MACKAY – REGION OF DISCOVERIES
With his adventurous family including wife Kerry and two children Billy (8) and Eloise (6), bestselling author and travel writer SCOTT PODMORE hightails it from the deep south of Victoria for Queensland’s east coast on an unforgettable road trip. This is the fourth of a five-part blog series ‘On The Road Again’, exclusive to Tourism Queensland.
SO far we had only hit the road for short one, two or three-hour journeys, but the time had come for a long-haul trip. After turning in early for a peaceful snooze at Fraser Lodge Big 4, we were up at the crack of dawn, back in the camper and on the Bruce Highway heading up to Mackay.
It was also a journey where I found myself counting my blessings for having an incredibly organized Virgo wife, as the Podlets were restless after rising early and all the excitement of the past week had caught up with them. Enter long haul road trip saviors including iPod Touch units (game apps) and Kerry’s super idea of putting together some surprise “lucky dip” bags pre-trip comprising inexpensive interactive activities like colouring books, hangman games, ballbearing puzzles and old-fashioned favourites like I Spy.
To also help break the journey up, we stopped off in Gladstone for morning tea for some great coffee and glorious views at the Outlook Café before getting back in the van and finally arriving at Mackay mid-afternoon. We agreed this was a coastal city worth stopping at for a few days on the return journey.
Admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect from Mackay, but kind of guessed it would be similar to Newcastle in NSW due to its coal-mining past. And it was, but like Newcastle, there’s so much to explore. Mackay instantly left us grown-ups a little gob-smacked by its charms and agreed the Mackay region was like our very own “lucky dip” surprise pack thanks to such highlights as the lush Pioneer Valley, the highland rainforests of Eungella National Park, enchanting waterfalls, and its intriguing coal mining history and sugar canefields milling past.
It’s an area of diverse discoveries and we set up camp at Bucasia Beachfront Caravan Resort, nestled on absolute beachfront and facing directly on to one of Mackay’s most beautiful beaches. From “sugar sheds” to flying foxes, saying hello to the kangaroos down on the beach and some great attractions in town, it was very hard to say goodbye after two days – not nearly enough time to properly explore this beaut part of the east coast of Australia.
NEARBY HIGH 5:
NEXT TIME (PART V): MAKING A SPLASH IN CAIRNS
Scott's trip was supported by DriveNow.com.au