Kangaroos on the beach at Cape Hillsborough
Cape Hillsborough
Mackay

Island hopping, lagoon lounging, swinging by rainforests, Mackay is the ideal place to take in all the beauty that the tropical Queensland coast has on offer. With famed World Heritage sites, The Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays at its doorstep, this is a destination that’s more than just a base for taking in Australian icons.

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Places to stay

Mackay offers a wealth of holiday gems with a redeveloped marina, alfresco restaurants, outdoor cafes and a picturesque promenade - this is a holiday destination that's a great choice for families, couples and solo travellers alike. If the tropical climate and morning swims are what you’ve come for, opt to stay at one of the many holiday parks and campsites that line the beaches around Mackay. You can also glamp right on the beach or get close to nature in a rainforest cabin. If you prefer to be located in the city centre within easy walking distance to the Town Hall and impressive art deco buildings, Botanic Gardens and Queens Park, stay in one of the affordable motels or stylish self-contained apartments.

The Mackay waterfront marina offers a range of premium holiday apartments and hotels to enjoy waterfront views, and watch luxury yachts bob on the harbour. Or if you’re skippering a yacht through the Whitsunday Passage to explore the islands, stay a couple of nights pre or post-sailing.

Things to do

Mackay's tourism is on the rise, but there's still an air of authenticity, country charm and community spirit here. Throw a line in, meet the wildlife, visit the lush mangrove forests or take a day trip to discover the nearby islands - there’s plenty of things to do.

If fishing’s one of your hobbies, the region boasts a range of ocean, lake or river spots where you can try to catch one of the incredible varieties of fish found here. Nature lovers can hike in the Cape Hillsborough National Park to spot wallabies and kangaroos, or scuba dive at Oliver’s Pool near Finch Hatton Gorge to see if you can come face to face with a platypus. 

A short drive from the Mackay Marina is Slade Point, where an elevated lookout provides glorious panoramic views towards the southern islands of the Great Barrier Reef. At the foot of the lookout, Lamberts Beach is a family-friendly picnic location, with shady trees, a children’s playground and a patrolled beach.

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The Whitsunday Islands

Just 150 kilometres north of Mackay lies the spectacular Whitsundays in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Base yourself at one of the renowned island resorts such as Hamilton Island or Daydream Island, and spend your days exploring by boat. Most of the 74 stunning tropical islands that make up The Whitsundays are uninhabited.

For land-lovers, explore the hillside national park trails at Hydeaway Bay, the ecologically diverse Eungella National Park or the coastal town of Airlie Beach. 

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Brampton Island

Just offshore off from Mackay's coastline, there’s a series of secluded tropical islands that are waiting to be explored, and one of these is Brampton Island. A barefoot paradise surrounded by lush coastal mangroves, it’s the perfect romantic day trip.

If you prefer a quiet swim on your own isolated beach, relax at one of the seven idyllic beaches, each easily accessible via walking trails, coral gardens and an array of walking and jogging tracks.

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From the airport: Mackay Airport is centrally located, making it easy to get to and from the city centre. Short and long-term parking is available if you’re driving. Taxis or shuttle services are available and a number of rental car companies operate from the airport terminal.

In and around the city: capture the best of the region by joining a tour, run by local experts. Other options to get around are with the public bus service, train from Mackay rail station or taxi. Mackay Whitsunday Taxis covers from Sarina to Airlie Beach.

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