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Airlie Beach to Carnarvon Gorge

...and more mishaps!

sunny 37 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Back to Oz on SteveJD's travel map.

Nice though it would have been to spend more time at Airlie Beach, we had to press on. On the way to Mackay we peeled off to look at Cedar Creek Falls - a pretty area but not a lot of water actually falling. However, on our way to the falls, we had seen an osprey in a tree and when we came back, it was still there! After Judith had taken a few photos it did fly off, so it wasn't a dummy! We continued through more sugar cane areas and otherwise relatively unremarkable country to reach our destination.

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I think the origins of the city's name warrant a complete extract from Wikipedia: "The city was named after John Mackay. In 1860, he was the leader of an expedition into the Pioneer Valley. Initially Mackay proposed to name the river Mackay River after his father George Mackay. Thomas Henry Fitzgerald surveyed the township and proposed it was called Alexandra after Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who married Prince Edward (later King Edward VII). However, in 1862 the river was renamed to be the Pioneer River, after the HMS Pioneer in which Queensland Governor George Bowen travelled to the area, and the township name was changed to be Mackay in honour of John Mackay. Fitzgerald then decided to use the name Alexandra for his sugar cane plantation and sugar mill, which eventually provided the name to the Mackay suburb of Alexandra today." A less straightforward naming than many Australian towns and cities.

On arrival, we headed into town where I was able to buy a replacement for the camera that I had dunked on Whitehaven Beach. The following day I wasn't feeling crash hot but we took a drive out to Slade Point where we saw some birds new to us. We aren't twitchers but we do enjoy watching birds and especially coming across ones we haven't seen before on this trip. We had been under the impression that Mackay was a place people were not attracted to but we found it rather attractive and with friendly people.

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Next day, neither of us felt 100% but went into town to drop the LC off with an auto electrician as we had some problems with the headlights - quite important. We then took a walk through to Queens Park arriving just in time to see the orchids in the Ken Burgess Display House (Orchid House). Many photographs were taken but we'll try to be selective! On the way to the park, we saw several really nice Queenslander high-set houses. It is such a sensible design and they look good as well. Later in the day I was struck down by a virus which gave me a severe gastric upset which became so bad that Judith 'phoned a doctor who recommended that she take me to Emergency. We spent a couple of hours in the hospital where I received excellent treatment and was discharged after being rehydrated.

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Although I was still feeling pretty ropy, we drove across to Emerald and after a reasonable night I had a relapse and had to go to Emergency at the hospital next door. Again I received excellent care, had a few more tests and was again rehydrated. In order to recover, we had to extend our stay in Emerald and cut a couple of nights from our stay at Takarakka (Carnarvon Gorge). (Emerald is not named for the gemstone but apparently for a particularly grassy hill just outside the town). While based in Emerald, we took a trip back up the road to a small town called Capella (taking its name from Capella Creek which is believed to have been named after the star, probably by a surveyor, Charles Frederick Gregory) as we had seen their memorial to the Australian Light Horse on our way through. It is quite an impressive memorial in a small town.

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We finally got away and drove through varied countryside - farming, mining, eucalypt forest and grasslands including large areas of Queensland Blue - not to mention some mountain areas, including the Staircase Range - oh for more time! There was plenty to keep us occupied. We hoped to get into Minerva NP but when we started on the road, we found that it was going to take too long, so we carried on to Rolleston (named after a pastoralist in the 1860s) where we stopped for a coffee break. This we had in a lovely little park where we saw several birds new to us including some delightful little double-barred finches.

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We finally arrived at Takarakka and found that we had been upgraded to a cottage as the safari tent that had been allotted to us had been destroyed by flying foxes which had recently invaded the area and certainly made their presence felt. We arrived in time to drive down to the Visitor Centre and walk the Nature Trail which crossed the creek, ran back along through lovely forest...then ran out! We found our way to another river crossing and a track back to our car.

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Posted by SteveJD 03:39 Archived in Australia

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Comments

Shame your poor things getting struck down like that. Do hope you are both feeling much better now. Look after yourselves.

Th photos are stunning and as always your report is brilliant xxxx

by Lorraine Wilson

That all looks wonderful. Shame about the various ailments..that shouldn't happen in your summer but such is life! People here are going down with flu which is somehow blamed on the Aussies and indeed named after them. I won't hold it against them though.
I had a wonderful Christmas as my Aussie friends from Perth were here. (Dave Saunders and family, Judith will remember) I plan to re-visit Perth in October 2019 which will be lovely. Have fun xx

by jennipascoe

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