Here we are in Mackay and it is hot. We are at the Discovery Park in North Mackay not far from the Marina. Not much shade and little breeze. Good excuse to get out in the car and have a drive around in the air conditioning. This is what we have done over the past couple of days.
Coming down from Eungella we stopped off in Marian, the Mackay Sugar Mill is here, and had morning tea at Melba House. In this cottage, Dame Nellie Melba lived for about 8 months before she up and left her husband; took their son with her. Nellie was Australia’s first world renowned opera singer, late 1800s early 1900s. She spent most of her time in London and Paris, didn’t think us Aussies appreciated her. Well, we now do because she is on, or was on, our $100 note. Not sure because I haven’t seen one for a long time. Anyway the Marian locals really work the 8 month connection in this old plantation house, one small room dedicated to Nellie and the rest crammed with craft works and souvenirs for sale, plus the coffee shop.
On our previous journeys up and down the coast we have never stopped in at Mackay, it seems to be that sort of distance between stops that allows one to amble by on the way elsewhere. Missing its delights. Mackay is a small city spread out on the flood plain of the Pioneer River and bordered by cane fields in almost every direction. Sugar cane was the reason for its foundation in the 19th century. It was also the main ‘beneficiary’ of the organised ‘black birding’ of south sea islanders to work for little reward on the plantations, Australia’s little known slave trade. The city has a large south sea islander descendent population. Many in the town are engaged in the coal mining industry. If the boats tied up in the marina are any indication the town is prosperous.
Although the CBD area was very quiet, with numerous empty shop fronts. Seems that there is some rejuvenation going on with big box type places, such as Bunnings, Harvey Norman, Caneland Shopping Centre etc setting up on the city’s fringe perhaps killing off the small old time family retailers and CBD stores.
Not a lot of people around, maybe inside out of the heat instead of wandering around looking at old buildings and gardens.
Had a great plate of fish n chips at the pub perched on the headland at Eimeo. One could look out over the Coral Sea and see many of the islands just off the coast. Also 30 plus coal ships at anchor awaiting loads of coal at the Hay Point terminal to the south of Mackay. The fish n chips lasted on board well into the evening, only needed some crackers for dinner.
After lunch we dropped in at Blacks Beach for a wander on the sand, one sensed it was low tide, it was a long way to the water. Allthego not tempted to have a swim.
On our last day we were looking for a light lunch and not wanting a repeat fish n chips experience, like out at the pub at Eimeo. Settled for a prawn pizza to share at the Lighthouse Hotel at the Marina. Hit the spot and Allthego is going to add it to his menu at home. Prawn, avocado, spring onion and roasted garlic cloves. Excellent.
Our campground has one redeeming feature, a really nice swimming pool to cool off in at the end of the day. And that is where we ended up before dinner.
Our next stop is Cape Hillsborough NP about 60 km north.
Posted on March 4, 2023, in Airlie Beach and Whitsundays 2023. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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