🌄🏝️ We went to Mackay with the kids for a weekend to visit friends and discovered a little gem!
Many people travel through Mackay for work (fly-in, fly-out mine workers) or on their way to the Whitsundays. It was never at the top of my bucket list, but it is certainly more than a pitstop!
Where is Mackay?
Mackay is a small tropical city on the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. The traditional custodians of the lands that make up the Mackay region are the Yuwibara people.
Even though they are in the same state, the flight between Mackay and Brisbane is 1.5 hours. (About the same flight time between Brisbane and Sydney). And the drive from Brisbane along the Bruce Highway is almost 11 hours.
But once you’re there, you can get almost anywhere in town within a 15 minute drive.
Discover Mackay’s beaches
Mackay has sunshine, a tropical climate and a relaxed vibe. So, it’s not surprising that some the best fishing, day trips, beaches and camping in Queensland is nearby.
Of 31 beaches in the area, only five are patrolled on weekends and holidays from September – May. They are:
- Bucasia Beach
- Eimeo Beach
- Harbour Beach
- Lamberts Beach
- Sarina Beach.
While unpatrolled, Cape Hillsborough National Park has a spectacular beach where the rainforest literally meets the sea.
Jellyfish and other stingers often visit these beaches. So, when swimming at the any beaches in the region, remember to swim safe and only at patrolled beaches!
Tips for swimming in north Queensland beaches:
- Swim between the red and yellow flags
- wear a stinger suit
- carry a bottle of vinegar in the car
- apply sunscreen regularly.
Looking for a place to swim in Mackay with the kids but the beaches are not suitable? Check out the water parks below for locations, opening times and costs:
- Bluewater Lagoon
- Mackay ARC
- Memorial Swim Centre
- Mirani Swim Centre
- Pioneer Swim Centre
- Sarina Swim Centre
Discover Mackay’s stunning landscapes
Explore Eungella National Park on foot
East from Mackay and high above the surrounding plains is the small town of Eungella and the Eungella National Park. The road there snakes its way through sugar cane fields, cattle fields and small country towns before giving way to beautiful bushland with forest walks and lush waterfalls.
Get your walking shoes on to discover the misty mountain walking tracks in the Eungella National Park. They are home to many kinds of wildlife and beautiful forest scenery.
Sky Window at Eungella National Park gives visitors a panoramic view of the picturesque Pioneer Valley below. It’s a short, pram friendly path and a has a great picnic area if you’re exploring Mackay with the kids.
Views at Northern Beaches
It’s a short drive from the centre of Mackay to the Northern Beaches. Here you’ll discover secluded beaches perfect for a quite walk and peaceful reflection.
Stop at the Eimeo Hotel for a meal, a cold drink and a million dollar view of nearby islands. If you’re lucky to be there in the right season, you may be able to see migrating whales frolicking in the water. The kids will love it!
Explore Mackay’s sugar cane industry
Want a different kind of experience in Mackay with kids? Check out the sugar industry in action by visiting a sugar mill or farm. Check out tours offered by Farleigh Sugar Mill and Polstone Sugar Cane Farm in during the crushing season (July to November). You’ll learn about the industry, see big machinery at work and even get a taste test of something sweet!
Queensland is the place to explore
Queensland has so many beautiful destinations to explore with kids. Join us as we explore Queensland and show the kids the importance of having a deep understanding people, places and culture.