Finding Finch Hatten

Finch Hatten is our next stop after leaving Yeppoon. It’s a long drive, over five hours, through fields of sugar cane countryside, about 60kms west of Mackay in Queensland. Our plans are to stay at the Finch Hatten Showgrounds, recommended by friends as “the best Showgrounds ever.”

However on arriving we’re met by empty grounds and not a soul, let alone a caravan, in sight. We track down a groundsman who informs us the show grounds were shut down a month ago. After more than twenty years of offering camping they were deemed as “illegally operating”.

No one seems to have any real answers or explanations. It’s hoped they’ll reopen but it doesn’t help us. Fortunately we’ve found an alternate spot to camp and it’s not far away.

Neem Hall

Neem Hall is barely five minutes down the road. Coincidentally, or not, I’d just read a review online about this place. Perhaps we were meant to stay here. It’s set right on Cattle Creek, a beautiful flowing and pristine waterway. Sites are flat and grassy, there’s clean amenities, toilets and hot showers in a rustic station like environment, a cute outdoor kitchen, fireplaces, power and water for just $25 night.

There’s plenty of unpowered sites away from the river, with views of the mountains but we score a prime powered site, tucked into a secluded corner with direct river access.

Julie the owner is very friendly as is her dog Zelda who greets us even before she does. Zelda is a born retriever, a pooch who loves nothing more than retrieving rocks from the river. Chooks roam freely and Julie greets us with fresh eggs. She tells us to help ourselves to the limes on the fruit trees. It’s all very peaceful and zen.

We strike up conversations with our neighbours Wayne and Marilyn; a couple who’ve just set off on a six month adventure around Oz. We also meet two lovely girls from Norway, after one comes across to warn of a snake she sees near the amenities. Coincidentally, like my daughter, her name is Tash.

Finch Hatten Gorge

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” Henry David Thoreau

Virtually on our doorstep is the highlight of this area, the Finch Hatten Gorge, with a few creek crossings to drive through before reaching the National Park. We pack a picnic and have our bathers on underneath, well prepared for this rainforest walk which leads to two waterfalls and pristine rock pools.

It’s not a difficult walk however along the way we encounter a rocky river crossing, impassable in the wet season and tricky even in the dry. It’s the most challenging part and there’s nothing dainty about my crossing.

I end up taking off my shoes and walking through the water so I don’t slip and soak my runners. On the way back that’s exactly what happens to Doug as he jumps onto one rock and slips. Ouch.

We reach the Araluen Cascades before continuing and reaching the Wheel of Fire cascades. The colour of the water takes my breath away, as does the temperature when I hop in. It’s mighty cold. Such a stunning oasis. We’re lucky to have it all to ourselves for nearly an hour.

Mother Nature has me in awe.

It doesn’t matter that the sky is mostly grey and that it starts to rain while we’re in the water. It’s Queensland after all: hot, humid, tropical Queensland. So surreal, so changeable and so very beautiful.

Eungella National Park

The next day we explore slightly further afield.

The road to Eungella is steep and windy and I’m glad we’re not towing the van. On reaching the top at Eungella we stop off at The Chalet for a drink and a bite to eat. The views across the valley are spectacular and far surpass the rather average coffee. We continue on to Broken River where the locals are a bit wild.

Broken River is one of the most reliable places to see platypus in the wild in Australia. These shy elusive creatures are hard to spot during the day, preferring to come out early morning or late afternoon, so we’re thrilled to spot, not just one, but a few of them in the water.

It’s the middle of the day and though my photos are zoomed we’re mesmerised. Eventually we walk back to the car, thrilled with our sightings. We almost miss this fierce looking goanna scurrying up a tree. Goannas have been known to clamber up tall tree like looking humans too so it’s a good thing I’m short lol.

After a bit more exploring and some rugged four wheel driving to The Diggings, another riverside bush camp, we head back to our campsite at Neem Hall.

We so love it here that our three days nearly turn into four but we’re heading to Bowen so we reluctantly say our goodbyes. Finding Finch Hatten was very special.

Wherever you are in the world may you always look up, always find the beauty in your surroundings and may you stay in love with the journey. Follow joy and it will inevitably find you.

