Boasting one of the most picturesque valleys in Australia, the Mackay region prides itself on its natural surrounds. From the Pioneer Valley and the historic home of famous opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, to Eungella National Park and its platypus population, there’s an experience for everyone in Mackay.
Wander through the city streets with their heritage charm, dine on fresh seafood at world-class restaurants at the port, or head out to Cape Hillsborough and watch the wallabies frolic at dawn and dusk. Just off the coast, you’ll find beautiful Keswick Island and back on the mainland, there’s 30 beaches – one for every day of the month.
With the focus on maintaining its natural surrounds, fishing and boating enthusiasts are spoiled for choice in Mackay, whether it’s fishing off one of the 30 beaches, in pristine rivers, or heading further out towards the islands perched off the coast.
Finch Hatton Gorge and Eungella National Park are two must-see tourism experiences. Eungella National Park is the best place in Australia in which to view a platypus in its natural environment. Continue your nature encounters by watching wallabies bound along the sands at Cape Hillsborough National Park.
Eat & Drink
From a decadent degustation to a quaint coffee in the canfields, Mackay excels with its cuisine. At Sarina Beach, enjoy seaside ribs and beer battered bugs with uninterrupted views of the Coral Sea; feast on a meal in a historical church in the Pioneer Valley, or breakfast with an ocean view.
Slip on your deck shoes and settle in for an afternoon of tapas, cocktails and yacht-envy on the water at the Mackay Marina, or make your way to the Marina Markets on the third Sunday of the month to browse the stalls and help raise funds for the Mackay Animal Rescue Society.
Where to Stay
Mackay can be broken up into six distinct areas: Mackay City & Marina, Northern Beaches, Pioneer Valley & Eungella, Cape Hillsborough & Hibiscus Coast, Sarina & Serenity Coast, and the inland Isaac region.
There's no shortage of places to stay in Mackay city, from the Oaks Rivermarque to multiple Quest hotels, ibis and numerous motor inns. Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park is the place to base your stay if you want to meet furry locals on the beach at sunrise.
Art deco buildings, cute cafes and palm-tree lined streets make up the city heart of Mackay, while nothing is more than a 20-minute drive away. Caneland Central and Mount Pleasant are Mackay's two largest shopping centres, while the main shopping streets are Victoria and Wood.
If you're making your way to Sarina, Moranbah or Clermont, keep an eye out for roadside produce stalls and hidden art and craft shops along the way.
Mackay Like a Local
A tourist route less travelled, The Mining Trail in Mackay's Isaac region follows the passage of coal from mines in the Bowen Basin, to the place of export to overseas customers. The trail spans some 300 kilometres along the Peak Downs Highway between Clermont, Moranbah, Dysart, Nebo, Mackay, Hay Point and Sarina.
This unique self-drive escape from the chaos of city-life will introduce you to wide, beautiful landscapes, historic towns, vibrant mining communities, and impressive man-made works.