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The Pioneer Valley 

A wonderland of waterfalls, lush flora and volcanic boulder formations contrast against a tapestry of sugar cane fields as you head through the Pioneer Valley into Eungella National Park. Getting to your destination is an adventure in itself. The Pioneer Valley is the gateway to Eungella, and encompasses many rural townships, where warm hospitality and delicious food can be enjoyed.

Marian is home to the region’s largest sugar mill, which operates constantly during cane crushing season, from June through to November. Call into historic Melba House, a historic house and visitor information centre situated on the banks of the Pioneer River. The house was built in 1882 as the marital home of the famous Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. Set amongst newly landscaped gardens, with picnic areas and walkways nearby, take a look at memorabilia celebrating the Dame’s impressive career, as well as a unique range of locally handcrafted gifts and souvenirs.


As you make you way toward the townships of Eungella and Finch Hatton, you will come across Pinnacle, where you can experience coffee in what was an old church, amongst the canefields. A trip to nearby Finch Hatton Gorge is both a leap toward adventure and an escape to sublime serenity.


 Swim in a clear rock pool as water cascades over and around large boulders upstream, sheltered by the cooling canopy of the rainforest. Swimming holes are plentiful so you are bound to find one to enjoy all on your own. Walk the well-formed tracks to the Araulen Cascades and Wheel of Fire Waterfall, and spend time watching the unique selection of native birds and butterflies as they flutter above. 


 Shhh, platypus! Many visitors head to the mist-shrouded mountains of Eungella National Park with one thing in mind—the chance to see the unique and intriguing platypus in its natural environment. Enjoy the calm and stillness at Broken River around dawn or dusk as you wait with bated breath for a glimpse. The platypus is just one of the many kinds of wildlife for which this national park is famous. Extensive walking tracks allow you to explore both subtropical and tropical rainforest, and magnificently-rugged gorges. Enjoy a bush picnic under a red gum or huge swamp mahogany, or be surprised by the diverse wildlife during spotlighting at night. Look out for brushtail possums, gliders and tawny frogmouths and listen for the secretive Eungella tinkerfrogs, which are found only here.

Location and getting there 

 80km north-west of Mackay. Access from Mackay is via Marian on the Mackay-Eungella Road. Broken River is recognised as the world's best place to see these remarkable animals in the wild.

Useful tips for spotting a platypus: 

The platypus is most active around sunrise & sunset. They are shy creatures, so stay as quiet as possible so you don't scare them. Watch for a trail of bubbles which is a sign of the platypus searching for food; follow the trail of bubbles for an indication of where the platypus will surface.


Scuba Diving with Platypus