Thursday, 28 April 2011

April 26 Rockhampton to Mackay

It took us nearly 2 hours to breakfast, take down the tent and pack all the “camp” away.  Not long after breakfast a security vehicle drove up and asked Kev for his ASIC card ( a necessity on all secure airfields).  When we questioned if there was a problem, he was non committal because he had never had anyone camp on the airport before.  He had to check with the rules and regs!! Typical.

We luckily hitched a ride with a local pilot into town where we enjoyed a coffee then visited the Tourist I Centre.  The only place of interest open on a public holiday was the botanical gardens and zoo.  The map showed us that if we were dropped at one end of the gardens we could walk through them, the zoo and golf course and be about 4 km from the airport.

We were so impressed with the gardens which had been designed and planted by a local pioneer who bequeathed it to the city of Mackay after his passing.  The council has maintained the standard set and it was full of surprises. A Japanese garden, multiple fruit trees from many countries, an Anzac memorial and a children’s playground as well as hundreds of varieties of palm trees.  In many palms we observed ibis with their young.

Trying to crack his first coconut!
e also found a fallen coconut and Kev attempted to open it but no luck.  The fibres were too strong and we didn’t have the right tools. (We needed my Khan {GSD} – he used to open them for us when I was traveling with brother, Mill, some 25 years ago)

Surprise after surprise met us.  We found the Zoo was free to the public.  The enclosures were very well thought out and well maintained.  Some of the animals were koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, monitor lizards and lovely aviaries of birds.

Finally finishing our walk past the golf course we caught a taxi back to the airport and enjoyed a sandwich lunch before planning our next leg to Mackay.

Phone conversations with Garry Poole at Lakeside Airpark near Proserpine concluded that it would be wise to fly to Mackay and stay then attempt flying into Lakeside in the calm morning.

The flight from Mackay was very pleasant. We skirted a shower or two and enjoyed the vast estuaries with muddy water from the large amounts of rainfall they have experienced over the past 3 months.

Garry P had also invited us to his private strip about 65nm south of Mackay but he had just left that morning as his guests had eaten him out of barramundi and crab and also drunk his fridge dry!  The strip was easily located and looked a great place to stay but we left it to the wandering cattle this time.
Someone's own personal island!

Arriving at Mackay, narrowly missing a large flock of geese flying across the main runway, we were greeted by an instructor Mike Jones, who welcomed us and offered the use of a car even before we had shut the engine down.  “What superb hospitality”.

He also offered the use of a hangar with living quarters for the night which we gratefully accepted.

After a short drive around Mackay in the setting sun we were impressed with the lovely “queenslanders”, houses built up to take in the breeze and the old architecture of the city centre.  An invitation to have a drink at the Mackay Aero Club (VH-MAC) was taken up and though Mike had gone home we were introduced to 7 members who made us very welcome and gave heaps of ideas and information regarding the ongoing trip.

Ironic isn’t it?  Only 1 week ago my sister Lisa and partner Mike had lived here in Mackay and now they are down in Victoria.  They passed us whilst we were in Tamworth. 

So here we are in a hangar with rain pouring heavily on the roof making it almost impossible to hear the TV.  Freshly showered, fed and dry we are very happy with this setup. The Stinson, however, is outside in the pouring rain, much to Kevin’s frustration!!!
Not much we can do but hope she weathers the conditions without damage.


Son John n Lizzy said...

Never mind Kev.. I'll buy you a packet of coconut when you get home. :)
keep up the great blogging x Son

Judith said...

Great read,you are certainly getting about! Stay safe, miss you. Jude xxxx

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL
over Perth city (Photo: Greg Hill)

About Us

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Flying farming couple who live on 135 acres. Kev is obsessed by aeroplanes. Vicki is devoted to horses and White Swiss Shepherds.