Doug making friends with Zelda the “rock retriever” just down from our caravan parked at Neem Hall
The journey continues through sugar cane countryside

53 thoughts on “Finding Finch Hatten

  1. simply amazing Miriam! How gorgeous is our country! But a platypus and a goanna … I’ve seen plenty in the wild but not been quick enough to click them 🙂 I’m loving the journey with you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kate. And yes, our country is pretty remarkable isn’t it. Doesn’t matter where we go, there’s always something special to experience. Love having you here too! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for visiting Andrea and for your kind words of appreciation. I love it when you stop by. Big hugs and love to you my friend. And yes, here’s to looking up! ❤️💙


  2. Your photos are breathtaking, Miriam. At times I asked myself is this planet Earth I’m looking at? What a Blessing in disguise going to Finch Hatten! Really!!! You landed in a place I consider paradise! All things really do work out for the best. We only have to believe they do. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible post. Always when I come here you give me manna to dream upon. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Amy, it’s so true, things always work out in the end don’t they. Trusting, surrendering and believing in the flow, it’s what I’m doing more and more these days. Thank you for your beautiful words my friend. So happy you enjoyed this. Sending lots of love and big hugs. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry the original camp site was closed, but it seems as if you certainly found a great alternative! I’m not sure I could have torn myself away after just a couple of days, it’s so pretty. And how cool to see wild platypuses (is that the plural?)! What a wonderful adventure you’re having!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ann, yes our three nights at Finch Hatten were fantastic but you’re right, we could quite easily have stayed longer. But we had a house sit organised so needed to move on. Thanks for following our adventures, life is certainly not dull!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Isn’t it a gorgeous area. We didn’t get to the Wheel of Fire Cascades as the creek was way too deep and running very fast. It just wasn’t safe to attempt a crossing. And isn’t it exciting to see the platypus at Broken River. We’ve been three times and always seen at least one. Enjoy your stay at Bowen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Carol. Yes, we were thrilled to see the platypuses, could have stayed watching for them all day. Loved our walk to the Wheel of Fire cascades and I can well imagine that with the creek flowing so fast it would have been risky for you to cross. Great excuse to go back!


  5. Absolutely Loved your visit to Finch Hatten Miriam…. And you know what they say.. There are no mistakes.. 🙂 I rolled my eyes when you said the Show Grounds had been closed after 20 years!!!. And the reasons….. Hummmm… At least you were guided to a great alternative resting place. And you met and had some wonderful neighbours and Hosts in the bargain..
    Loved all your photos.. I hope your Hubby didn’t injure himself too much when he slipped on the creek bed rocks… Falling any time can be a big ouch!..
    Loved the wildlife you encounter and oh those views and to bathe in such pure water, I know must have been very invigorating, while cleansing of the aura , what a joy that must have been..

    Nature is in abundance and often right on our doorstep… We have the lovely Sherwood Forests, 15 minutes from us.. Yet we often go future afield seeking that which is right beside us all the time…
    A Lesson on seeing what is right before us.. And what is within… 🙂
    You are indeed both of you Following your JOY Miriam..

