Mackay is a city on the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia, about 970 kilometres north of Brisbane.
One of the first Europeans to travel through the Mackay region was Captain James Cook, who reached the Mackay coast on 1 June 1770 and named several local landmarks, including Cape Palmerston, Slade Point and Cape Hillsborough.
It was during this trip that the Endeavour's botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, briefly recorded seeing Aboriginals. The City of Mackay was later founded on Yuibera traditional lands.
Mackay is home to Port Mackay and is a major exporter of sugar, producing a third of Australia's total sugar. The Pioneer River runs through Mackay with the old town on the southern banks of the river. Victoria Street is the main street in the old town, and runs parallel to River Street and the Pioneer River.
You can find out about the sugar cane industry from the interesting Farleigh Sugar Mill and the Polstone Sugar Farm. Both offer tours between July and December.
Many other attractions are in the southern part of Mackay, as well as some wonderful old buildings which have survived Mackays numerous cyclones. There is a great walk around the various historical sites around the town, which is worth following.
You can also visit the attractive Botanical Gardens which are set within Queens Park. You can also visit the pretty Illawong Fauna Sanctuary which hosts a number of native animals.
There are some great beaches a short distance north from Mackay, including Blacks Beach, Bucasia Beach and Eimeo Beach. Just north of Mackay at Slade Point, is Lamberts Lookout which offers great views along the coast, as well as some other beaches north of Mackay.
Although the beaches are great, surfing isn't really available due to the Great Barrier Reef. However, if you are lucky you may be able to find a break in the reef. (Please Note: These areas are only recommended for experienced surfers, as they can be dangerous.)
If you do want to hit the water, however, diving is another option. There are a number of tours from Mackay out to the Great Barrier Reef. From Mackay several of the islands within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are only a short distance away.
Mackay is also a great place from which to visit the nearby Cape Hillsborough National Park and Eungella National Parks both of which offer fantastic scenery and great walking trails. You can get further information and camping permits for these parks from the Queensland Department of Environment office in Mackay Ph: (07) 4951 8788.
The centre of Mackay is lined with plants and trees, with a wide range of shops. Mackay offers a variety of accommodation within the local area, with many places situated between Gordon Street and the Pioneer River. This is also where you will find many of the restaurants.
Getting around Mackay is fairly simple with two local services around the area, including Mackay Transit Coaches and the Taxi Transit Service. Getting to Mackay is also easy, with several trains and the major bus companies stopping at Mackay. Flights are also available to Mackay from Qantas.