Letho's Blog

Finch Hatton Gorge and Eungella NP

by on Aug.01, 2011, under The East Coast

August 01, 2011

We left Palm Grove and made our way to the Mackay Highlands, starting with the Finch Hatton Gorge. On the way we finally caught a cane train on camera, hauling the freshly harvested cane chalks and bringing it to a sugar mill. There is a railway network of more than 2000 kilometers just for this purpose.

The landscape around us still showed massive cane fields all over the region. Since cane grows here all year long you will find fields in many different stages of growth. Harvesting is conducted only from July to December at most, often only until October. Did you know that sugar cane is just a giant grass? That’s why it doesn’t require any seeding: the top plant is cut off and the grass roots are simply left in the soil from where they regrow in about 18 months.

At Finch Hatton Gorge we had a picnic at the Araluen Cascades and walked all the way up to the Wheel of Fire.

On our way to the Eungella NP you’ll come by this fantastic view over Pioneer Valley at Sky Window:

View over Pioneer Valley from Sky Window

View over Pioneer Valley from Sky Window

Now it was time to finally close another gap: spot a platypus! These strange little creatures exist only in Australia, lay eggs but breastfeed their offspring, have a bird-like beak and are semi-aquatic. There are only five species of these so-called monotremes, and we had already spotted another example: an echidna. Not so easy to spot a platypus, though – they are most active at dusk or dawn, but very shy and back off at the slightest disturbance. We were recommended Eungella NP as a platypus-guaranteed place, and right that was! We reached the viewing platform at Broken River where other spectators already waited in complete silence, but well-equipped with cameras. 😉

We were lucky enough to spot not only one, but at least four of these creatures, and three at a time swimming, diving to the bottom leaving a bubble trail and finally resurfacing. It was getting really dark, though, making it incredibly hard to take good photos. This is the best we could do:

Mission accomplished – all the way here was worth it after all. In the end of the day we drove to Mackay.

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