The centre of Australia's largest sugar growing district, Mackay is
the point of departure for a number of barrier reef destinations and
for air and launch services to Hook, Brampton, Lindeman and Whitsunday
islands to the north.
Where is it?: Mackay is 970 km north of Brisbane, on the Pioneer River,
and 150km south of Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays.
Things to see and do
Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens showcases the beautiful tropical
flora from Mackay and the Whitsundays, along with other Australian
native and exotic plants from similar climates around the world.
Feature gardens include the luxuriant Fernery, the Regional Forest,
rare and threatened flora of the tropical Shade Garden and the unique
Coal Garden - tracing the evolution of plants and the importance of
coal. Location: 9 Lagoon Street, West Mackay.
Lookouts: Mount Basset lookout overlooks the harbour; The Rotary lookout is located at North Mackay.
A regional art gallery and museum in the centre of the city of
Mackay. The gallery also features an ever changing array of exhibitions
drawn from local, interstate and international collections which
showcase the talents of Australian artists. Group tours can be booked
with well trained volunteer guides who will provide visitors with
insights into the exhibitions on display. Facilities include a cafe
which overlooks the green gardens of the Mackay Civic Centre Precinct.
Location: Civic Centre Precinct, Gordon Street, Mackay.
Brampton Islands National Park, at the southern entrance to the
Whitsunday Passage, consists of Brampton and Carlisle islands. Rocky
headlands dotted with hoop pines, open grasslands, woodlands, sheltered
bays and long sandy beaches make these islands some of the most scenic
off the Queensland coast.
Eungella National Park
Set in mist-shrouded mountains west of Mackay, Eungella National
Park (80km west) is one of Queensland’s most ecologically diverse
parks. Much of the park is wilderness, dissected by rugged gorges.
The picturesque beach settlement of Ball Bay (35km north) offers
secluded camping on a small grassy campground. Armstrong Beach (46km
south) is renowned for its fishing and prawning, both of which are best
attempted from the beach.
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Cape Hillsborough (49km north) is one of the most scenic mainland
locations on the central Queensland coast; it features rock-strewn,
sandy beaches, hoop pine-dotted hillsides plunging towards the sea,
subtropical rainforest and mangrove-fringed wetlands. One of the finest
walks in the area is the Beachcomber Cove Track. It starts from the
northern end of the Cape Hillsborough picnic area and passes through
open eucalypt forest and remnant rainforest with hoop pines, ferns and
vines. The track ends in Beachcomber Cove.
Cape Palmerston National Park (115km south east) features sandy
dunes, unspoilt beaches and rocky headlands, with Mount Funnel towering
to 344 metres.
(92 km south west): being the closest rural and gold mining
historical town to Mackay, the Nebo area is the key link to the 1800s
and early life in the Mackay Region. The old Nebo Police Station is
home to an excellent regional museum about the early days in and around
Mackay. Historical sites in the region include Lake Elphinstone, the
Mount Britton Gold Mining site, and the intrepid traveller can find the
site where Leichhardt camped as he explored the region in 1845. The
Mount Britton Collection of paintings, on display at the museum, tell a
story about the way of life of the early pioneers.
Location: Reynolds Street, Nebo. Ph (07) 950 5471.