QueenslandMackayGet off the beaten track and head to Mackay. Home to Australia’s longest stretch of sub-tropical rainforest - you'll find plenty of hikes, secluded beaches, great snorkeling, and a chance to go diving in the rainforest.
A world of discovery is illuminated with the dawn of each new day, from the glistening sand of one of Mackay's untouched beaches to the raw outback beauty of the Isaac District. The Mackay Region has so much to offer those wanting to get off the beaten track and explore. Discover spectacular rainforests and national parks, secluded islands and beaches, coral reefs, genuine country hospitality and historic townships. Largely untouched, the Mackay Region offers a unique holiday experience that is a natural and diverse escape from the crowds. Located midway between Brisbane and Cairns, the Mackay Region coastline stretches 200 kilometres from St Lawrence in the south to Midge Point in the north, as well as inland west to the town of Clermont. The region's rich and colourful past is economically founded upon sugar cane, mining, beef and agriculture. The Mackay Region is becoming popular as a holiday destination for travellers seeking an unspoilt and untouched nature experience. Holiday-maker 'must-sees' include the vivacious city centre set beside the mighty blue Pioneer River; the Pioneer Valley, Finch Hatton Gorge and the famous Eungella National Park. Artspace Mackay - gallery and museum, Bluewater Lagoon swimming pools, Regional Botanic Gardens, the impressive Mackay Marina Village, spectacular scenery of Cape Hillsborough National Park. Historic seaside townships such as Sarina and Seaforth and outback communities such as Clermont and Nebo. Stroll superb golden beaches, take a fishing charter to the Great Barrier Reef or discover the spectacular inner islands, such as Keswick Island.
Explore Cape Hillsborough National Park
Cape Hillsborough National Park is one of the most striking and peaceful places on the Central Queensland coast. It's teeming with life and diverse habitats—from rainforest and eucalypts to mangroves, beaches, and rocky headlands. It's a brilliant place to hike, picnic, boat, fish, relax, and explore. You'll need a few days to fully appreciate this magical part of the world so make Smalleys Beach camping area your home-away-from-home—it's just a stone's throw from the beach and walking tracks. The dense rainforest meets the ocean and fine sandy beaches fringe the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Make your way over the intricate stippled patterns created by sand bubbler crabs, and search tidal rock pools for sea creatures. Agile wallabies gather on the beach to search for food at sunrise and sundown. Grab your camera! This is a truly iconic Australian experience that you shouldn't miss. The Yuibera Aboriginal people lived in this country for many thousands of years before explorer James Cook named Cape Hillsborough in 1770. V isit The Diversity boardwalk and Yuibera plant trail to understand the Yuibera people's connection to this country and their traditional way of life.
Head to Keswick Island
Most visitors to Mackay are surprised to learn that one of the southern-most Whitsunday Islands can be visited directly from the Mackay coast. Keswick Island is situated 32 kilometres from Mackay and is accessible via the water from the Mackay Marina, or by air. Keswick Island has a privately owned airstrip, so it is possible to arrive by plane or helicopter direct from Mackay. Enjoy a day on the tropical island or choose to stay on the island at a welcoming guesthouse. A spectacular jewel in the Coral Sea, Keswick Island is truly a tropical paradise. Most of the island is a national park and sub-tropical rainforest therefore is home to an abundance of colourful flora and fauna. Many bush walks throughout the island provide the opportunity to gain spectacular views across the Whitsunday water. The island is fringed by white sandy shorelines, with coral reefs within swimming distance, perfect for snorkelling. The nearby reefs are teeming with marine life, including vibrantly colourful coral gardens. Keswick Island also offers divers a unique experience, as there are three shipwreck sites all from within half an hour of the island to explore. These wrecks are a fascinating piece of the region's history. Meals and basic grocery needs can be purchased on the island and golf buggies, kayaks and snorkelling equipment are also available for hire. Humpback whales can be frequently seen around Keswick Island during their annual migration through the Whitsundays between July to September.
Dine at The Dispensary
The Dispensary Coffee · Kitchen · Bar has got you covered for everything food and drink. Open from early The Dispensary offers great coffee, breakfast, and lunch available for takeaway. The cold cabinet is full daily with fresh items available to just grab and go. They also have online ordering available. If you're after dinner why not order The Dispensary In Your Kitchen? Delicious meals cooked ready for you to simply heat up and enjoy. Add in a bottle of wine from their Cellar or let them match it for you - it's the perfect at-home date night combo! The Dispensary Coffee · Kitchen · Bar - They've got you covered!
See the Wallabies at sunrise
Sunrise with Wallabies Tour is one of Australia's iconic wildlife experiences, where Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Agile Wallabies come onto the beach to feed on mangrove seed pods. Nowhere else in the wild will you get so close to Kangaroos and Wallabies. Such a wonderful opportunity to capture a magical moment of sunrise on the beach with Australia's national symbol, and reflect on our role in looking after Australia's natural beauty.
Take a flying fox through the rainforest with Forest Flying
The Forest Flying eco-tourism experience allows you to view the pristine rainforest of Finch Hatton Gorge from a unique angle. Suspended in your personal harness up to 25 metres above the forest floor, you can glide along the cable through the rainforest canopy. This guided serene and educational experience is unique to Australia. Each tour takes approximately one to one and a half hours. Bookings are essential either by phone or email.
