It’s a long way to the top, Day 22 – Reaching the wet tropics

Day 22 Friday June 27th 2014 Bouldercombe to Mackay

Ooh it was a chilly night and only 10 degrees and foggy at 8:45 as we leave, thank goodness for those heated seats. We’re chuckling about last night at the Bouldercombe Pub and Woody mentions that we ended up adding two bottles of wine to the $10 meal and all in all we could have stayed 2 nights at a Big 4 Caravan Park for what we spent! But hey, we’ll never forget our night at the Bouldy Pub! We cross the Tropic of Capricorn although there is no marker on the highway these days. Turning right at the Big Brahman Bull we cruise into Rockhampton through an entrance of parks and gardens. We find a park beside the Fitzroy River (the very river that featured on TV last night because of its crocodile problem). The river is incredibly wide and there are high rise apartments and hotels overlooking it. The city centre is beautiful with large trees, heritage buildings and hotels bedecked with lacework. The grand old GPO has a bell on the top which is encased in a metal structure in an Arabian style.

Criterion Hote, Rockhampton

Back on the road it’s still cattle country, dry sparse gums and big floppy eared Brahmans. Since Bundaberg the roadsides have been lined with a tall flowering grasses. We stretch our legs at the little town of Marlborough. There is a pub that allows camping, a general store and a bunch of houses on stilts. Just beyond Marlborough the updraft from a speeding truck causes the car bonnet to pop up. More fun.

The road returns to the coast and palms begin appearing in the scrub, then like the flicking of a light switch there is sugar cane, lots of it and all in flower. Swathes of lavender plumes atop tall green stalks.

It’s been a long boring drive and we’re quite weary by the time we arrive at the Andergrove Caravan Park in Mackay. Mackay is a large sprawling city spread across many hills. The main shopping street is charming with trees and gardens down the centre median strip. The Pioneer River is wide and tidal with mangroves. The port and marina area are home to high rise apartments and hotels overlooking the water. The floating marina has the highest tidal allowance we’ve seen yet. The sail training tall ship New Endeavour is in port and the rigging is dotted with eager teenagers. It begins to rain and the night is wet and warm. Welcome to the “Wet Tropics”.    

Travelling Kms: 359Kms

2020 Note: The stretch between Rockhampton and Mackay that we once thought boring is now a joy to us as we’ve found hidden delights.

Mackay Marina
Map Source: WikiCamps Melbourne to Mackay

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