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Melba House

Marian, Mackay Area

Her soft brown eyes captured the hearts of men, her voice cast a magic spell on audiences in London, Paris and many other cities in Europe as well as the United States of America, the legendary diva Dame Nellie Melba.

Few know that the acclaimed opera singer spent the first year of her married life in a small house right here in the heart of the Pioneer Valley, in Marian.

And the house where the diva with the golden voice lived, is now open to the public for free. It shows a beautiful array of photos, recordings, memorabilia, books and furniture of her time. All this has been lovingly reconstructed by members and supporters of the Pioneer Valley Tourism and Development Association.

The 132 year old house was rescued from demolition by the Mirani Shire Council who restored the run down building and transported it from Marian Mill to a more prominent riverbank setting along the main Eungella Road in Edward Lloyd Park two kilometres from the heart of Marian.

The house boasts an arts and craft shop featuring an extensive array of locally handmade gifts and souvenirs and is the home to the Pioneer Valley Visitor Information Centre.

Open Times

Note: Open Daily from 0900 to 1500. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Facilities

  • BBQ Facilities
  • Car park
  • Child Activities

Other Information

Accessibility:

Wheelchair access is available and assistance can be provided with access. Disabled parking and toilets available.

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The Pioneer Valley

Eungella, Mackay Area
Free Entry
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 and Eungella National Park. Apart from being one of the richest sugar cane growing areas in Australia, this valley is by far one of the most picturesque in Australia, encompassing many rural townships where warm hospitality and delicious food can be enjoyed. Small towns to stop in along the way include Marian, Mirani, Pinnacle, Finch Hatton and finally, Eungella. Marian, the gateway to the valley, is home to the region's largest sugar mill. Call into Melba House, a historic house and accredited Visitor Information Centre situated on the banks of the Pioneer River, to discover the marital house of famous Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. A trip to Finch Hatton Gorge is a must-do. Walk the well formed tracks to Araluen Cascades and the Wheel of Fire Waterfalls and swim in clear rock pools as water cascades from above. Also available here is zip lining over rainforest canopy and scuba diving in platypus waters. Explore the Pioneer Valley via self-drive or with a guided tour.

Lamberts Lookout

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Overlooking Lamberts Beach, the Cumberland Islands and Slade Point, Lamberts lookout offers stunning views especially at sunset. This is also a popular viewing platform to see the migrating whales as they breach and play off the coast of Mackay. This beautiful location is also one of the few places in Mackay you can watch both a sunrise and a sunset, and is a popular location for wedding photography. The lookout also provides views toward a rustic old water tower. Easy parking available at the lookout and shady areas, picnic tables, play equipment and barbecues are all available at Ram Chandra Park beside Lamberts Beach. Lamberts Beach, Lamberts Lookout and Ram Chandra Park can all be found on Pacific Esplanade, Slade Point.

Far Beach

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Far Beach is a popular walking beach with locals, recognised for its tranquillity and soft white sand. At low tide an expansive sand flat is exposed giving walkers kilometres of beach to meander. The beach provides expansive views, from Hay Point to the south and toward Flat and Round Top Islands. Nearby resorts provide options for accommodation and dining. Far Beach is one of the nearest beaches to the Mackay City Centre, only a five minute drive away. A recreational area, Quota Park, fringes part of the beach at Binnington Esplanade and includes a playground, fitness equipment, picnic tables, barbecues and public toilets. There is also a beautiful flower garden located there, popular for being home to many butterflies. Northern Far Beach between Evans Street and Bridge Road is a designated off-leash dog friendly area. The southern end of Far Beach is accessible through sand dunes via four wheel drive, and it a popular location for fisherman at the Shellgrit Creek mouth.

Gooseponds, North Mackay

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
The Gooseponds in North Mackay are a combination of popular walking tracks around a large central wetland lagoon, an initiative of Mackay Regional Council's 10,000 steps program. There are also a number of exercise stations along the walk giving fitness fanatics a varied workout. The ponds are home to a variety of bird life, including geese, ducks and pelicans. As a designated off leash area there is plenty of open space for your pet to play. The walk also passes the popular Goosepond dog park, giving dog owners a variety of options for entertaining their pooch. The Gooseponds Walk pathway in North Mackay starts behind Wheeler Drive, Glenella and stretches through to Evans Avenue. The walking trail passes under the Bruce Highway, offering a safe crossing option, and includes multiple access points and a few large loops along the way, totalling close to 8 kilometres of shared pathway. For shorter walk options, begin your walk from Walter's Parade, from the 'Goose Walk' turnoff on Malcomson Street.

