1 - Pristine swimming holes. Crystal clear water surrounded by rain-forest! Could you think of a better way to spend the day?
2 - Think Garden of Eden! You can harvest all year round. Plants thrive here, just look at the size of these watermelons!! I always thought I couldn’t keep plants alive… apparently I just had to move to Mackay. Besides our own garden, there are plenty of locally grown options at markets and roadside stands. If you don’t know how to garden, take advantage of all the informative workshops on permaculture, composting, cooking with tropical produce, and other techniques at the Mackay Community Gardens.
3 - Lamberts Beach is a favourite of ours. It's hard to believe this gem is right within the city limits and yet always so empty. Not only are there magnificent views of whales and dolphins from the lookout, but the mix of sandy beach to the south and rock pools to the north make this a diverse location to spend the day.
4 - Epic hiking trails such as the Kommo Toera Trail and the Wheel of Fire.
5 - Stunning landscapes surround Mackay. If you are craving the country air, it awaits you with just a short drive out of town.
6 - The Blue Water Trail! We love biking this path. Cruise around the city enjoying the mangroves, beach views, botanic gardens and the river.
8 - Cape Hillsborough is amazing any time of day, sunrise with the kangaroos, hiking through the jungle or an afternoon on an empty beach.
9 - Community events, such as Greenmount Heritage Fair, Timberfest, Global Grooves, Illuminate, Mackay Show, Scout Fest, Symphony in the Park, Mechanos - Wings & Wheels, Coast Care Heroes, Little Tribe Festival and many more... there's never a dull weekend.
11 - Fishing Heaven! We didn't think we were into fishing... that is until we tried spear fishing. Spearing takes things to a whole new level, exploring the underwater paradise of the reef! Of course the kids love casting a good old fishing line in to the rivers, creeks and even off the beach... as well as pumping for little yabbies!
12 - The Art Scene! Some of the city's art opportunities include: BASEarts workshops, The Paxton Portrait Prize, Mackay Art On Show Awards, Art Space Mackay Pet Potrait Exhibit, Milton Picture Framers Gallery, The Mackay Art Society Exhibits, and Rock Paper Scissors Art & Design Market. Listen to local musicians; such as: Felix Hadok or check out this fun performance venue Live from The Shack. Enjoy getting creative at the Sit-n-Sew cafe with Hustle and Flo.
13 - The Orchid House is a magical little nook in Queens Park.
14 - The Incredable Tip Shop!! Love how this supports the reuse and recycle philosophy. It's an absolute gold mine for your DIY creations. One man's junk is another man's treasure. Rather than filling our home with the Kmart specials we have been able to design original furniture and kids spaces with bits and pieces from the Incredable Tip Shop. How about that $35 dollar kids Queenslander cubbyhouse made from an old bed, table, window and other scraps.
15 - Dining in Paradise! Enjoy great tastes while simultaneously feeding your soul with the beauty of nature. The Ulysses Garden Cafe at Finch Hatton Gorge, Church Cafe at Pinnacle, and The Old Station Teahouse at Cape Hillsborough will be sure to fill the senses. The gorgeous drives are half the fun! All three source their food from local growers.
For healthy eating you couldn't beat the Ulysses Garden Cafe.
The finger lime cheese cake is unreal as is the pure mango ice-cream!
Enjoy tunes from local musician Rob Wright.
The Old Station Teahouse is a dream for any vintage & garden lover.
Besides delicious high tea options you can enjoy stone fired pizza...
and even visit with the wildlife rescue animals.
Church cafe has amazing iced coffee and desserts!
Don't miss out on their delicious fine dining experience
once a fortnight, prepared by the Sicilian chef.
16 - So many islands to explore! It's amazing how empty the region's tropical islands are. Newry Island is nice and close if you just want a quick get-away. Keswick and St. Bees are stunning!
17 - The Tiger Moth Museum is a great place to take the kids. If you are looking for a special treat, a joy flight in these gorgeous planes is the perfect way to view the turquoise waters.
18 - Wildlife in abundance! You can see wild platypus, kangaroos on the beach, black cockatoos, watch humpback whales breaching or hear their calls while diving... and you might even get lucky and watch baby turtles making their way to the sea.
19 - Night skies that blow your mind! You don't have to drive far out of the city to catch an incredible starry night sky! In fact the stars are quite something even from the lounge-room window in the city. Being close to the coast makes for colourful sunsets almost every night.
20 - Most of all... it is an amazing place to be a KID!! You can be outdoors all year round.
We have lived in Mackay for a year and a half now and it has pleasantly surprised us. What a great place to call home!