Many people in Mackay are planning to holiday at home this Christmas and New Years.
Many people in Mackay are planning to holiday at home this Christmas and New Years.

Holiday at home: 17 things to do around Mackay region

It’s been a tough year, with many ups and down, so it’s fair to say everyone is looking forward to a relaxing spell this Christmas and New Years holiday.

Rather than heading away, many in Mackay are choosing a stress-free holiday at home.

And with a plethora of fun and family friendly activities dotted around the region there is plenty right at your doorstep to keep singles, couples and families entertained.

Croc spotting at Constant Creek

If the thought of a monster croc sends shivers down your spine, this might not be the thing for you. Boaties in the area regularly spot resident saltie Burt.

A crocodile spotted at Constant Creek. Picture: Stacey Ackley
A crocodile spotted at Constant Creek. Picture: Stacey Ackley

Stroll through the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens

Just 5km from the Mackay City Centre, the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens is an oasis of tropical flora. Paved walking paths wind through lush palms, wetland boardwalks, and the unique threatened flora of the tropical Shade Garden.

Take a hike around the region

There are a number of hiking treks quite close to Mackay offering various levels of difficulty, not to mention stunning views.

The Leap, Cape Hillsborough, Finch Hatton, Eungella National Park and the Bluewater Trail are just a few. Why not pack a picnic and make a day of it.

The abandoned mining town of Mt Britton provides a fascinating insights into the Nebo region's history. Photo: Mackay Tourism.
The abandoned mining town of Mt Britton provides a fascinating insights into the Nebo region's history. Photo: Mackay Tourism.

Drive the Mining Trail

Mackay to Nebo to Moranbah to Clermont – this 12 hour, 350km round trip has a treasure-trove of historical destinations including heritage-listed pubs to last relics of once thriving gold mining towns. First stop abandoned mining town of Mt Britton, which is 35 minutes east of Nebo before stopping at the beautiful Lake Elphinstone, which is a little further along the Suttor Development Road, then heading for a bevy at the historical pub.

On the way to Moranbah, check out the Coppabella mining town known for a large monument at the entrance. While Moranbah’s Big Red Rhino Bucket always draws a crowd.

On the way to Clermont spare a moment to take in Peak Range National Park. Wolfgang Peak is 572 metres and takes about one hour to climb. Prospectors struck gold at Clermont in 1861. Visit the Clermont Historical Centre, which has more than 8000 artefacts, and the memorial that marks the 1916 flood tragedy.

Have a swim at the Bluewater Lagoon

With three-tiered lagoons and overlooking the Pioneer River, this free facility offers a safe and stinger-free swimming environment. There are also barbecue facilities available and a cafe onsite. Opening hours are 9am to 5.45pm until March.

Go fishing

Wet a line from the shore, or if you know something with a boat, head out on the water to reel in a catch. Mackay is considered a fishing Mecca in the state with options to cast a line on the reef, freshwater stream, rocky headlands, from the banks of a creek or the beach.

A few options are Kinchant Dam, Prospect Creek, Cattle Creek, Sandy Creek and Constant Creek, although if the latter better watch out for the other type of snapper.

Aaron Treloar with a 70cm barra caught at Constant Creek.
Aaron Treloar with a 70cm barra caught at Constant Creek.

Trip to Bowen

Be it for the day or a weekend getaway, beautiful Bowen will not disappoint. Chill by the beach at stunning Horseshoe Bay or Queens Beach, check out the lookouts, stop by the Big Mango or learn about the history of the town at the Bowen Historical Society and Museum.

There is plenty to do from shopping and dining, to sightseeing and relaxing.

Platypus viewing

These elusive, quirky creatures are a huge drawcard. If you’ve never spotted one in the wild, it’s about time to do. Broken River, in Eungella National Park, is a prime location to spot these shy little critters in their natural surrounds. The best times to see them are at dawn or dusk. Remember to stay still and silent and keep an eye out for bubbles. And be patient, platypus can hold their breath for up to 10 minutes.

Platypus at Broken River, Eungella in July 2020. Picture: Rae Wilson
Platypus at Broken River, Eungella in July 2020. Picture: Rae Wilson

Walk to Green Island at low tide

Did you know there are coral reefs within walking distance off the coast? Visit Shoal Point at low tide and you can journey across to Green Island. Along the way you can see coral, shells, starfish and more.

Visit the Leichhardt tree

The Leichhardt tree plays a significant part in Mackay’s maritime history. As thousands of settlers, ships and cargoes arrived in Mackay the tree was used as an anchor for ships to tie to for access into Mackay. Wharves and warehouses were soon developed along River Street and the city grew up around the beautiful blue river.

Bredl’s Wild Farm

Cuddle a koala or see a monster croc up close at this family-run nature park located at Bloomsburry and offers a unique, Australian and hands-on experience. The Bredl family have a lifetime of experience and knowledge when it comes to animals. They will take you on a personal adventure across a 70-hectare property set amid Aussie bushland overlooking a stunning lake. You will be able to cuddle a koala, feed kangaroos and cassowaries, pat a wombat, come face-to-face with an emu, handle a baby croc and more.

The man-made wetlands at the Bredl Wildlife Park at Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith
The man-made wetlands at the Bredl Wildlife Park at Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith

Visit the Wishing Well at Slade Point

Take a dip in the magical Wishing Well Rockpool at Slade Point. The small pool can be easily found on the beach to the left of the Lamberts Beach lookout.

Day trip to the Whitsundays

Just a two-hour drive up the road, picturesque Airlie Beach and the beautiful Whitsundays await. Stop by Cedar Creek Falls for a dip before heading into the town’s main strip for a feed. Or jump on one of the daily ferries and head out to the islands.

View of Wedge Island from one of the Cape Hillsborough walks, north of Mackay. Picture: Rae Wilson
View of Wedge Island from one of the Cape Hillsborough walks, north of Mackay. Picture: Rae Wilson

See the rock pools of Wedge Island

The Wedge Island rock pool is a well-kept local secret. The pools, located just off Cape Hillsborough, are accessible during low tide. Take the time to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of this island and take a dip in the pool.

Bird watching at Sandfly Creek Reserve

Whether you are a beginner or you have been doing it for years, Sandfly Creek is one of the best places to spot a variety of birds. Keep your eyes peeled for the Eastern Curlew, Mangrove Honeyeater or a Brown Quail. You can access the area from the eastern end of River or East Gordon Street.

Camp out at Seaforth

It is considered one of the most picturesque spots in the Mackay region, against a backdrop of sea, sun and sand. It is also one of the most popular recreational fishing spots. Have a boat, why not go check out the Newry Island group. Otherwise there are facilities including a bowls club and swimming enclosure, or just take a book and enjoy some you time. The caravan and camping area is located right on the beach.


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