Aussie explorers, this just in: Mackay has been hailed as Australia’s Town of the Year. When we found out, we just had to take some time to showcase why everyone should visit Mackay this year!

If you’re wondering what this Central Queensland coastal town has going for it, we’ve done the work for you.

1.   Take a dip in Bluewater Lagoon

If we said this one is for the kids, we’d be lying. There’s fun for the whole family in this gorgeous, three-tiered lagoon the size of three 50-metre swimming pools. It features a waterfall and slide, a children’s play area, BBQ facilities, and picnic tables. Best of all, Bluewater Lagoon is free!

2.   Watch the sunrise with the roos at Cape Hillsborough

This stunning beach, about 50 km north-west of Mackay is overtaken by kangaroos and wallabies when the sun comes up. They enjoy their brekky of washed-up mangroves every morning, and some of them can be quite friendly (as long as they’ve had their mangrove).

Butterflies also call Cape Hillsborough home, with over 25 species fluttering about!

3.   Stroll the Botanical Gardens

Considered by the locals as the loveliest spot in Mackay, the Mackay Regional Botanical Gardens is the perfect spot to spend a leisurely afternoon getting lost amongst the diverse flora of the Central Queensland Coast Bioregion, which features tropical rainforests, sweeping beaches, mangrove-lined waterways, and open eucalypt forests.

4.   Camp at Eungella National Park

Here, take in the largest continuous stretch of sub-tropical rainforest in Australia. Plus, the Wheel of Fire Falls are incredible and not to be missed. Eungella National Park is also the unofficial platypus capital of the world, so spotting one (or many) is guaranteed!

5.   Trek Bluewater Trail

Explore Mackay by bike along the Bluewater Trail and take in the region’s natural beauties. Six of Mackay’s key attractions can be found along the trail including the Botanic Gardens, Sandfly Creek Environmental Walkway, Bluewater Lagoon and Bluewater Quay, Iluka Park, and the Catherine Freeman walk.

6.   Get Arty at Artspace Mackay

With a truly modern look and feel, designed by award-winning Queensland architects, Artspace Mackay breathes life into the historic town with an ever-changing programme of international and Australian-curated exhibitions of visual arts and social history – one for the culture buffs.

7.   Enjoy a beach to yourself

We didn’t think it was possible either, but with so many stunning beaches in town, it’s easy to find one that’s secluded any day of the week! Bucasia Beach, Harbour Beach, Dolphin Heads, and Far Beach are just four to choose from.

8.   Drive from Rockhampton to Mackay

The Rockhampton to Mackay drive, about 336 km, will take you just under four hours. While you won’t encounter too much on the long stretch, it’s the perfect way to get to Mackay to experience all of the above.


So now you have the low-down too and know all the best things to do in Mackay, there should be nothing stopping you locking in a long weekend with an action-packed road trip, courtesy of Thrifty.

It’s not a large town, but you will need a car to get around to all the sights. Luckily, there’s not one but two Mackay car hire locations – Mackay Airport car hire and the other in town.

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