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Friday, September 29, 2023

Things To Do in Mackay

Mackay City is a befitted jewel on the canvas of Queensland, Australia. Apart from being the sugar capital, there are so many things to do in Mackay. The city is famous for its pristine nature, blending lush green rainforests and mile-running stretches of blue waters.

The heart of the city is ornamented with historic architecture and the richness and beauty of multiple national parks to explore. All of these overflowing attributes make Mackay a complete package of wonderful vacay.

1. Exciting Things to Do in Mackay

This thriving, vibrant city hosts its visitors with exciting and fulfilling things to do in Mackay, and listed below are a few of them to save you time.

1.1. Check Out the Theme Gardens at Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens

With more than 140 botanic gardens in Australia, the herbarium here features a collection of several different plants and hence is called the scientific heart of the Botanic Gardens.

The journey to Botanic Gardens starts with the Lagoons gallery, which features a display of art exhibitions and environmental and cultural themes. This unique garden allows its visitors to indulge in the activities here by learning while they stroll through the lush green plantations and planting.

You can also be a spectator to the art of local individuals or groups in this lagoon garden cum gallery setting. The cafe here allows visitors to enjoy the garden theme’s unique setting while reliving their lunch and snacks.

Fascinating attractions of Mackay Regional Botanic Park include the Lagoons outlook deck, monsoon waterway, Malta garden, Eulanere boardwalk, Cremorne visitor center, and tropical shade garden.

1.2. Strike Mackay’s Alluring & Artistic Waterfront

Mackay’s waterfront is nothing less than a prime location on the land of Mackay. Adjacent to the beautiful ocean waters as well as the Pioneer River and Queens Park, the waterfront is nothing less than a gem to explore when in Mackay.

Some of the fascinating locations to stop by at Mackay Waterfront include the following places listed below:

1.2.1. Art Walk Trail

This self-guided and interactive walk captivates one with its unique approach while restoring the culture and history of the city. Each of the artwork exhibits comes along with images and descriptions that guide you after you finish interpreting it with your caliber.

Enjoy your stroll gawking at the artwork and learning about the city. You might as well take a stop to take a quick sip of your favorite beverage or relish over a quick lunch.

With over 20 artworks, the pieces will truly have your mind blown by the unique sculpted form and thoughtfulness behind their making. Visiting this destination is one of the must things to do in Mackay if you are an art lover.

1.2.2. Fifth lane

Come visit this canvas set up by artists who have decorated this low-key Laneway area of Mackay into a flashy, vibrant creative hub that showcases the talent of locals who collaborated with visiting artists.

The transformation is worth visiting in person, and I am stunned by the series of murals, paste-ups, community art, and digital art. These artworks will either get you excited or peaceful and are one of the most popular places to visit Mackay.

1.2.3. Bluewater Quay

Among all other relaxing and communal spaces in the city of Mackay, the Bluewater Quay is one of the must-visit. Built around the historic Leichhardt tree, this riverfront facility sits overlooking the Pioneer River.

With its provision of amenities like a play area for children, viewing and fishing platform, entertainment stage, picnic, and barbeque areas, Bluewater Quay is famous amongst visitors as well as tourists.

You can enjoy eating alongside the Pioneer River. Significantly the Bluewater Quay is an important spot for the downtown area to host communal events, making it a perfect place to catch up with people or to spend a day out.

1.3. Visit Eungella National Park, Aka Queensland’s Refuge

Eungella National Park sits on the Clarke range wrapped in a cape of forest and flaunts to be an ecologically diverse park inclusive of rainforests, seasonal creeks, and open woodland. Visiting this protected area in Queensland, located a few hours’ drive from Mackay at the end of Pioneer Valley, is a must amongst all your other things to do in Mackay.

Exploring this diverse park, walking through the forests, traversing the trails, or catching glimpses of scenic Mackay Highlands and Eungella while driving, and catching surreal views of rainforests and open woodland all in a single location.

Mountain biking for that adrenaline fulfillment, camping in tranquil locations like the adjacent places on Broken River, or delighting in using the picnic areas here like Sky Window, and Finch Hatton Gorge, the park has it all.

