Monday, June 2, 2014

Mackay, QLD.

This is a 5-month old story. Or what kids these days call: #throwback (yup, with the hatch tag). To continue our anniversary-getaway tradition, we flew to Mackay on Jetstar, but this time, literally seconds away from being denied to board the plane. I am still clueless on how we managed to let this happen. I was huffing and puffing, begging the gate-lady to wait just a liiiittle longer for Hasben to pass the security area. So obviously we were the last ones to be seated but was immediately doubtful of the condition of the plane. The sound coming from the engine/propellers/wheels (not sure which) was sooo loud that I thought to myself, "Did God intended us to miss this flight to save us from a disaster?!" Very 'Final Destination' type of feeling. In the end, nothing dramatic happened and we arrived safely, but with a not so promising weather - cloudy...

After picking up our rental car, we checked-in at Pioneer Villa Motel and slept until noon... (-_-)"

Look at the cloudy sky... We did plan to give this pool a try, but it rained later that evening...

Anyway, our first visit was to Mackay Marina Village and surprisingly, the sky was clear and we managed to get some lovely snapshots... Yeay!

Here is the breakwater... It was closed though, so we couldn't walk on it. Crappy.

Next stop was Harbour Beach, a great spot for swimming.

With the hope of meeting wild kangaroos on the beach side at sunset, as mentioned by others through Google search, we drove about 40 min to Cape Hillsborough. Kimi was sleeping so we had to drag him on the stroller:

During low tide, one can actually walk to Wedge Island ... but not today. Owh... And there were no kangaroos. Double crappy. But the view was lovely.

A few minutes after this shot was taken, it rained, seriously heavy and continued the whole day next day!!! Now, this is the third time we visited North Queensland and all three times, we were not so lucky, weather wise. Queensland is suppose to be the Sunshine State but apparently, not so much in January to March.

1) Cairns - The Great Barrier Reef was so murky that we couldn't see the seabed. I was able to spot a turtle from the jetty, just for a brief moment, and that was it.

2) The Whitsundays - Stormy weather caused our scenic flight to be canceled. There goes our opportunity to see the iconic Heart Reef... Arghhh!!!

3) Mackay - A whole day of heavy rain left us with limited activities. We had to postpone visiting Eungella National Park to the third day.

We visited the artspace instead, since it was indoor... And free.

And drove to Sarina to visit the Sugar Shed. Mackay is the sugar capital of Australia and we thought that it would be good to educate ourselves on the workings of a sugar mill. The tour was okay but I did find it a bit expensive.

And I spotted something familiar... Yeo's canned drink. Seriously, I could buy this in any mini market in Malaysia...

What's interesting for me was the various final products of sugarcane - apart from sugar, such as ethanol fuel (wow!), alcohol beverages and dips and sauces. Each and every aspect of the plant is put to good use thus producing zero waste. Hasben had a taste of HTLS (Hello This Looks Serious) and boy, they weren't joking! It was spicy!

On our way back to the city centre, we stopped by Hay Point to visit Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal. The view from the lookout was great, you can see mostly black stuff everywhere. However, there was a mention of this terminal in the news a few months back, reportedly causing damage to The Great Barrier Reef. Scary...

So, with nothing left to do in the rain, we went to Caneland Central, the biggest mall in Mackay (i think) just to window shop.

The weather on the third day looked promising. We excitedly drove to Eungella National Park to visit the Finch Hatton Gorge, with the hope of seeing wild platypus. The road-side view was beautiful with acres of sugarcane farms on both sides.

But... Once we reached the national park, we were disappointed yet again. The rainwater filled up the gorge, flooding the access road. So basically, goodbye platypus... Wherever you are...

We ended up back to Mackay city centre, walked along the Bluewater Trail, and had a bit of a splash at the Bluewater Lagoon.

This lifted our spirit because it is a great little water park, with slides and lifeguards... And it's free!

At noon, we had our lunch at Caneland's food court and something worst happened. Hasben left his Swatch watch, bought in Switzerland on our honeymoon, in the public toilet. When he came back for it, it was no longer there! Why he took it off in the first place was heatedly discussed and debated... Truly a memorable way to end the vacation.

Before going to the airport, we stopped by this little mosque for Zohor prayers.

To avoid any further mishap, we reached the airport nearly 4 hours early! And was the first to board the plane... What a punctual family (@_^)y

Sounds like a depressing trip but I did not regret any of it. Some holiday are fun and some are challenging, more or less like our marriage. We just have to make the best out of it and appreciate every single memory. Happy 4th year anniversary Hasben. We will find a replacement for the watch sooner or later, insyaAllah ;0)
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