Spending a few days at Charles’ parents in Mackay, Queensland gave me a bit of a glimpse of how much the Aussies love the outdoors. Looking at the family’s photo albums revealed countless camping expeditions, bushwalks, treks and road trips which seemed to be a favorite pastime. Often times they spend their family gathering with a good barbecue outside, beach excursions and swimming in creeks and rivers in the many national parks. I got to experience this outdoor life on my second day when I joined Charles and his relatives in the small town of Calen where Charles’ sister lives.
OTHER BIRDS FOUND IN THEIR BACKYARD
Alison and her husband David live in a nice block of land near Eungella National Park. They have a large, wide lawn carpeted with green grass (natural, not planted), thick forest covering their backyard and a stream flowing from the nearby national park. Who needs a pool if you have a rainforest in your backyard with crystal-clear spring water flowing all year-round? We had a sumptuous lunch outside courtesy of David, complete with wine, beer, fresh juice from fruits picked from their yard and a chocolate macadamia dessert brought by their neighbors. It’s the middle of winter here but the weather was just perfect and not as cold as Sydney. The best part of the day was a short walk to the river in their backyard and then later to a bigger waterhole at the base of Eungella National Park where I got to see many wild wallabies along the way. Too bad it was too cold for me to swim but that didn’t stop them (even little Lilly) from trying the very inviting water.
Another thing that amazes me about Australia in general is their unique and extensive flora and fauna which are well-protected. I had seen a lot of colorful and beautiful birds while walking around the parks in Sydney like Cockatoos, Lorikeets, Seagulls and many more so it didn’t surprise me to see more new species that weren’t familiar to me in the countryside around Mackay. The kookaburras perched in front of our veranda were such a delight every morning as well as the purple swamp hens, the ducks and geese as they do their morning walk along the village’s houses hoping to get fed. Even their species of ducks and geese look a bit different from the ones I’ve seen in the Philippines (at least here in Queensland).
Bird watching and fishing are just two of the favorite pastimes here – you don’t have to go far to see different species of birds or be an expert at fishing to catch one. Mackay in particular has a thriving community of people who love fishing. It’s not only the old ones who indulge in it but kids as well. They even post pictures of their biggest catch in the local newspaper.
We haven’t really started our road trip and exploration of Queensland yet, but what I have seen and experienced so far has just made me even more excited. This is probably our last day in Mackay for now before taking off for a month long road trip in a camper van, camping and trekking in national parks, checking out some wild white-sand beaches, experiencing the outback, snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef and getting up close and personal with the wild-life. Let the adventure begin.