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Andergrove Van Park, Mackay, Qld
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Andergrove Van Park, Mackay, Qld

Ever Better Enjoy wildlife and excellent facilities at the expanding Andergrove Van Park in Mackay, Qld.

Andergrove Van Park, located in Mackay, Qld, has won several tourism awards, and is now four-star, making it the highest-rated caravan park in Mackay.

During the last 12 months several improvements have been made to the Top Tourist Park, including landscaping and enlarging the swimming pool grounds, adding new pool furniture, creating more sites, laying concrete slabs at all powered sites and a concrete driveway for visitors’ vehicles, and building more cabins.

Along with the revamp, managers Deb and Rob Dew plan to continue their policy of morning tea get-togethers on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and a sausage sizzle on Sunday evenings with live entertainment during peak season from the end of May to the end of September. These have proven very popular with guests and are great value: only a gold-coin donation is required to participate.

Andergrove Van Park regulars Bruce and Clare Bell, along with Rob Dew helping on vocals, have released a CD of popular songs performed on Sunday evenings. This is available from the park shop.

  Bird feeding takes place every afternoon at 4.45pm; these days a flock of ducks joins the lorikeets.

Deb and Rob have run Andergrove Van Park for nearly three years and now aim to develop more powered sites. Rob told CW in 2006 that he was turning away up to 20 vans a day in the winter season.

The park is conveniently located near the Mount Pleasant shopping centre, the city centre, beaches, and golf and bowls clubs. Its spacious sites cover 21 acres. There are 12 ensuite sites, 75 powered sites and a large grassy area for camping and those visitors who do not require power.

More self-contained cabins were erected in 2006, all in an area separate to caravans, which are separate again to the permanents.

Andergrove Van Park is quiet and has no midges or sand flies. There are on-site car washing facilities, a dump point, ensuites for people with disabilities, a modern and clean amenities block and laundry, and a covered swimming pool.

The games area, which has a TV and pool table, and the camp kitchen with barbecues are popular. Tour bookings can be made at the shop, which also sells groceries, ice, fresh bread, gas refills, papers, your favourite RV magazine, Caravan World, and more.

One new feature is a boat trip to offshore islands. Mackay Island and Reef Cruises has a booking office on-site, and the skipper, at the time of writing, lived at Andergrove Van Park.

The Reef Goddess is a very comfortable cruise vessel and accommodates 60 people. It is 20m long, cruises at 20 knots, and has twin 1000hp Mercedes-Benz engines. The Reef Goddess boasts male and female toilets, a lounge area, licensed bar, showers, and a dive/snorkelling platform. There is a covered upstairs area as well.

Mackay Island and Reef Cruises runs day and half-day cruises to various islands, including Brampton Island, Keswick Island, St Bees Island and Scawfell Island, as well as evening and dinner cruises.

We took a half-day cruise to Keswick Island that departed at 11am and returned at 4.30pm. At the special seasonal price of $49 each, morning and afternoon tea, snorkelling gear and beach equipment was included. Because it was February and in the middle of the stinger season, stinger suits were available for hire for $5. An added bonus with stinger suits is they provide protection from sunburn.
 I had a great time snorkelling around the coral reef, swimming with many different fish species and spotting lots of colourful clams.

After an hour or so it was time to get out, take off the suit and have lunch under shady trees on the beach. There was a table and chairs under shade cloth to protect us from the strong summer sun.

 

Lunch is BYO, although the boat is licensed, so all types of drinks were brought ashore by the crew for sale. These ranged from bottled water and soft drinks to beer and mixed drinks. Some full-day trips do provide lunch.

We spent our last half hour on the beach walking and exploring. There were big black-lip oysters on the rocks, but as we were in a national park we could not take any shells from the beach.

All too soon it was time to return to the Reef Goddess for the almost one-hour trip home.

The guests on board readily agreed it was great value, although in the tourist season prices will be higher.

If you are passing through Mackay, Andergrove Van Park is a great place to stay, and we can also recommend a cruise on the Reef Goddess. Spend a week checking out all the attractions in the area. There are various markets, good beaches, cane fields and tropical rain forests, national parks with platypus viewings at Eungella National Park, and a modern, tropical city centre.

Be sure to also visit the new marina and its many eating places, and the newly constructed walkway along the blue Pioneer River in the city’s heart. Mackay is certainly coming of age.

Andergrove Van Park fast facts

Member Top Tourist Parks, four-star rated Managers Rob and Deb Dew, Beaconsfield Road, Andergrove, Mackay, Qld 4740, Freecall: 1800 424 922, ph: (07) 4942 4922, fax: (07) 4942 3257, web: www.andergrovepark.com.au, email: andvanpk@mackay.net.au

Mackay Reef and Island Cruises, freecall: 1300 760 846, web: www.islandreefcruises.com, email: info@islandreefcruises.com

More information and bookings are available at Andergrove Van Park.

By Tony and Denyse Allsop, as featured in Caravan World, issue 441, May 2007.

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