Apart from all these provisions made for human benefit, one should act responsibly as the Eungella national park is thriving with wildlife like platypi which one can spot from the viewing platform at Broken River, along with other creatures like eels and turtles. The park is also home to rare and endangered species of frogs.

With the stunning beauty of green foliage, amazing things to do, and thriving wildlife, the Eungella National Park is one of the best places to be on your list of things to do in Mackay.

1.4. Experience the Grandeur of the Magnificent Great Barrier Reef

Just a stone’s throw away from Mackay lies one of the natural wonders that will leave you awestruck when you witness its majestic nature snorkelling in the blue waters.

Things To Do in Mackay
Photo by Giorgia Doglioni on Unsplash

Taking a snorkel tour from Mackay to explore the fragile and beautiful coral reef is a must on your list of things to do in Mackay. You can hop off on any of the island tours and undergo an amazing experience for you to carry home.

Explore the surrounding White Sandy islands around Mackay and swim in crystal-clear ocean waters. Take a dip and explore the rich marine life beneath the ocean surface, like tropical fish with flashy scales and beautiful colors that you explore while you snorkel. While on your vessel, you get to delight over lunch and beverages while soaking in picturesque vistas of nature around you.

1.5. Hit South Cumberland Islands National Park

Treat yourself to the sight of marine stingers in the crystal clear sea waters of South Cumberland islands national park. The islands are inclusive of protected islands like Scawfell Island, Keswick Island, Cockermouth Island, and St Bees Island.

The national park features beaches edged with either white sand or dry rainforests that form undulating hilly landscapes on the skyline. Delight yourself alluring over the landscape features by taking advantage of bush camping, or if you are a fishing enthusiast, try the same at Refuge Bay.

The islands’ terrain offers hiking at various levels, from a short walk to multi-day hikes, exploring the trails and stepping a foot into the beautiful natural escape of the National Park. Other fascinating activities at the national park are biking, swimming, undertaking guided tours, boating and kayaking in the blue waters, stargazing the night sky, and capturing the enchanting scenic beauty of forests, wildlife, and beaches.

Things To Do in Mackay
Photo by Kasia Derenda on Unsplash

1.6. Walkthrough the Aesthetic Mackay City Center

Exploring the heart of Australia’s cosmopolitan city is one the must things to do in Mackay. Being the city center, all other prominent locations like the Bluewater Lagoon, Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, and Town Beach are close to it.

You can treat yourself to a guided heritage walk through downtown and explore the architectural touch of its building facades, mainly art deco style and other styles from the 20th century. Some of the most significant buildings that stand tall in the heart of Mackay include Commonwealth Bank, St.Paul’s Uniting Church, the Main Post Office, and Chaseley House on Sydney Street.

1.7. Step an Escape in Cape Hillsborough National Park

An enthralling national park in Mackay Region that will captivate one with its diversity in landscape and the beauty it upholds.

Cape Hillsborough National Park encloses its forests, including rainforests and eucalypt forests, hoop pines, volcanic rock formations, rocky headlands, and beaches.

Spend your time here with multiple things to do, like striking the Great Barrier Reef marine park, which is famous for angling and boating with vessel provisions at the beach. One must be aware of the sea creatures that inhabit the nearby waters, like estuarine crocodiles, sharks, Box jellyfish, and marine stingers.

If you are looking for some unusual things to explore in Cape Hillsborough National Park, then hit the rock pools to relax and calm yourself, or go photograph the natural scenic beauty or animals that you spot around the day-use area.

This includes agile wallabies, orange-footed scrubfowl, and Australian bush turkeys. Birdwatching can be rewarding activity here in the forests. There are camping provisions here in Cape Hillsborough Park at Smalleys Beach if you wish to spend a night.

Other prominent attractions in Cape Hillsborough National Park include Cape Hillsborough Beach, Diversity Boardwalk, Beachcomber Cove and Casuarina Beach. Visiting this fascinating junction in the Mackay region is one of the best things to do in Mackay.

1.8. Cycle the Beautiful Bluewater Trail

The Bluewater trail is a route that runs approximately 20 kilometers in a loop which lets one appreciate the scenic beauty and dazzling locations along the way in the Mackay region. So the famous trail is nothing else but Mackay’s route that acknowledges the beauty of the city and is a must on your itinerary of things to do in Mackay.

