A Misty Morning at Broken River
This morning my sister, Courtney, and I took a trip up to Eungella National Park with a great bunch of Mackay photographers to see how the Pioneer Valley was regenerating after last month's fires.
We met our hosts Cherrie, of Cherrie Hughes Social Media, and Morgana, from Mackay Tourism, at the Mackay Tourist Information Centre and spent a short time getting acquainted with our company before boarding the Reeforest Adventure Tours bus and heading up the valley.
As we whizzed through the towns along the way our bus driver Col shared some of his local knowledge. Col and his wife Jenny have been running their world famous Platypus and Rainforest Eco Safari in Mackay since 1994 and I was pretty stoked to be leaving the driving to him so I could take in the beauty outside my window. In no time at all we were winding our way up through the misty hillside and in just under an hour we arrived at the Platypus Lodge Restaurant Cafe.
At Platypus Lodge Restaurant Cafe we were treated to a delicious spread by Oskar, the Restaurant's Austrian owner and chef. With the rain drizzling through the subtropical forest around us, we quickly snapped some photos of the food and got stuck into our meals.
While we ate we chatted to Oskar and his beautiful family about their lives at Broken River and the delights of Eungella National Park. The kids chased brush turkeys and told us tales about discovering an abandoned platypus nest on one of their afternoon walks. The Park is home to a huge variety of animals, also including kookaburras, lace monitors, skinks, noisy pittas and, on our last visit to Broken River, Courtney and I spotted a school of fresh water fish mating! Nature's classroom is alive and well at Eungella and if plants are your thing then there are also a bunch of subtropical species to identify, including Lilly Pilly and Lomandra aplenty.
Beside Platypus Restaurant Cafe is also the Broken River Information Centre and gift shop which has a great selection of local produce and gifts available to purchase. We spent some time browsing before making a dash to the platypus viewing platform in a break in the rain.
While we didn't spot any platypus on this occasion (probably due to the usually still river being a raging one instead) Courtney and I have caught a glimpse of them on most of our trips to Eungella National Park and it's definitely one of the coolest things to do in Mackay - whether you're a local or just passing through. The platypus come out to feed in the early morning and late afternoon and we've often seen them from the viewing platform at Broken River in the hour before dusk.
Eungella National Park is beautiful year round and makes for a perfect day trip from Mackay. If you're looking to extend your stay on top of the mountain then there are plenty of camping and accommodation options in both Broken River and nearby Eungella. And though we passed straight through the Pioneer Valley townships on this trip, when I'm heading up the valley I always like to make a few stops along the way (Celsa's Trading Post and the Pioneer Valley Hotel in Gargett + and the Criterion Hotel in Finch Hatton are my top picks for a pit stop).
If you're yet to venture up to Eungella National Park and Platypus Lodge Restaurant Cafe then what are you waiting for? Stop by the Mackay Tourist Information Centre on Nebo Road for more information and to plan your drive, or book a Reeforest Adventure Tour and get ready to meet the Mackay region.