A subtropical city near the Great Barrier Reef, Mackay boasts an array of offshore islands and colourful reefs that are perfect for snorkelling or scuba diving. The Pioneer River meanders past the city’s Art Deco architecture, palm-tree lined streets and quaint waterfront cafes.
Things to do in Mackay
If you’re on a family Mackay holiday, take the kids to Bluewater Lagoon, a water park with a splash zone, multiple pools and thrilling waterslides. Town Beach is ideal for swimming, kiteboarding or taking an afternoon walk on the soft sands. Along with its majestic sunrises, Town Beach backs onto Iluka Park, which has picnic spots and a playground.
Head across Forgan Smith Bridge to North Mackay and grab a lunch of fresh seafood and cocktails while admiring million-dollar yachts at Mackay Marina. From the marina, you can organise Great Barrier Reef sightseeing and fishing cruises. If you prefer to stay on land, venture over to Harbour Beach and grab a beer at the Mackay Surf Lifesaving Club, which overlooks the Coral Sea.
Wander around Mackay’s historic city centre and admire the heritage facades that now house award-winning restaurants, family-owned boutiques and cosy cafes. Coco Cubano Mackay treats you to Cuban-style cuisine in a bar-lounge setting with leather lounges and a funky soundtrack.
Do you have time for a day trip? Make sure you drive to Eungella National Park, about 1.5 hours away. It’s one of the best spots in Australia for seeing platypus in the wild, but also offers Indigenous heritage, peaceful hiking trails and scenic lookouts with beautiful countryside views.
Getting around Mackay
You can easily walk around Mackay’s compact city centre, but it’s best to use taxis or the local Mackay Transit Coaches bus services to visit the northern beaches and harbour. If you plan on exploring more of the region outside the city, hire a car from Mackay Airport, about 10 minutes from the CBD.