Escape to Mackay
Just a one and a half hour flight from Brisbane, Mackay is the perfect escape for a mini-break, with its mild climate, picture perfect scenery and many attractions for all ages.
Not just a pretty place, Mackay has also emerged as a northern Queensland hub of foodie culture with its outstanding fresh local produce and abundance of unique culinary experiences to be had.
So why not take time out to explore this stunning region that is within such easy reach of Brisbane? Here are the 'must do' places to visit and things to do on any Mackay visitor’s list:
Explore the art deco heart of Mackay city with a self-guided heritage walk of around 90 minutes, starting at the Visitor Information Centre. There is plenty for art lovers to take in too with more than 100 permanent artworks on display throughout the city centre and the Bluewater Trail. Be sure to stop in to Artspace Mackay, where you’ll see the latest artworks from local, national and international artists.
Pay a visit to heritage-listed Greenmount Homestead where there’s an historical collection of more than 20,000 items dating back to the early 20th century.
Go for a stroll through the Botanic Gardens with its unique Coal Garden and check out the South Sea Islander Hut for a fascinating insight into the region’s large South Sea Islander population who are descendants of slave labourers that were brought in to work the sugarcane farms in the late 19th century.
Not to be missed is a trip to Cape Hillsborough Beach (also known as Casuarina Beach) at sunrise when you can watch Australian native animals grazing by the shore.
Take in the breathtakingly beautiful unspoilt nature of the Mackay region via one of the stunning bushwalking trails through lush green rainforests and national parks on the coastline or enjoy a guided tour through Eungella National Park.
Cool off at local beauty spots featuring rock pools and cascading waterfalls, such as the Araluen Cascades and the Wheel of Fire.
Take an award-winning tour of the Sarina Sugar Shed, a miniature sugar mill and distillery where you can learn how sugarcane is grown, harvested made into delicious liqueurs, rums, sauces and fairy floss – all of which you can sample!
Lunch with million-dollar views at two of the most picturesque pubs in Australia – the Eimeo Pacific Hotel with its coastal vibes and views of the Coral Sea or, high up in the rainforest looking across the Pioneer Valley at the Eungella Chalet.
Sample fresh, local produce direct from farmers in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday regions at The Greater Whitsunday Farmers’ Market, held every Wednesday at Bluewater Quay.
Kids will love Bluewater Lagoon & Pancake Bliss, a free family-friendly swimming complex complete with a three-tier lagoon pool, water slides and an onsite pancake café.
Enjoy a family picnic at one of Mackay’s picturesque parks, with mouth-watering gourmet food platters supplied by Plattered Up.
Relax and unwind with a cold beer or great steak at Mackay region’s historic country pubs. Two of the richest in history and character are the 1886 built, heritage listed Nebo Hotel and the Austral Hotel, which was destroyed in the Great Cyclone of 1918 and rebuilt in 1923.
Indulge in the best of local produce and cuisine at some of Mackay’s fantastic eateries, cafes, breweries and hotels:
The Dispensary – Renowned for its creative degustation menu and 5000+ bottle wine cellar.
Platypus Lodge Restaurant – Must try is the ‘Yodel Burger’ , accompanied by a real Austrian yodel, in an al fresco rainforest setting
Church Café Pinnacle – Serving traditional Italian cuisine in a gorgeous converted hundred year old church.
9th Lane Grind – Food is so beautifully plated it’s like a work of art at this local art deco institution.
The Old Station Teahouse - The 115-year-old ex-railway station serves Devonshire tea, homemade cakes, high tea and light lunch and, by night, a gustatory experience under the stars
Breakwater Bar & Restaurant - Delicious food and amazing drinks at this newcomer on the award-winning Marina
Pinnacle Family Hotel - Try a massive world-famous Pinnacle Pie, with views of the sugarcane fields
Goanna Brewing - Mackay’s very own microbrewery produces craft beer, cider, ale or ginger beer
Kool Temptations – On the Marina, Kool Temptations is a source of weird and wonderful treats to try
Twenty50 Nice Cream & Espresso Bar – Serves an extensive range of dairy-free, plant-based & allergen friendly desserts and top coffee.