    I so loved this Quote :…“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”– Henry David Thoreau….
    The Woodland and Trees will do that every time as their magical energy uplifts us..
    Wonderful Journeying with you dear Miriam….
    Sending you so, so much LOVE and hugs my friend… ❤ 💚✨💛🙏✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sue,
      I drew a heavy contented sigh on reading your words because you took me right back to Finch Hatten. Love that you enjoyed my post, my pictures and my memories, even though it was only last week. You’re right, nature is all around us, right in front of us, it’s why I so enjoy wherever we are. Your Sherwood Forest sounds delightful, all those woodlands and trees have such power and energy. Enjoy your backyard my friend. And thank you again for walking with me and sharing in my journey. Oh, and hubby is fine, thank you. Sending you big hugs and much love back my friend. Here’s to both of us following our joy. xx 💚❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Whenever you post something, I’m blown away by the beauty and the little furry and scaly creatures you meet. You, my friend, are living your best life!! I’m so happy for you. Now let’s talk snakes… what’s the deal? Are they just like, everywhere, or do you rarely see them? 😬 And where do I need to worry about spiders the size of frying pans? 😩 Do I need to carry snake spray or spider repellant? I can’t wait to see all of the beauty for myself; I know it will change my life! Happy travels, Miriam! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment has me smiling big time. Snakes, well firstly, they’re not exactly my favourite creature however they’re a bit like kangaroos, well not really lol but let me explain. Years ago (and perhaps even still now) when people thought of Australia they’d think of kangaroos everywhere, hopping down our main roads They don’t, they’re in a lot of places but mostly they go about their business and don’t bother us. Snakes are kinda the same, except I don’t think they’re quite as prevalent. We’ve hardly seen any in our travels, in fact we’ve been all around Australia and have been lucky to have seen five! So no, you don’t need to carry snake spray or spider repellant! Just a healthy dose of adventure. You will LOVE it over here Tanya. And one day we’ll share that drink under the stars. I can’t wait! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, so lovely to read about your Finch Hatton experience. I’m Julie’s next door neighbor and can attest to her dedication to Neem Hall and all her guests. Have you heard about the Qld government’s plans to build a massive pumped hydro scheme here? They will create 2 reservoirs up at Eungella which will destroy the platypus habitat. They’ll create a 3rd lower reservoir in the valley which will have dire consequences on the water flow of Finch Hatton Gorge and Cattle Creek. People who live here are devastated to contemplate losing so much of our pristine environment. We are rallying as a community but a problem we have is there are so few of us and getting wider support is difficult. We have formed a group and are trying to gather support to fight against it but it is rather like a David and Goliath battle. Would you sign our petition to fight this proposal? Put word out to your followers to support our fight so our beautiful area can be preserved and enjoyed by many more travelers?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Susann, thank you so much for reading and replying to my post. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard about the governments plans for the hydro scheme. Is this a real possibility, it would be devastating to see the loss of this pristine environment. As an avid nature lover I can absolutely understand your concerns so, yes, I’m happy to sign your petition and to get behind your cause.


    2. You need to get that petition out on FB and social media. Judging from the response to my post on FB many people love the area and would be behind your community in trying to preserve it.


  8. So glad you visited that beautiful valley. Shame about the Showgrounds, but at least you found another top spot. Lucky you seeing platypus, we still haven’t seen them or camels in the wild. Safe travels and enjoy the fruit stalls!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks L. Such a brilliant spot and yes, loved seeing those platypus. Don’t think I’ve seen any camels lately though! Ahh the fruit, shame the summer fruit season is coming to an end.


  9. It is a treat to read about your adventures, Miriam… it gets my mind dreaming and heart beating to wonder what is out there for me 🙂 There is something about immersing yourself in nature like the cold river you explored and swam in: shockingly cold enough to take your breath away, which is a perfect reminder of how important it is to take such a plunge in life. You live a very inspirational life… and I’ve RV’ed before, and when I read “a prime powered site, tucked into a secluded corner with direct river access…” I knew this was going to be a good adventure for you both 🙂 Cheers, and wishing you continued joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Randall, reading your wonderfully descriptive comment took me back to the river! There’s no doubt we’ve taken some big plunges in changing our lifestyle these past couple of years and for that I have absolutely no regrets. Keep dreaming my friend, there’s a whole big world out there to enjoy.


  10. What a beautiful area you are sharing with us, natural habitat at its best and the powers that be want to modernize it! We must hold it’s beauty on high and the vision of no interference! I suppose we can do this with all areas of the world where nature is being ruined!

    I’m surprised you don’t have any water shoes for walking through slippy water! They sell some lovely ones these days!

    Enjoy your Queensland travel and keep smiling❤️🌈💃🕺 much love x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Barbara, yes such a lovely pristine area and hopefully it will stay that way. I’ve actually written an article for the next On the Road magazine highlighting this area, all awareness is good hey.
      As for water shoes, we both have a pair, unfortunately they didn’t get packed lol, should really buy another pair considering how often we’re in the water. 😊 So happy to have you walking along with me my friend. Sending much love and hugs your way. ❤️ xx

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi again
    I’m loving reading the responses to your original story about your visit to Finch Hatton and Eungella. Our battle to prevent the Pioneer Burdekin Pumped Hydro Scheme continues. We’ve also just learned of a second Pumped Hydro scheme up here alongside wind and solar farms abutting Eungella Dam. We hold grave fears for our beautiful lush environment and the plants and animals living here. If any of your readers want to join our fight and keep up with what’s happening they can join the Face Book group NO Hydro Save Netherdale/Eungella/MtDalrymple. We are a small community and value any outside support we can get. Kind regards, Sue

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the update Sue. I’ve since written a follow up article on this area and incorporating your fight, though it won’t be published till Sept. I’ve also just found and joined your FB group. Best wishes.


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