Some of the pinned locations on the Bluewater trail include Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, Bluewater Lagoon, Pioneer River, Sandfly Creek Environmental Walk, and Town Beach. Apart from that, one can also get surprised by the display of artwork along the path, overlooking the beautiful Pioneer River.

The trail is an initiative and approach to encourage locals and visitors to walk or cycle around the trail. This journey of scenic experiences starts at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens. This provision of Mackay Regional Council is quite commendable and further enhances the quality of life of the city people to a good extent.

Things To Do in Mackay
By https://www.mackay.qld.gov.au/

1.9. Plan a Picnic  at Finch Hatton Gorge

The beauty of the gorge will take your breath away. Located 80km west of Mackay, the Finch Hatton Gorge is part of Eungella national park premises and must be visited, amongst other things to do in Mackay.

The serene and blissful vibes owing to the fresh green landscape amidst volcanic formations and the sound of waterfalls and rugged gorges will make this a perfect natural escape in the woods.

The journey through the car park here ends at swimming holes where you can enjoy taking a dip into the cool waters of the forests. Weaved through the rainforests are some of the popular trails that take you through outstanding scenery, granite boulders, and vegetation.

Things To Do in Mackay
Photo by CP on Unsplash

1.10. Hit the Popular Queens Park

The green heart of Mackay City opens its arms wide open and welcomes all locals and visitors to recognize this social hub within nature.

Visiting this historic landmark should be one of your things to do in Mackay City. With its landscape attracting one due to its tropical gardens and trees along with a waterfront, the location becomes a perfect destination to hit when one wants to enjoy their day leisurely in the oasis of nature.

The park promises to suit the age group of people to stroll, sit, relax, or play. The century-old landmark has proximity to Mackay’s city centre. Keep your kids amused over fascinating points like the skywalk combo, mega deck tower, mouse house, and swings, or just relax picnicking a day out with your loved ones.

Things To Do in Mackay
By https://www.mackaywaterfront.com.au/

1.11. Witness the Beauty of Tropical Beaches At Whitsunday Islands

The WhitSunday Islands is undoubtedly one of the most jaw-dropping locations to visit on your list of things to do in Mackay.

This group of 74 Islands is a complete package of everything one can think of on an island. From hiking trails in the dense rainforests, pristine white sand beaches to walk to, and sparkling blue waters, the islands have it all.

Being part of Australia’s largest offshore island chain, the location is not only famous for its natural beauty but also for the richness of the ecosystem it encompasses within it. The rainforests house endangered species of animals and plants. The place is like an isolated gem in Queensland, Australia, and must visit.

things to do in Mackay
Photo by Guillaume Marques on Unsplash

1.12. Explore the Blissful Beaches of Mackay

What point in visiting a city on the Coral Sea coast of Queensland if you don’t explore its blissful beaches?

Mackay region is blessed with beautiful beaches, and visiting them is a must, amongst other things to do in Mackay. I have put down a list of a few beaches to make it easy for you!

1.12.1.Harbor beach

Offering excellent swimming opportunities and fishing spots, Harbour Beach is a great spot to enjoy and relax. Located near the Mackay Harbour breakwater, this sandy beach is safer during high tide; however, one needs to be aware of the stingers during seasons.

1.12.2. Whitehaven Beach

Suiting its name, Whitehaven Beach is a white sandy beach that runs 7 kilometers long, fascinating one’s attention edged alongside blue waters. Located on the Whitsunday islands, the beach can be accessed by vessels, seaplanes, and helicopters from Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island. Truly both the journey and the destination are beautiful.

Things To Do in Mackay
Photo by Vanja Matijevic on Unsplash

1.12.3. Bucasia Beach

Part of Mackay’s northern beaches, Bucasia Beach is famous for angling at high tide or at the southern end, swimming, and walking since it is one of the longest beaches in the Mackay region.

Walk the white sanded beach and relax watching the scenic vista. The beach has a good adjacency to cafes, shopping centers, water fountains, and public toilets. Close to the beach is Dolphin Heads, which is famous for photography and attracts many enthusiasts.

1.12.4. Eimeo beach

Boasting to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Mackay, it is one popular choice among the northern beaches due to its beautiful waters, stunning views, good atmosphere, local vibes, and playgrounds for children.

