Make the most of your time in Mackay and check out these top 5 must do’s that promise a whale of a time!
Renowned for being Australia’s sugar capital as a result of producing over a third of Australia’s sugar, Mackay enjoys a sweet reputation for being close to the Whitsundays and being a magnificent gateway between Cairns and Brisbane.
Mackay is perched on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef close to many tropical island getaways, making it the perfect place to meet in the middle.
Explore our top 5 things to do in Mackay that will have you experiencing the best of the area while embracing nature and the Great Barrier Reef.
1. Bluewater Lagoon
A three-tiered lagoon pool providing a safe swimming haven for everyone, Bluewater Lagoon is located within the Mackay CBD, close to electric barbecue facilities, public workout equipment and a playground on Bluewater Quay.
There are three age appropriate lagoons that vary in depth, including an interactive children’s water playground with a water drop bucket, making the Bluewater Lagoon a great place to play for all ages. There’s a shallow wading pool suitable for toddlers and a feature waterfall that connects the two main lagoon pools, varying in depth up to 1.8 metres deep.
As winter comes to an end and the weather starts to feel hotter again, there’s no better time to take a dip with the kids at Bluewater Lagoon. Although there are lifeguards on-site, it’s always strongly advised that parents keep an eye on their kids.
Admission is free, making this one of the top places to be when you’re trying to not spend and looking for a fantastic way for the kids to enjoy.
The location of Bluewater Lagoon is picturesque, overlooking Pioneer River right in the middle of the Mackay city centre. The facility is open from 9am to 5.45pm during summer (September to March) and 9am to 4.45 during winter (April to May) but is closed from June to September for maintenance.
The area totals three 50m swimming pools, making it a large facility bound to keep everyone happily busy. There’s also a 1.95 metre water side from the top to the middle lagoon.
The facility is fully fenced, providing a safe and secure environment and there’s also the Bluewater Lagoon Cafe for those who want a quick snack, drink or even some ice cream to energise for the day of play ahead.
2. Bluewater Trail
A magnificent trail that includes pedestrian walkways, biking trails, raised boardwalks, environmental areas, activities for kids and young ones, and environmental areas, the Bluewater Trail is the absolute ring of activity in Mackay.
It’s award-winning, featuring the best natural beauty of the region. Must-visit sites on this trail include:
- The Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens
- Sa fly Creek Environmental walkway
- Catherine Freeman walk
- Bluewater Lagoon
- Bluewater Quay that includes two public fishing platforms
- Iluka Park
The Bluewater Trail is aimed to improve community well-being as well as recreational opportunities, providing a mixed-use integration through environmental green space and Mackay’s renowned beaches.
3. Lamberts Beach whale spotting
Witness the majestic annual migration of Humpback whales, Longfin Pilot whales, and Southern Right whales at Lamberts Beach. There’s a whale watching platform giving you the best vantage point to catch the migration in action, or you could always jump on a tour or charter to get up close and personal.
Whale watching season in the Mackay region begins in June or July bearing witness to the mighty humpback whales’ making their move up the eastern coastline to migrate to the Great Barrier Reef.
To get the most out of your whale watching experience at Lamberts Beach, head to the Seabreeze Hotel which overlooks the beach for a versatile and relaxed place to enjoy your time.
Offering delicious meals, thirst-quenching beverages, comfortable accommodation, live entertainment, a games room and a kids playground area, there’s something for everyone at the Seabreeze Hotel.
4. Mackay Botanical Gardens
The Mackay Botanical Gardens is only a short 5 kilometre drive from Mackay City Centre, offering a serene and nature-filled getaway. With lush tropical flora full of Australian native and exotic plants, this young botanic garden opened in 2003 and has been a popular destination in Mackay ever since.
Featuring over 3 kilometres of walking and cycling trails, wetland boardwalks, plenty of birdwatching opportunities, and a unique cafe and gallery nestled high above the wetland lagoons, a day at the Mackay Botanical Gardens will relax and rejuvenate. Feature gardens include the Regional Forest, the Fernery, rare fora in the Shade Garden, and a Coal Garden that traces plant evolution alongside the essential role of coal. Art instalments scatter across the vicinity and information boards with fun facts provide education and entertainment throughout.
5. Artspace Mackay
An inspiration set from the high standards of contemporary art, Artspace Mackay offers three amazing gallery spaces and travelling exhibition programs that are always fresh.
The diverse range of travelling exhibitions come from national and regional collections, also showcasing a curation from the Mackay Regional Council Artists Book Collection.
From art classes and workshops to presentations, performances, as well as lectures and seminars, this cultural venue, thrives in its diverse offerings. It also acts as a venue space for events, while guided tours of the gallery are offered on a regular basis.
Admission to ArtspaceMackay is free and opening hours are from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday to Friday and 10am to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Photo credit: Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens