Eungella is Australia's largest rainforest national park. Its 54,000 hectares are part of 120,000 hectares of rainforest over the Clarke and Connors Ranges. Species such as the Mackay tulip oak, Eungella honeyeater and the Eungella brooding frog are unique to the area.
Mist-shrouded and forest-clad mountains make an excellent home to an enormous variety of unusual plants and animals. It has both subtropical and tropical rainforests, and supports species typical to both.
There are more than 20 kilometres of track in the park, catering for all ranges of walker. Araluen Falls' swimming hole offers welcome relief after a long rainforest walk, and at Fern Flat you can camp or picnic near the creek. Private campsites and cabins are available on the mountain. Hatton Finch Gorge has gas barbecues and picnic spots and they do ask that you don't feed the inquisitive goannas.
Col Adamson runs Reeforest Adventure Tours and has the best of both worlds the outback and the Whitsundays. He offers several tours including a Mackay City Tour, Cape Hillsborough Northern Safari, sugar and gold mining tours, and undoubtedly the best and most unusual, his Platypus and Rainforest Eco Safari.
Not many people have been lucky enough to have seen one of these intriguing creatures, but this is a habitat that suits their shy way of life.
The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), with its duck bill and webbed feet, is a unique Australian animal. It and the two species of echidna are the only monotremes or egg-laying mammals to be found on Earth. They have streamlined bodies, webbed feet, broad tail and a soft, pliable bill. They are mostly deep brown with a golden underside, though some are silky grey. Two layers of fur provide excellent insulation.
Long claws are useful to dig burrows on the banks of fresh water rivers, lakes or streams. Males have an extra spur on each hind limb, connected to a poison gland. It is used on enemies, other males at mating time and can inflict painful injury to humans who get too close.
They are solitary animals that only come together to mate, though they live in close proximity. Their natural wariness sees them venturing out in the early morning and evening. They forage for food up to 13 hours every day, and it's not unusual that they consume half their body weight daily. Despite that, they are really quite small males measure from 45cm to 60cm and weigh around 2.5kg, and females come in shorter and lighter.
Broken River Mountain Resort, on the banks of the Broken River, is the ideal place for visitors to Eungella to base their stay. They have one and two bedroom lodges and motel-style studio rooms, all with ensuite and some with cooking facilities.
There are shaded barbecue areas, pool, playground, lounge with open fire and the Platypus Lodge restaurant serves fine cuisine.
One hour west of Mackay, Queensland
Broken River Mountain Retreat has rooms starting at $98 twin share.
Reeforest Adventure Tours Platypus and Rainforst Eco Safari is $99 for adults and $69 for children.
Virgin Blue has flights to Mackay with limited seats, which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the Net. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at May 25, 2006 and are subject to change.
One-way fares from;
- Brisbane, $95
- Sydney, $139
- Melbourne, $205
- Darwin, $249
- Adelaide, $255
- Perth, $325
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
For further information
Reeforest Adventure Tours
Ph: (07) 4959 8360
Fax: (07) 4959 8069
Broken River Mountain Resort
Eungella Dam Road
Ph: (07) 4958 4000
Fax: (07) 4958 4564