The drive north from Rockhampton is very pretty however we weren’t planning on visiting Mackay this trip and so basically we bypassed it and free camped overnight at The Leap Hotel just north west of Mackay. It is a very green grassy site with a beautiful leafy backdrop and a magnificent view of the little mountain upon which the legend of The Leap is based. (Legend is repeated below)
The Leap was found via Wiki Camps as it is not in the Camps Australia Wide 8 book. The hotel offers a all night toilet (it’s the men’s toilet during pub hours) and a shower for a small price but only during pub hours as it is locked up within the pub itself. It is appreciated that you buy a beer or dinner at the pub in exchange for a free night. The chips we bought to accompany our steaks were wonderful. They have tried to specify specific camping areas. ie camping & wiz bangers further from the pub and motorhomes and caravans closer. I think it has more to do with the soil under the grass. It does look rather soft and wet weather might be a concern for getting bogged. We are being constantly reminded that we are now in the wet tropics as we travel further north.
The Legend of The Leap
In 1867 settlers had had enough of local Aborigines spearing their cattle for food. One raid in particular caused so much consternation among the farmers that matters came to a head and police got involved. The troopers tracked the natives to the top of the mountain that looms behind the hotel today. From high up near the clouds, a tribeswoman named Kowaha reportedly hurled herself from the sheer cliff face, rather than surrender to authorities. With her baby in her embrace, she leapt from Mt Mandarana and fell to her death far, far below.
Surprisingly, the baby girl survived her and was taken into care by the wife of a trooper. The Leap Baby, as she came to be known, remained in the district until her death in 1928.
Since that fateful day of confrontation the area has become known simply as ‘The Leap’, a place where visitors come to learn of and ponder about the mysteries surrounding events in Mackay’s heart-rending past.