Cheap and cheerful: Mackay on a budget
Feel like a Mackay getaway but not sure the budget will stretch? With these tips, it totally will.
- September 2022
If you’re heading to Mackay and watching the pennies, you’re in luck. There’s a whole mess of fun to be had that will still keep your budget in check. From lounging at free lagoons to soaking up Art Deco architecture, Mackay has got you covered for low-cost fun.
Find your waterfall at Finch Hatton Gorge
Finch Hatton Gorge is a sub-tropical wonderland of waterfalls. Wander one of the walking tracks and you’ll discover rockpools to soak in and waterfalls to frolic in. There’s the stunning Araluen waterfall and the Wheel of Fire Cascades. The Cascades have a large rock pool at the bottom, giving you the best of both worlds. If you’re up for it, follow the walking track to the top of the falls – the views are magical. If you’re into photography, you’ll love capturing the volcanic boulder formations here.
Explore Cape Hillsborough
Talk about nature’s bounty! Just 50 kilometres north of Mackay, you’ll find Cape Hillsborough National Park. Blending rainforest and ocean, this sprawling park is teeming with natural wildlife and has excellent walking tracks. Of course, one of the area’s biggest drawcards is capturing a picture of the kangaroos and wallabies on the beach at sunrise. It’s magnificent. There’s also some budget-friendly accommodation here, including caravans, camping and beachfront huts, if you want to stay a little longer.
Dive into the Bluewater Trail
In Mackay all things ‘Bluewater’ are fantastic and free. First up, there’s Bluewater Quay, Mackay’s ‘Town Square on the River’. The Quay hosts a farmers’ market on Wednesday mornings and is a lovely spot to relax and take in the views. The Bluewater Trail is 20 kilometres of walking and cycling paths, lined with public art, that link many of Mackay’s major attractions. Then there’s Bluewater Lagoon – three tiered pools linked by a waterfall. Dive into the resort vibes – for free.
Discover Mackay style on a heritage walk
You’ll find some Art Deco gems in immaculate condition in Mackay’s city. Get the inside scoop on these architectural beauties by taking a free guided heritage walk, starting at the Mackay Visitor Information Centre. The walk takes around 90 minutes and shows off Mackay’s colourful Art Deco and Spanish-Mission-style buildings. You can also pick up a map and do a self-guided tour.
Wander the Regional Botanic Gardens
Meander along walking and cycling trails winding through tropical gardens at Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens. There are wetlands boardwalks to wander (twitchers, bring your binoculars) and gorgeous features gardens to relax in. Breathe deep in the Regional Forest and the spectacular Fernery. The gardens are free to enter and offer free guided tours.