A look inside Eun­gella and the pro­duce it has to of­fer

New tour showcases the best lo­cal pro­duce Eun­gella of­fers

Central Queensland News - - RURALWEEKLY - Jorunn Loren­zen Jorunn.Loren­zen@dai­ly­mer­cury.com.au

ON A warm spring Satur­day morn­ing we leave Mackay for a day at Eun­gella Na­tional Park, Aus­tralia’s longest stretch of sub-trop­i­cal rain­for­est.

The drive to our des­ti­na­tion atop of the Clarke Ranges is no less scenic than the des­ti­na­tion it­self.

Cane fields are nes­tled be­tween the ranges in the Pioneer Valley, which is home to fresh­wa­ter creeks and wa­ter­falls cut­ting through smooth vol­canic boul­ders.

The cane fields, lu­mi­nes­cent green in colour, set against the bright blue sky are easy on the eye.

Farm­ers are out on al­most ev­ery field ir­ri­gat­ing the young cane plants and har­vest­ing oth­ers, re­mind­ing us that for some, work never stops.

We pass the churn­ing sugar mills in the coun­try towns of Walk­er­ston and Mar­ian.

Here the vi­brant green cane­fields con­trast the rusty colours of the mills. Work­ers hook up lo­co­mo­tives to the cane trains zip­ping across the tiny rail­way lines.

Fur­ther along we pass the town­ships of Mi­rani and Finch Hat­ton, be­fore mak­ing our way up the tightly wind­ing range road to Eun­gella.

Other trav­ellers share mem­o­ries of tack­ling the road in “the old days” when it was merely a track.

Gra­ham Long, who used to man­age a taxi com­pany, re­mem­bers cars stop­ping half­way up the range.

Wa­ter had to be col­lected from the creek fur­ther up to re­fill the ra­di­a­tors that had boiled their wa­ter from cool­ing the hard work­ing en­gines.

Once cooled down, the jour­ney could re­sume to the top, 680m above sea level.

Ar­riv­ing in Eun­gella, we stop at the gen­eral store for a home made sausage roll, ap­ple turnover, rasp­berry slushy and cof­fee. We go on to the com­mu­nity hall which used to be an army hos­pi­tal at the Mackay har­bour and was dis­man­tled and, yes, trucked up the range.

Lo­cal beef pro­duc­ers

❝ the vi­brant green cane­fields con­trast the rusty colours of the mills...

Mandy Ten­nent and her fam­ily from Cloud­line Low­lines and Eun­gella Beef pre­pare a sec­ond ‘smoko’ con­sist­ing of mouth­ful-sized beef slider burg­ers with home-made rel­ish for us that looked al­most to cute to eat.

Eat­ing two we re­mind our­selves we have more lo­cal cui­sine to taste and need space in our bel­lies.

On the quest to see a platy­pus we fol­low the road to­wards Bro­ken River where we stop at the Platy­pus Lodge Restau­rant.

Owner Oskar Kro­bath serves up his sig­na­ture beef burg­ers with an au­then­tic Aus­trian yo­del.

Mr Kro­bath has made the cool and tran­quil spot by the river his home.

The site is dubbed the “best place in the world to see a platy­pus in the wild”. And that we do.

We spend the early hours of the af­ter­noon soak­ing in the mil­lion dol­lar views from the Eun­gella Chalet, a ho­tel on the edge of the range over­look­ing the valley.

A trav­el­ling hang glider sets up as we are just about to leave.

As our bus makes its way down the wind­ing road, we watch the bot­tom of the valley com­ing closer. We think about the hang glider cir­cling above us. It keeps our minds still for a lit­tle longer. — Hel­loworld Travel Mackay & Mt Pleas­ant of­fer day trips to Eun­gella and the Pioneer Valley de­part­ing this year. In­quiries: phone 4969 3600.

PHO­TOS: JORUNN LOREN­ZEN

GREAT DAY: Edel Sil­ber­ling en­joyed the day out of town ex­plor­ing the town­ship of Eun­gella.

Mandy Ten­nent, from Cloud­break Low­lines and Eun­gella Beef, serv­ing up a plat­ter of home­made corned beef slider burg­ers at the Eun­gella Com­mu­nity Hall.

Platy­pus Lodge owner Oskar Kro­bath serves up his fa­mous burg­ers with an Aus­trian yo­del.

And there it is – a platy­pus.

En­joy­ing the view­ing plat­form at Bro­ken River and try­ing to spot a platy­pus.

A tour photo in front of the mil­lion-dol­lar view of the Pioneer Valley.

Platy­pus lodge burg­ers with sausage flo­rets.

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