The Queensland city of Mackay is about 1000km north of Brisbane and is one of the major cities of the central coast region of Queensland. This area is the start of the tropics as you travel north from Brisbane.
Mackay offers visitors a base to travel the region’s Islands and tropical rainforest areas of which there many. The city centre of Mackay is a bustling hive of activity.
Visitors can dine alfresco, shop in the boutique stores during the day and mingle with the locals at the busy bars and nightclubs throughout the evening. The centre of Mackay also offers a self guided Heritage Walk along streets boasting 20 lovingly restored and heritage listed buildings.
The Pioneer River is a Mackay icon which is best viewed from the Blue River Boardwalk and rotunda. Sunday morning brings the local markets to the centre of the city and are popular with locals and visitors alike.
Artspace Mackay is the city's modern art gallery and museum, which regularly hosts an ever changing series of local, national and international displays. The Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens is one of Australia's newest and most innovative botanic gardens.
The gardens feature flora from the Central Queensland bio-region, and surround the scenic Lagoons and will continue to flourish in years to come. free guided walks are available or visitors can relax on the deck at the casual café, overlooking the lagoons.
The impressive Mackay Marina Village is home to a growing number of restaurants and bars and is a favourite with locals and tourists alike. The alfresco dining on offer here is highly recommended for the quality of the food and the fantastic ambience created by the palm fringed esplanade.
Guests can stay at the Clarion Hotel or enjoy activities such as jet skiing, parasailing, fishing charters, island and snorkelling day cruises and whale watching in season.
The Mackay Region produces about a third of Australia's sugar exports, many of the surrounding areas still boast lush cane fields. Visitors can take a fascinating tour of a working mill during crushing season from June to October.
For visitors who enjoy the great outdoors, fresh air, spectacular scenery, wildlife, will appreciate the Mackay region's magnificent national parks and majestic rainforests.
Eungella National Park is the most commonly visited natural attraction in the region, luckily, when you visit you will still feel like one of the blessed few fortunate enough to experience these magnificent surroundings.
Tale in these breathtaking views from Sky Window lookout or the old Eungella Chalet, or take the time to enjoy more than 25kms of lush rainforest walking trails. Visitors will bask in the natural wonder as they spot Platypus at Broken River, most commonly seen in the early mornings and late afternoons. Eungella National Park is about an hour's drive west from Mackay through the picturesque Pioneer Valley.
Why not stop at Finch Hatton Gorge, on the way to Eungella, it is a favourite of the local's especially during the humid summer months. But regardless of time of the time of year you visit the area, you are sure to enjoy the rainforest walks as well as a refreshing swim at Araluen and the Wheel of Fire waterfalls.
Cape Hillsborough National Park is located 40 minutes drive from Mackay, a small coastal park where the rainforest actually touches the reef.
Wallabies come down onto the beach at sunrise each morning and photographs of them have often been used to promote Australia. The headland is a fantastic fishing spot and the area also contains several good walking trails, some of which showcase the aboriginal history of the Juipera Tribe.
Cape Palmerston on the coast south of Sarina, is accessible by 4WD vehicles only and is a popular fishing and camping area. Visitors to the cape should take their own provisions with them including fresh water and fuel as the area is quite isolated.
There are also some dams in the area that make for a day of great fishing and watersports fun, these are: Kinchant, Teemburra and Eungella Dams.
The coastline of the Central Coast Region in Queensland is some of the most picturesque you will find anywhere. The Mackay Region's coastline boasts 31 beaches and several tropical islands within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Brampton Island lies at the southern entrance of the Whitsunday Passage and is almost entirely National Park and is fringed by twelve beaches. You can stay at romantic Voyages Brampton Island Resort or enjoy the national park's walking trails on a day cruise, please note that day trip visitors are not permitted in the resort area.
The untouched beauty of Carlisle Island is right beside Brampton Island and has Melaleuca forests and some basic camping facilities.
Keswick Island is considered a jewel in the region's crown and is home to the secluded Keswick Island Guesthouse.
Keswick Island is accessible by day cruise or short plane flight, and is fringed by colourful coral reefs and stunning white sandy beaches. St Bees Island is co-located with Keswick, and is occupied by a healthy koala colony.
Scawfell Island boasts untouched coral reefs, an impressive range of marine life and coral species, and can be accessed by a 90 minute boat ride aboard the Odyssey H20.