The prosperity of this go-ahead tropical North Queensland city grew along with the vast sugar cane plantations which have made the region Australia’s sugar capital. One-third of our sugar crop is grown around here, and Mackay has the world’s largest sugar-loading jetty, as well as one of the country’s biggest artificial ports.
You can trace Mackay's fascinating development on the city heritage walk which embraces such 100-year-old, National Trust-listed buildings as the police station, court house and Commonwealth Bank. A visit to Greenmount House, 18km west of the city, gives a glimpse of pioneer life on the land.
In the modern city, heritage buildings sit cheek-by-jowl with sculptures, plaques, mosaic tiles and brilliantly flowering trees and palms which celebrate life in the Queensland tropics. Increasingly, Mackay’s tourism industry is growing in stature as the city promotes itself as a major gateway to Great Barrier Reef islands like Lindeman, Brampton, Hamilton, and the Whitsunday group.
Mackay is 336 km north of Rockhampton.
Festival of the Arts (July), Sugartime Festival (September)
Things to do in and around Mackay include:
Historic Buildings - walk around to see the Commonwealth and National Banks, courthouse, police station, Ambassador Hotel (1937) and Old Town Hall
Artspace Mackay - for local and travelling exhibitions
Queens Park and Orchid House - for floral displays
Entertainment Centre - has a replica of the old Richmond sugar mill
Plane charters and scenic flights - for fishing and sightseeing
Eco-tours - to the Whitsundays
Farleigh Sugar Mill - for demonstrations during sugar crushing season (July - Oct)
Polstone Sugar Cane Farm - tours July to October
Eungella National Park - for butterflies and nocturnal wildlife
Nebo Museum - with art and craft gallery, orchid farm and historic area
Tell me more about the Great Barrier Reef