Go fishing in Seaforth
A trip to Seaforth takes you past lush subtropical rainforest and fields of sugar cane. Seaforth itself is a quaint beachfront town that is also one of the most popular recreational fishing destinations in The Mackay Region, especially with its well-maintained boat ramp at Victor Creek. Today sugar and tourism are thriving industries for Seaforth. Facilities include a bowls club, public swimming enclosure, nearby public toilets, and a well-maintained caravan and camping area located directly on the beach. Other nearby points of interest to explore include Ball Bay, Halliday Bay, and Cape Hillsborough National Park. Seaforth is also an ideal location to launch a boat to explore the beautiful Newry Islands group.
Visit Lindeman Island
Its natural beauty and breathtaking Whitsunday scenery make Lindeman Island one of the most spectacular tropical islands in Australia. Complemented by temperate days and nights, Lindeman Island was one of the first Whitsunday islands to be developed. The resort on Lindeman Island is no longer operational, however, a new island owner is currently planning the build of a luxury resort with an estimated completion date of 2022. Aboriginal people refer to Lindeman Island as Yara-Kimba, the place of snapper-bream fish. Consisting of mostly National Park, Lindeman Island is a bushwalking paradise. More than 20 kilometres of bushwalking tracks allow visitors to stroll through the aptly named Butterfly Valley, or climb Mt Oldfield, which rewards the climb with stunning views across Hamilton and Whitsunday Island. Lindeman Island has seven beautiful beaches, with Gap Beach being favoured for snorkelling, with colourful reefs and abundant marine life near the shore. Dolphins can often be spotted from the shore throughout the year and Humpback whales between July to November. Birdwatchers will delight in more than 90 bird species that inhabit or visit the island. A camping site is located near the north-west point of the island at Boat Port. Camping fees apply and bookings are essential. This quiet campsite with sandy beaches is backed by rainforest and has a picnic table and toilet.
Swim at Bluewater Lagoon
Enjoy a refreshing swim at Mackay City's Bluewater Lagoon, the fun of the beach within the city. Three tiers of lagoon pools provide a safe swimming environment within the Mackay Central Business District, close to barbecue facilities, public work-out equipment, and a playground on Bluewater Quay. With three age-appropriate lagoons of varying depths, an interactive children's water playground with a water drop-bucket, and a water slide, the lagoon is a perfect retreat for all ages. A feature waterfall connects the two main lagoon pools, while a shallow wading pool is perfect for toddlers. The Bluewater Lagoon is monitored by lifeguards, but parents must keep an eye on children at all times, as the lifeguards aren't babysitters. Admission is free of charge, making it an affordable option for a family day of fun in the sun. Shaded picnic tables and expansive grass areas provide options for all-day relaxation. A café is located on-site, and other cafes and restaurants which line the Pioneer River are easily reached within a few minutes of walking.
Eungella National Park
Eungella National Park, sitting high above the surrounding plains, is a mist-shrouded and forest-clad mountain refuge harbouring diverse plants and wildlife. One of Queensland’s most ecologically diverse parks, a visit to Eungella is both an exciting adventure and an escape to tranquillity. Look for some of the many unusual plants and animals, including the Eungella day frog, Mackay tulip oak, Eungella spiny cray, and Eungella honeyeater. Follow walking tracks ranging from 30 minute easy walks to half-day and day walks and enjoy spectacular views down the Pioneer Valley, along with rainforest gullies and river pools. Enjoy a picnic at Broken River and then wander along the banks watching the platypus in the gently-flowing water. Camp overnight in a tranquil river-side camping area. Explore the far reaches of the park along the 56 kilometre Mackay Highlands Great Walk.
Go Diving on Keswick Island
Mackay is not generally well known as a dive destination, but with offshore islands and reefs, it certainly has the potential for some great diving. However, there is one location off Mackay that is regularly dived, the wonderful Keswick Island. This continental island can be reached by plane or boat, and has numerous sheltered bays for divers and snorkelers to explore. Rich coral gardens are found right around the island, growing on rocky reefs in depths from 5 metres to 15 metres. These reefs are home to numerous reef fish and invertebrates but are also visited by turtles, pelagic fish and reef sharks. There are also three shipwrecks to explore at Keswick Island. The most easily accessible is the Cremer, a 50-metre long passenger and cargo ship that sank in 1943. Although very broken up, it is still an interesting wreck to explore. More intact, and with better marine life, is the Singapore, an 87-metre long steamship that sank in 1877. The least dived wreck in the area is the Llewellyn, a 34-metre long coastal steamer that sank in 1919 and now rests in 35 metres.
Discover more in Queensland
- Atherton Tablelands
- Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park
- Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park
- Cape York
- Carnarvon Gorge, Carnarvon National Park
- Fraser Coast
- Gold Coast
- Great Barrier Reef
- Hervey Bay
- Magnetic Island
- Mission Beach
- Outback Queensland
- Port Douglas
- Seventeen Seventy
- Southern Queensland County
- Sunshine Coast
- The Whitsundays
- Thursday Island
- Tropical North Queensland