6/07 07:08 Arrive The Farm 15°C 57.1km
We had breakfast at The Farm with Grandad watching the birds feed outside his kitchen window.
Galah Galah Rainbow Lorikeet Bar Shouldered Dove

After watching the birds and chatting with “The Man” we went to pick the Custard Apples, Passionfruit and Cherry Tomatoes. Taking just a small bundle with us to eat in the following days.
The man
24/6/07 08:25 Depart The Farm 18°C 57.1km

24/6/07 09:45 Arrive Gympie 18°C 180.3km
Have our morning tea at the lakes and spend some moments watching the ducks, swans, geese and other bird life having a feed from a young lad with a bag of bread. Drive past Gympie’s Big Pineapple and are shocked to see that the area is fenced off and that the petrol station is long gone. Hope that whatever takes up shop on the land keeps the Big Pineapple.
24/6/07 10:05 Depart Gympie 18°C 180.3km

Helen takes over the driving seat. Highlight is driving over the Burnett River bridge just south of Gin Gin and wishing that it was the mighty Burnett again not the piddly little river it is now. Drive past many many acres of cane fields and smile at the sun hitting the cane flowers blowing in the wind.

24/6/07 12:26 Arrive Gin Gin 21°C 385.6km
Gin Gin is an interesting town. Like many other towns on a highway (Sarina for example) it has a park which divides the road with picnic tables, toilets etc for those passing through. Gin Gin though manages to have no less than three (3) blocks of toilets in this park.
24/6/07 13:25 Depart Gin Gin 21°C 385.6km
Mum takes over the driving seat for 1hr or so until she starts to get sleepy and Helen takes over the wheel again.
Mum driving

Heading North along the Bruce Highway in the afternoon sun my eyes are caught by the sun reflecting on the insulators and pull over to take a photo or two.
Light on the Insulators
The gate Cattle Country

Just after taking these photos we hear the sound of a coal train and coming past and quickly turn round to count the carriages. 3 engines, 86 carriages of coal. A couple of km down the road we see another one approaching and pull over so that we can count it as well. 4 engines, 100 carriages of coal. After getting this same count when we next saw a coal train we realised quickly that they are standard lengths and could then know the number of carriages by counting the engines as they went past us.

24/6/07 16:30 Arrive Rockhampton 21°C 668.3km
Mum and I check into our budget motel room for the night and head to the Old Rockhampton Botanical Gardens chasing the light. I managed to get a few photos before the sun dipped even lower on the horizon.
Rockhampton Cenotaph butterfly in the rocky botanic gardens

Whilst driving back to the motel, I marvel to Mum that the streets of Rocky are soooo wide. She replies that the streets were made that wide so that cattle could easily be driven down to the sale yards back in the day.
Head back to the motel and settle in, whilst waiting for Cathie and Lesley to arrive. Once they turn up we walk down the street to a local pub for a buffet dinner which was quite nice. I fed myself for the next couple of days with numerous serves of dessert and mains. They had a really, really nice choc mousse.

25/6/07 07:29 Depart Rockhampton 17°C 680.4km
Mum is driving and Lesley is with as Cathie has headed off to Mackay earlier to visit family. Exercise Talisman Sabre is taking place at Shoalwater which is just outside of Rocky and I comment at the American Army trucks we see driving down the highway. They looked so out of place and instantly recognisable as American. They are a different colour green to our trucks and a different shape. It only took a glance to know that it an American mini-convoy driving past us. It was sort of funny. They just look really American.

25/6/07 10:14 Arrive Clairview 18°C 895.5km
Have morning tea and ward off pesky Blue-faced Honeyeaters who want some food. Have a browse through the local op and crafts shop before having a bit of a stroll on the beach.
Mum on the beach at Clairview mangrove life force 20070625_6960_web Mangrove sapling
25/6/07 11:03 Depart Clairview 18°C 895.5km

25/6/07 12:53 Arrive Mackay 20°C 1020km
Lots of driving round Mackay in the rain. It is wet and we want to find somewhere undercover to have lunch. We end up eating our lunch on the seats outside the Mackay Performing Arts Complex. Real Classy. After feeding the worms we head over to the EPA/QPWS office to ask some questions about the walk. Whilst up in the office I fall in love with the art work by a few artists representing birds of the region and in particular birds on the Great Walk. Mainly collage in form and just really great.

Cathie arrives back from visiting her family and we go about looking for accommodation and getting a hot drink. We check out the first backpackers hostel and they only have room for 2 people but they ring the other backpackers in town and we find out that they have room for all four of us and will hold it for us. We all get a Hot Chocolate and ponder our options because outside it is raining and the forecast is for more rain in the next couple of days and all the locals have said if it is raining in Mackay it is ten times worse at Eungella. Just Great. After sitting in the car deciding if we should stay the night in Mackay or head up to Eungella, I put forward the motion that we may as well drive up to Eungella tonight because then we are up there and we can make a moves from there. Motion accepted by the other party members we pick up some groceries and start the drive through the cane fields and in the rainy night we slowly wind our way up the range to Eungella on a road that is steep and shrouded in mist.

25/6/07 18:10 Arrive Eungella 14°C 1125km
We pick up the map to our accommodation off the office door (they closed at 17:30) and make our way to the cabin. It is still raining but we are all bushwalkers and have our trusty raincoats at hand to cart our bags from the carpark through water logged grass and down a slippery mud slope to our cabin. It was a wonderful place to arrive at. A microwave, a working tv, a fireplace and a nice shower. We shower, eat and retreat to bed all hoping that the morning would bring a sunshiney day.

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