From the coastal beauty of Clairview… to a morning meet and greet at Cape Hillsborough… plus, a pit-stop out west to some of the most breathtaking views there is on offer… Mackay and the Isaac region really has it all. I mean, why wouldn’t it?
But let’s start in the CBD… a place that’s fast earning its reputation as ‘action central’! Here’s why…Wake House Australia is one of only eight cable wake parks in the country… but don’t be fooled by the tricks – experience is not a requirement here! Even novices get to ride alongside the pros. You’ll be out on the water for hours and quite possibly not even realise. It’s a load of fun.
Of course, if you’re needing a place to stay in town, a great base for your Mackay adventures is Mantra on the Marina… offering views of the tropical blue waters out over the Coral Sea.
It’s also nice and close to a few walking tracks that the locals rave about. Kommo Toera Trail is a short drive from the Mackay town centre… set within a stunning paperbark wetland, the track is a spectacle of ferns and wildlife.
But if it’s marine life you’re here to spot, head to Slade Point and Lambert’s Lookout. This is the place to be when migrating whales breach and play off the Mackay coast… which of course is only for a few months of the year. But fear not, there’s another way you can see them all year ‘round from this very spot.
Bringing this concrete canvas to life was a big community effort – involving Slade Point Neighbourhood Watch and local residents… they are the reason why this quaint seaside town is now on the map… and it’s a beautiful reason why.
They consulted with their Elders on what the mural would look like – and the final plans involved the three elements of sky, land and sea… and the tower brings that together with the cockatoos representing the sky and the land and the whales of course representing the sea.
But the art doesn’t stop there… in fact, it actually spans across the entire Mackay CBD, allowing visitors take on their very own art trail of the region, with its focal point being Artspace.
Their current exhibition In Search of Arcadia is by Ron McBurnie… he’s a Townsville artist who took up a two-year residency in Mackay to really study what this region is all about. He works in the open air to capture the story and essence of a place – you could almost say it’s like a love letter to the region.
Another place with a story to tell is Sarina. It’s copious amount of sugar cane may be a giveaway to its oh so sweet history, but somewhere you can learn more about that is at Sarina Sugar Shed. It’s open 7 days a week where visitors can join an interactive, educational and very tasty tour. You can book online here.
Something else that goes well with sugar… is tea. Travel about an hour north of Sarina and you’ll find yourself in Cape Hillsborough – home to The Old Station Tea House. It once served railway passengers in the Pioneer Valley… but now all you’ll find there is tasty scones and delicious tea.
Nearby is Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park… and when you rise with the sun here you’ll also be joined by the locals – of the furry kind! Like clockwork, this friendly mob of wallabies and Eastern Grey kangaroos greet the dawn each and every day… an experience only to be had in the very spot.
But if one wildlife encounter isn’t enough, the Mackay hinterland has a fauna experience few places in Australia can offer. Eungella National Park is part of Australia’s largest continuous stretch of sub-tropical rainforest… and Broken River runs right through its heart.
You’ll find this wilderness an hour west of Mackay and a misty 686 metres above sea level… if you ask us, it’s perfect weather for snuggling in at Broken River Mountain Resort.
The cute cabins here are right on the doorstep of Australia’s shyest marsupial… the platypus! Our tip: look for rippling on the surface and a spill of bubbles up from the bottom… they’ll then surface for a few seconds where you’ll be able to catch a glimpse.
While the platypus can be a little hard to spot, something that’s prolific further south of this region are crabs… and they can be found all throughout the waters of Clairview.
Brendan Frier was our crabbing guide… he and his family also run BarraCrab Caravan Park… must be in the name, because he’s pretty good at placing his pots. It’s a big-ticket item for the region and one you have to do when visiting.
The other big-ticket item in the area is Peak Range National Park. Travel about 4 hours west of Clairview and you’ll find yourself in Clermont… and what’s a country town without a country motel.
The Clermont Country Motor Inn is close to just about everything… making it the perfect possie to climb the nearby Gemini Peaks! Peak Range National Park is dotted with awe-inspiring summits. We headed up Mount Pollux… one of the two that make up Gemini Peaks… it’s a steady 45-minute climb to the top. The sunset is absolutely worth waiting for.
So, what are you waiting for? Mackay is a short flight from Brisbane, and has something for just about everyone. If you’re keen to learn more and see what else is on the bucket list, see Mackay Region website and Isaac Region website for more.