FL31 A Short Stop in Mackay

Rockhampton to Mackay

On May 18th, I took off from Hedlow in the early hours of the morning to fly up the coast to Marian Airfield, just inland from Mackay. I was joined by fellow trike pilot, Steve, from Hedlow Airfield who’d provided me with hangarage for my plane the week before.

As we departed, we flew over the volcanic plugs of the region and they were covered in mist. It was quite a sight to behold! Steve joined me until St. Lawrence where he landed for a break. I continued on flying over the Broadwater wetlands. 

When I arrived overhead Sarina, I was joined by another trike pilot, Colin, who flew with me into Marian Airfield. Marian Airfield is located in the middle of sugarcane fields and picking out the runway from the cane fields was a bit tricky! It was a lot of fun though landing alongside the sugar cane crop. 

You can watch the landing on the livestream replay. Click the link at the bottom of this post. 

Mist over the volcanic plugs on take-off from Hedlow
Flying over Broadwater
Selfie at Marian

After landing, I hung out with another Steve who owns Marian Airfield and had a cuppa and a chat. My new ground crew volunteer, Grant Williams, arrived a couple of hours later with the car and trailer but also with not so good news!

The car was overheating again on inclines and he had to nurse the temperature all the way. Luckily, the Ace Mechanics in Marian up the road were happy to take a look straight away and diagnosed the issue as a blocked heater tap and radiator. 

They got to work that same day and had the car up and running for me the next day! Their workmanship was top notch too. Five star Google review! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My car at the mechanic in Marian

Grant and I were picked up in Marian by our hosts, Ian and Mary, from BirdLife Mackay and took us back to their place where we stayed for three nights. As if the birds in their own backyard wasn’t enough, while staying with them, they took us birding at Blacks Beach Peninsula where I got Hornbill Friarbird as a new lifer!

Ian also showed us where De Moleyns Lagoon is, which turned out to be a total hidden gem of a birding site! We saw 50 species including the much sought after Bar-breasted Honeyeater.

I didn’t have any school visit commitments in Mackay so we had a bit of time to go and explore. On the morning of May 20th, I did a talk for Birdlife Mackay before we went to check out Eungella National Park and look for Eungella Honeyeaters. No luck with the Eungella HE but Grant did get to see lots of Wompoo Fruit-doves and we also saw platypuses swimming at Broken River. Such a magical place!

View from the lookout at Eungella National Park
Me and Grant at the lookout
Chelmans Road track at Eungella National Park

It was just a short stop of three days in Mackay so that’s it from me! If you missed the livestream of flight leg 31 from Rockhampton (Hedlow) to Mackay (Marian) QLD, you can watch the replay on YouTube here or by clicking one of the links below.

Milly Formby
Milly Formby is a zoologist, pilot, and illustrator of the children’s book, A Shorebird Flying Adventure She is currently flying her microlight around Australia in 2022/23 to share,A Shorebird Flying Adventure with primary students.
Image credits:
Book cover for A Shorebird Flying Adventure

A Shorebird Flying Adventure

Available Now

Join Milly on her microlight and discover how amazing and awesome migratory shorebirds are!

Milly Formby is a zoologist and illustrator of the children’s book A Shorebird Flying Adventure. Available now through CSIRO Publishing.

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