Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mackay 23 – 24 July 2013

While Mackay is slightly colder than Rockhampton, it felt warmer because of the proliferation of tropical plants. Like any large town, it is very hard to find a reasonable camping spot, so we looked for a caravan park, which were all expensive and of a poor quality – ah the joys of running a monopoly! We eventually squeezed in between other campers and itinerate miners who all seemed to start their shift at 4:30am! While the older parts of the town are attractive with 'Queenslander' houses and tropical plants, the town has an air of a frontier town. Since we last visited about 7 years ago Mackay has continued its rapid growth (thanks to the coal mining) – it is like Port Kembla on steroids. New housing estates and factory complexes have sprung up amongst the sugar cane fields, as well as an enormous shopping centre (full of the usual bling) on the outskirts of town. Heather has developed an interest in vintage kitchen ware and had a great time exploring all of the op shops.
Peter had a funny experience when he was walking around town taking photos. Usually when we visit country towns, we can find the Commonwealth Bank very easily; it will be an ugly 60's or 70's edifice painted in yellow or black and totally out of character with the rest of the traditional public buildings. However this time he spied a handsome colonial building across the street that had retained its heritage colours and took some photos. He was then approached by a woman from the bank who wanted to know why he was taking photos and said it was illegal to take photos and he had to delete them! Fortunately through his previous work, Peter was aware of the law and told her that no such legislation existed, but you could imagine how many photos would have to be deleted across Australia if it had been true!
While we had a look at the rest of the town and admired the handful of beautiful Art Deco buildings that remain, we found it hard to warm to Mackay. Perhaps it was the frenetic pace of the town – the influx of new miners, the confusion of new roads being built and old roads being blocked off, old buildings being torn down or new soulless apartments being constructed - but it felt like a town hurrying to cash in on the mining boom at the expense of what makes a town liveable.


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