In the heat of a Mackay summer, you can cool down at Finch Hatton Gorge. Follow the Gorge Road to the day use area and track to the gorge. You can take a shorter walk – it is only 2.8 km return to the Araluen Cascades.
Jumping and diving are prohibited – there have been five deaths here since 1976. Many more have been seriously injured, some of these include spinal injuries.
These incidents are specifically due to slipping on the wet slippery rocks and steep wet slopes—Parks say one slip could be fatal. Fast stream rises and strong currents may occur. Please note that swimming in the creeks can be dangerous and is at your own risk.
Even in summer and autumn, our friend Naomi said the water was “nice and freezing”. They didn’t swim in the deeper end on the other side, under the falls, “more so we didn’t want to clamber back up boulders”.
However, they do want to come back to the Pioneer Valley in the Mackay Hinterland for the longer walk of a 4.2 km return to Wheel of Fire, via Callistemon Crossing.
Platypus Bushcamp is the closest camp to the day use area, (see the video below) where the walk begins. Only 2 km to Eungella National Park, you are right in the rainforest at the camp.
Video by CAMPS Ambassadors Manda and Daniel from Overland Exposure
The Bushcamp was established 18 years ago as a campsite with a single hut, and has now grown to offer three timber-slab huts, well equipped kitchen/ galley, dining hut, small BYO bush bar to lean on, firepit, and nature library.
Naomi really rates the “mighty fine” pies and great customer service at the Pinnacle Family Hotel.
Conveniently, it is also a pet friendly free camp!
The budget priced camping at Finch Hatton Showground also welcomes your pets. However, pets are not allowed in the National Park.
If you wish to stay in the National Park, stop at the Broken River Bush Camp, 5 km from Eungella.
There area 8 campsites suitable for tents, medium sized caravans, camper trailers and small motorhomes, surfaces are grass and dirt.
Open fires and generators are allowed, and fuel stoves are recommended. Bring your own clean milled timber.
Essentials to bring include food, drinking water, rubbish bags, insect repellent, sun protection and a first-aid kit.
Fern Flat Camping Area is 400m further via a gravel road, but only for tent camping. It is not suitable for camper trailers, caravans or motorhomes, and there are limited sites.
Both are riverside, so you might be able to spot a platypus! We remember travelling up here with our young family. It was a wonderful respite from the Mackay heat. We never did spot a platypus, I think because there was a noisy toddler in tow! Great spot for a picnic, though!
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