With its proximity to Mackay’s city centre, Eimeo Beach is the most opted one for locals and tourists alike. If you wish to go hiking, Eimeo Point is an excellent location offering picturesque views of the surrounding landscape.

1.13. Take a Cool Dip at Bluewater Lagoon

Take a cool dip in the blue waters of the conveying name Bluewater Lagoon. Located in Mackay’s city center, the Blue Lagoon will provide you with much-needed water freshness and hence is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mackay and is a must in your bucket list of things to do in Mackay.

This three-tier lagoon pool facility drags in a beach vibe in the city. It is suitable for swimming retreats for all age groups owing to its exemplary facility of varying depths. It is one of the must places to visit if you are planning to carry your kids along while visiting Mackay.

The interactive kids’ pool, water slide, and shallow wading pools are perfect for kids and toddlers to amuse over. With additional facilities like BBQ, playground waterfall feature, grass areas, and shaded picnic tables, Bluewater Table becomes the most opted location to spend an entire day.

What’s better than a good cafe or restaurant to calm your hunger after a good swim playtime in the lagoon pools?

There is a cafe on site and other adjacent restaurants and cafes to visit, which are adjacent to Pioneer River at walking distance. Bluewater Lagoon is a promising place to visit to gain a memorable experience with your family.

2. Did You Know?

  1. John Mackay led an expedition to seek pastoral opportunities from the coastal regions in 1860. He thereafter named the city after his father, George Mackay.
  2. Mackay is nicknamed the sugar cane capital of Australia because of its major contribution to more than a third of the country’s total sugar production.
  3. Just over 340km north of the Tropic of Capricorn, Mackay is home to Australia’s longest stretch of subtropical rainforest.
  4. Mackay has the largest base for the maintenance, refit, and related services for all marine craft, particularly Super Yachts.
  5. More than 65 flights operate per week between Mackay and Brisbane to cover the 1.5-hour flight!

3. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What to do in Mackay Marina village?

Ans. Mackay Marina Village is a perfect destination to witness the tropical ambiance of Mackay. One of the must-visit is the Pine Islet Lighthouse, one of the only working kerosene lighthouses left in the world.

You can also spot several luxury yachts, sailing boats, and luxury hotels in Mackay Marina Village. Other activities include game fishing, sailing, rainforest treks, platypus watching, nature trails, and much more.

Q. What is special about Bruce Highway?

Ans. The Bruce Highway is an ambitious project designed keeping in mind the safety, accessibility, and ease of commutation.

The 1667km strip of road joins Brisbane and Cairns, passing through Mackay, thus joining Australia’s major cities with key attractions. The 9.2 Billion US dollar project is estimated to be completed in 2028.

Q. What are some of the accommodation options in Mackay to suit everyone’s budget?

Ans. Pocket-friendly accommodation options in Mackay include the Casa Nostra Motel, Shakespeare Motel, Mackay Rose Motel, and the Miners Lodge Motor Inn to name a few of a wide range of options.

Q. What are some of the free things to do in Mackay with kids?

Ans. Some of the fun things to do in Mackay with kids include cycling can be done with your family around the Bluewater trail specially designed for this purpose.

The Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens and Bluewater Lagoon are also must-visits with your family along with a multitude of beaches like Bucasia Beach.

Q. Where can one spot humpback whales in Mackay?

Ans. Humpback whales visit the eastern coastline of Mackay in June/July during their annual migration to the Great Barrier Reef. Keswick Island is one of the many spots to look out for these giants.

4. Conclusion

Yes! Mackay is a truly alluring vacation destination to visit if you plan to visit Australia.

Come visit Mackay and explore the city with a list of top things to do in Mackay. Adorned with a natural environment and a never-ending list of things to do in Mackay, the land effortlessly has the charm to draw tourists to come to visit and explore its untouched lush green rainforests, blue waters of ocean, rivers, marina, and waterfront developments and other city architecture that offer a good quality lifestyle and time.

With endless opportunities to explore, Mackay will leave behind sweet memories.



Siddhi Gulvi
Siddhi Gulvi
Creativity knows no limit, hence here I am! An Architect who loves to explore, travel and observe spaces be it manmade or natural, and aspires to showcase her vision through her writing.

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