Mackay

This city puts its history on display with two dedicated architecture walks, the Mackay City Heritage Walk and Mackay Art Deco Walk. Make sure you pick up the brochures that guide you through these fascinating buildings of interest. Art lovers should hit Artspace Mackay or walk through public art displays at the beautiful Bluewater Quay.

In a metropolitan outback city like this one, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to tempt your taste buds. We love the cafés on the bank of the Pioneer River, which make an after lunch swim in the Bluewater Lagoon easy. Mackay marries all the things you love about city living, with an undeniable natural offering that is deeply embedded in its DNA. From fertile countrysides, lush rainforests and natural parks to a pristine coastline, there is so much to explore and everything’s at your fingertips.

Dive deeper into Mackay’s natural attractions by walking along the raised boardwalk of the Bluewater Trail through natural river wetlands before finishing at Mackay Regional Botanical Gardens. In North Mackay, Gooseponds combines popular walking tracks around a large central wetland lagoon. If you’re there to exercise there are plenty of fitness stations along the tracks. If you’re after relaxation, sit on a blanket and watch the geese, ducks and pelicans.

We also love the expansive views towards the island dotted coastline and Great Barrier Reef beyond from Slade Point. If you want breakfast with a different, pack a little picnic and head to Cape Hillsborough Beach. Feel the sand between your toes as you take in an incredible east coast sunrise and find yourself among families of wallabies that descend to the beach each morning like clockwork.

Eungella National Park is an easy 1 hour and 15 minute drive exactly west of Mackay. Rising 800 metres above sea level, Eungella means ‘a land in the clouds’. Its peaks are inevitably kissing the clouds and cooling the mountains, making for stunning vistas and beautiful bushwalking.

Stop by Finch Hatton Gorge on your way back to Mackay, just 35 minutes’ drive back east. The gorge features cascading waterfalls surrounded by ancient rainforest. This area is also an incredible river and dam fishing destination in its own right.