Often overlooked by tourists, Mackay offers a wealth of holiday gems - attractive streets, tropical weather, art deco buildings and lush mangrove forests.
Mackay's tourism is on the rise, butthere's still an air of authenticity, country charm and community spirit here.
With a redeveloped marina and al fresco restaurants, outdoor cafes and picturesque promenade - this is a holiday destination that's a great choice for families, couples and solo travellers alike.
For a small city, there's a lot to see and do in Mackay. Here are our picks.
- Head to the picturesque beach settlement of Ball Bay, 35 kilometres north of town.
- Visit the purebred bees on Keswick Island and sample their honey for a true taste of sweet, tropical island life - all only 40 minutes on the ferry.
- Enjoy a refreshing swim in Mackay's Bluewater LagoonOpens external site in a new window, offering all the fun of the beach within the city.
- Discover the arts and culture of the Mackay region when you visit Artspace MackayOpens external site in a new window.
Laidback tropical Mackay and the surrounding region is a wonderfully inviting mix of city, beach and country.
In and around Mackay
Mackay has a varied and interesting history, with hints of its past and future evident everywhere you look.
You’ll find public art that embraces the heritage and industry of the region at Bluewater QuayOpens external site in a new window as well as the heritage listed Leichhardt TreeOpens external site in a new window. Stroll the CBD and notice the many impressive art deco buildings, built following the Great Cyclone of 1918.
For some nature in the heart of the city, try the Botanic GardensOpens external site in a new window and Queens Park.
Enjoy waterfront views at Mackay’s modern marina. Watch luxury yachts gently bob on the harbour as you savour the casual cuisine along the palm-fringed promenade. Nearby Harbour Beach is a popular area for swimming and beachside barbeques, or hire a scooter and explore further.
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.
The Whitsunday Islands
Just 150 kilometres north of Mackay lies the spectacular Whitsundays in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Whitsundays have so much to offer, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Base yourself at one of the renowned island resorts such as Hamilton Island, One & Only Hayman 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. Cruise through the islands, snorkel in the sparkling waters or walk along the spectacular Whitehaven Beach.
For land-lovers, the Whitsunday Coast has amazing diversity to explore, with secluded beaches such as Hydeaway Bay, the ecologically diverse Eungella National Park or the coastal town of Airlie Beach. Get off the beaten track amongst the hillside national park trails on foot or mountain bike.
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Mackay enjoys stunning weather year round with hot summers and warm, sunny winters. Cooled by breezes off the coast, nights can be cool in winter while summer sees the arrival of the wet season from December to March. Maximum temperatures range from 30°C in summer to 21°C in winter.
From the airport
Mackay Airport is quite centrally located as airports go, so getting to and from the city centre is a relatively easy affair.
The alternative option is to book a taxi. Mackay Whitsunday Taxis provides door to door services, covering from Sarina in the south to Airlie Beach in the north.
Disclaimer: ^ You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem Qantas Points. A joining fee may apply. Membership and Qantas Points are subject to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program terms and conditions.
** Prices are per room, per night and vary depending on date of check in, length of stay and room type. Conditions apply.
~ Qantas activities are provided by Viator. Conditions apply.