Mackay is a tropical town with few pretensions; a slice of suburbia with a slice of pineapple. The Pioneer River runs alongside the compact, palm-lined business district that becomes a boisterous bar scene after dark. At the redeveloped marina, restaurants, themed pubs and residential apartments overlook a giant stone spit and long stretches of open beach that run all the way to glorious Cape Hillsborough National Park.
Despite its fabulous location, a night or two here en route to elsewhere is all you need. One such detour is a short trip west through the cane fields to Eungella National Park with its famous platypuses and the lush, hidden highlights of Finch Hatton Gorge.
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Artspace Mackay upholds the strong reputation of regional Queensland art galleries, showcasing local and visiting works on the edge of the civic precinct. You can dabble in a workshop or graze at Foodspace, the in-house licensed cafe open 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday, from 9am on weekends. Information on the Mackay Self-Drive Art Gallery, Pottery & Craft Tour is available.
Mackay Regional Botanical Gardens
These gardens, 3km south of the city centre, includes a lovely Tropical Shade Garden.
Burp Eat Drink
A swish Melbourne-style restaurant in the tropics, Burp has a small but tantalising menu. The contemporary dishes include an interesting assortment of sharing plates such as Japanese eggplant stuffed with prawns and oyster sauce.
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