Located on the coast of Queensland, The Mackay Region has something to offer everybody. If it’s nature you’re after, try your luck at catching a mighty barramundi or spotting a platypus among the rainforests. Treat yourself to a meal at one of the leading restaurants in the region – you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to delicious, local produce.
A foodie heaven
The food scene in Mackay has long been overlooked in favour of those in Australia’s capital cities, but this regional beauty holds more than just it’s natural attractions. When it comes to delicious and wonderfully diverse delicacies, Mackay is a quiet achiever with world-class dining and drinking destinations.
The fresh produce of this region has been lauded by arbiters of good taste and has picked up accolades at the Australian Food Awards. Whether you want to buy direct from local farmers with real paddock-to-plate experiences or indulge in tantalising degustation created by highly skilled chefs, there is something for everyone in The Mackay Region.
Mackay is becoming well known as a fantastic and diverse food tourism destination, with local farms such as the award-winning Freckle Farm producing their free-range chickens, pastured berkshire pigs, and brahman and nguni cross cattle. There are other award-winning businesses such as Sarina Sugar Shed, now with ‘Hall of Fame’ status, which is notable for its rums, sauces and other produce.
The Mackay Region is also home to a variety of seafood, with freshly caught barramundi (a local favourite), and the delicious mud crabs of Clairview, and St Lawrence (supplying five per cent of Sydney Fish Markets total mud crab each year). It all comes down to whether you want to dine like royalty or take the family off the beaten track to experience cuisine at its best.
The Mackay Region has been home to a variety of multicultural tasting experiences for many years, complete with highly trained chefs, so it’s no surprise that it welcomed yet another last year with the opening of Ashtart, a Lebanese-inspired restaurant. This is just another feather in the proverbial hat for The Mackay Region. Other highlights of the region include The Dispensary, known for its wine cellar in excess of 5,000 bottles and its ingenious degustation menu, and Church Café Pinnacle, notable for its authentic Italian cuisine and beautiful setting in a converted 20th-century church.
Visitors also can’t go past Platypus Lodge Restaurant, known for their signature ‘Yodel Burger’ (served complete with an authentic Austrian yodel), and 9th Lane Grind, which offers some of the most beautifully plated dishes in The Mackay Region.
Soak up the culture
Discover historical outback mining towns in The Isaac Region or lose track of time exploring Mackay’s inner city art-deco buildings and public art displays. There’s a world of history and culture just waiting to be discovered in The Mackay Region.
Take yourself on a self-guided heritage walk through the Mackay city centre, which will take about 90 minutes. You can find all the information you need at the Visitor Information Centre. Then, mosey over to Greenmount Homestead, a heritage-listed Queensland homestead and historical collection of more than 20,000 items dating back to the early 1900s. If you’re interested in the art of the region, check out Artspace Mackay, which displays new artwork, and features national, international and local artists. There are also more than 100 permanent artworks on display throughout Mackay’s city centre and Bluewater Trail.
The Mackay Region is also known as the Sugar City Capital of Australia and has a long and rich history of sugar cane farming. Find out more about the large South Sea Islander population at the South Sea Islander Hut at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens or take a tour of Australia’s only miniature sugar mill to get an insight into how sugar cane is harvested, crushed and processed.
Get down with nature
Visitors of The Mackay Region won’t be disappointed by the natural landscape and wildlife of the area. Capture some of Australia’s most iconic animals feeding on the shoreline at Cape Hillsborough Beach (also known as the Casuarina Beach) as the sun rises over the Coral Sea, or spot platypus in the wild at Broken River at Eungella National Park.
Get up close and personal with nature by enjoying one of the bushwalking trails in The Mackay Region. From lush, green rainforests to rugged terrain and national parks bordering the beach, there’s something for everyone – there are even guided tours available throughout the Eungella National Park. After a long day of bushwalking, there’s nothing better than a refreshing swim, popular spots include Araluen Cascades or the Wheel of Fire where you can find spectacular waterfalls and rock pools. Or, if you prefer to stay out of the water, The Mackay Region offers some of the best Barra fishing in the world – top spots in the area include the Pioneer River and Kinchant Dam.