Shoal Point

Shoal Point, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Shoal Point is the northern-most community of the Northern Beaches group, with a visually spectacular coastal beach. At low tide, the beach can almost be mistaken as a small sweeping desert. The sand stretches for hundreds of metres, allowing a close-up view of Green Reef Island. Watch as thousands of tiny blue Soldier Crabs scuttle along the mud flats, burying themselves into the sand. The 'lone tree' found toward the northern end of the beach is one of Mackay's most 'instagrammable' images. Take a blanket, choose a spot to dig your toes into the sand and watch a sublime sunset. Boats can be launched straight off the beach. An esplanade park provides shade, picnic tables, a playground and barbecues as well as picturesque views of the beach.

Illawong Beach

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
A serene and peaceful coastline awaits at Illawong Beach. Kilometres of sandy shoreline as well as off and on dog leash areas make Illawong Beach a popular choice for sunrise strolls. At low tide, the ripples in the sand stretch for kilometres, where small blue soldier crabs can be seen scuttling across the surface. Avid fishermen cast from the beach or into the mangrove-lined creeks, a popular local fishing spot. Windsurfers can often be seen at this beach, with the view of nearby islands and the Hay Point Coal Terminal in the distance. Illawong Beach is home to Quota Park, with public facilities including toilets, barbecues, picnic tables and a playground. There is also public fitness equipment at Quota Park for those looking for variety to their workout. A colourful flower garden at Quota Park is often home to many colourful butterflies. A nearby oceanside resort offers accommodation and dining options.

Marian

Marian, Mackay Area
Marian is the gateway to the Pioneer Valley and is situated approximately 30 kilometres west of Mackay. This riverside town is home to the region's largest sugar mill; all sugar cane grown in the Valley is now crushed at this mill. The crushing season extends from mid June to November each year. Melba House is the Pioneer Valley's Visitor Information Centre and also the house in which famous Australian opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba, lived during her time in the area. It is an excellent spot to stop off for local information, check out craft by talented locals and buy local produce from roadside stalls. Marian is serviced by a hotel, convenience and takeaway stores, bowls club and a service station, as well as the new Marian Town Centre shopping precinct, with a supermarket and hardware store as well as a variety of other retail, food and medical services.

Walkerston

Walkerston, Mackay Area
Walkerston is situated approximately 10 kilometres west of Mackay on the Peak Downs Highway, a small country town with an array of facilities and services, including a supermarket, bakery and pub. A key attraction in the area is the Historic Greenmount Homestead. The Greenmount site was first settled in 1862 by Captain John Mackay and the homestead was later built in 1912 by the pioneering Cook family. This home is now a beautifully preserved museum that serves as gateway to the region's past, with traditional Queensland Architecture, original furniture, fittings and ornaments, and the original owner's house maid - Gloria Arrow. Tours around this grand home are open to the public. Walkerston is also home to a number of sporting teams, including rugby league, cricket, cycling and BMX. A competitive BMX track and outdoor cycling velodrome can be found side by side on Lorne Road at McLennan Park.

The Kommo Toera Trail

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
This magnificent walking track allows you to meander under the shade of towering Melaleuca trees to observe a distinctly unique wetland ecosystem. To access the walk, drive 15 minutes north of central Mackay toward the Mackay Marina along Harbour Road. Turn left on Slade Point Road and then left onto Keeleys Road. Also known as paper bark trees, the Melaleuca forest is home to a diverse range of wildlife and plant habitats. The trail is one kilometre long, and takes approximately 50 minutes to complete. Keep an eye out for the tree-top storm debris which embedded itself amongst the tree tops during a wind storm. The debris has been up there for more than 20 years, surviving many wet season cyclones. As it is an active eco-system, watch your footing as snake sightings are common in this area. If you do encounter a snake on the trail, remain still and allow it to pass. Insect repellent is extremely advisable as this area has a very prominent mosquito population. There are no fresh water stations or toilets along this walk. The nearest public facilities can be found further along Keeleys Road at the Andergrove Shopping Centre.

Bakers Creek

Bakers Creek, Mackay Area
Bakers Creek is a small town, seven kilometres south of Mackay. The creek itself is home to some of Mackay's best fishing opportunities, however anglers are advised to stay aware as the creek is also home to wild crocodiles. Nearby industry includes sugar cane farming, fruit and vegetable crops as well as a large abattoir, home to some of the best T-bone steaks in Queensland. A memorial visible from the Bruce Highway with an aeroplane propeller and bronze replica of a B-17C Flying Fortress pays tribute to 40 members of the United States Air Force who lost their lives in a tragic air disaster in 1943. It remains Australia's worst air disaster. Enjoy a hearty meal at the local tavern, or take a rest stop at Bakers Creek Park on Ivers Street. .
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