Everyone knows locals have the best tips and tricks for travellers...after all we know our town like the back of our hand! Read on...you know you want to.
1. Pies for days
If you want to feel absolutely exhausted but also like you've well and truly made the most of your Sunday - head for a drive up to Finch Hatton Gorge in the Pioneer Valley for a hike and swim. It's also pretty much compulsory for locals to stop in at the Pinnacle Pub - sunburnt and still wearing togs - for a pie, peas and gravy on your way home. You're guaranteed to see someone you know there at lunch time on a Sunday, but hey, everyone else will look as dishevelled as you. The quality of your afternoon nap after a long day in the car will be worth the effort.
2. The older the pub, the better
Sometimes you don't need a nightclub to have a good time, in fact, Mackay's oldest pubs are attracting quite the crowd of locals lately. There's nothing quite like being squished in between hoards of people and music so loud you have to lip read, right?....Wrong. Say hello to spacious dance floors, outdoor seating, live bands and friendly bar staff. Popular spots are Langfords Hotel, The Duke of Edinburgh in Walkerston, The Leap Hotel and the General Gordon Hotel in Homebush.
3. Rockpool chasing is a part-time job
Locals are all about finding new rockpools, and we are pretty good at it to be fair. You're not a true local unless you've visited the Wishing Well at Lambert's Beach, a hidden gem on par with the rockpools you can find on the Sunshine Coast. Situated at the little beach to the left of Lambert's Beach Lookout, you will need to wear shoes to climb along the rocks where the rockpool is located. Snap a photo during your visit and tag @visitmackay...this is Instagram-worthy we can assure you.
4. Park picnics are a vibe
If your Instagram feed seems like it's full of girls sitting on vintage picnic rugs with cheese and wine...that's because it is. Luckily in Mackay there are dozens of stunning picnic locations fit for a birthday party, celebration or romantic date and with the help of local businesses like Boho on the Go, you too can #postyourpicnic. Some go-to picnic spots (whether you are on a DYI budget or not) include:
- The green grass hills overlooking the ocean next to Lambert's Beach Lookout. Just to the left of the road before you reach the lookout carpark.
- Shoal Point lookout. A grassy hill with the most stunning views of palm trees and the ocean. Located on O'brien Esplanade, via Denman Street.
- Eimeo Beach. With shady trees overhanging the sandy beach and grassed areas along the esplanade, this is a perfect beachside location.
- Queens Park has had recent upgrades and is looking spectacular. There are plenty of stunning green grassy spots underneath big shady trees for you to sit.
5. Wallabies are locals too
Yes, wallabies are one of Mackay's biggest attractions especially when you can watch them in their natural habitat as opposed to a zoo. Not only will you spot dozens of wallabies every morning on the beach at Cape Hillsborough, but you will also see them while hiking in the area, lounging around inside Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park and on nearby beaches in the Seaforth area. Some other great locations to spot a family of wallabies include Cape Palmerston, Notch Point, Carmila and inland towards Mt Britton campground and Dysart. You can definitely cross 'selfie with a wallaby' off your bucket list after a trip to Mackay.
6. Catch fish, not feelings
Mackay's population has one of the highest rates of boat ownership in the state...in other words, we like to fish. If you want to experience the region in all its glory, a fishing trip is definitely a must. You can catch a tasty feed by casting a line from the shore, but befriending a local with a boat is your best chance at reeling in a big one. Plus, go creek fishing in the Mackay region and you've got a 50 per cent chance of spotting a croc - kinda scary but definitely cool. Talk to the boys at the local Tackle World store for some fishing tips but we recommend trying Victor, Murray and Reliance Creek as well as offshore options like Brampton Island, the shipping channel and Hay Point.
7. Fitness can be fun...sometimes
Even when you are travelling, sometimes all the cafe stops and servo sausage rolls get the better of you and you feel like a good sweat sesh. We've got you covered with some of the best local exercise spots complete with great views.
- Blacks Beach Stairs. You know you're a true local when you've tortured yourself with 10 sets up and down of these bad boys. Located in the park at the end of Bourke Street, the view of the ocean from the top is well worth the pain.
- Andrew's Point Lookout and Turtle Lookout. Work up a sweat in nature as you venture through rainforest and marvel at ocean views. Find the start of the trail at the end of Cape Hillsborough Beach (across from Wedge Island).
- Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens footpaths. The lagoon and gardens make for a picturesque afternoon walking spot and you can even extend your walk by continuing along the Pioneer River footpath.
- Mount Dalrymple hiking trail for a full day of exercise. If a casual afternoon stroll is not your thing, challenge yourself with a six-hour hike to the top of Mount Dalrymple in Eungella - an incredible view you will never forget. Make sure to leave early in the day to allow time to get back to your car before dark. Trail starts at the end of Dalrymple Road.