A booming city of sunshine, scenery, arts and heritage
Australia’s sugar capital is a laid-back coastal city, with over 30 secluded beaches and ready access to 11 national parks. The city’s Bluewater Trail consists of more than 20km of pedestrian and bike paths linking attractions such as Bluewater Lagoon, Bluewater Quay and the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens. The city centre boasts plenty of art deco-inspired architecture and is the epicenter of the Mackay Festival of Arts, the largest event of its kind in Queensland. Venture west for about an hour by car to Eungella and catch a platypus feeding at dawn or dusk, or share a sunrise with sociable kangaroos and wallabies. If you’re lucky and the season is right, you might even spy an echidna, possum, turkey or turtle at Cape Hillsborough. Spectacular views over the untamed coastline are assured at Andrews Point.
Book a flight to Mackay
When to go
The best time to visit Mackay is between January and April when the temperature is in the mid 20s. In the cooler months, the temperature ranges between 10°C and 20°C – winters are sunny and fairly dry. December is the start of the wet season.
The whale season is between July and September with some sightings possible outside that time frame. Humpback and Pilot Whales are a common sight in the Whitsundays. The Mackay Festival of Arts takes place in July and features wine and cheese tastings, live jazz, stand-up routines, art exhibitions and other performances.
Flying with Jetstar
Jetstar flies to Mackay from many of Australia’s major cities, with direct flights from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Find cheap flights to Mackay
If you’re without wheels, make use of the local bus service, operated by Mackay Transit Coaches, for easy and cheap access to CBD and outer suburbs. The two main bus stops are located behind Canelands Shopping Centre and at the corner of Victoria and Gregory Streets. Major hire car agencies operate counters at the airport and Mackay Taxis can be called on tel: 13 10 08.
The airport is 6km from the CBD. It takes about 15 minutes and costs approximately $22 to catch a taxi.
Airlie Beach is 160km and takes approximately 2 hours. Whitsunday Transfers to Airlie Beach Advance booking advised. One-way $69 (adult), $30 (child, 4-15 yrs); return $120 (adult), $60 (child).