Mackay city is a vast array of colours and activities with no pretentiousness, with some pineapple thrown in. Named after the explorer John Mackay, who travelled north from New South Wales and charted the area and its river, this big town hosts a number of attractions. The big draw is Artspace Mackay, one of regional Queensland’s best art museums, but there are certainly other things to do – from dinging alfresco at the new marina to taking a tour of the sugar cane fields surrounding this tropical town. There are no less than 31 beaches within a relatively short driving distance, nearby Eungella National Park houses families of platypuses, and there are also the highlights of the Fitch Hatton Gorge. With so much to do, it’s no wonder that backpackers tend to stay in Mackay for a couple of days.
Since opening in 2003, Artspace Mackay has become one of regional Queensland’s finest museums, with a sizable collection of both artwork and artists’ books. Through donations given by artists and patrons the museum has managed to build up its collection to a surprisingly large size for a non-urban art museum. Even the building in which the museum is housed is an incredible art piece, serving to question the role of architecture as sculpture.
Admission is free to this amazing museum located on the edge of city centre, open from 10AM-5PM Tuesday through Sunday. If you’re done looking through the local and visiting works, you can head on in to an art workshop and learn a few art tricks for yourself, or head into Foodspace, Mackay’s in-house café, for some fantastic treats. They’ll also have information about some of the other museums in the area, so definitely ask them for more information.
The Mackay Hinterlands are just chock full of fantastic sights, from Eungella National Park to Fitch Hatton Gorge. Visit the Pioneer Valley and see for yourself why it’s a mistake not to visit this fantastic part of regional Queensland.
Artists will love this big town, from Artspace Mackay to the different art deco buildings that are scattered throughout Mackay’s CBD. For those that are more eco-inclined, the Regional Botanical Gardens and its Tropical Shade Garden are perfect examples of beautiful plant life.
For a listing of tours in Mackay, use the widget to the left. Look up “Mackay” as the Destination after putting in “Queensland” as the state designation.
Mackay has a number of accommodations to offer, but the budget ones are on the skimpy side. Gecko’s Rest is a great hostel located in Mackay, but it tends to fill up quickly like all the other places to stay in Mackay (due to a steady stream of mine workers), so make sure you book well ahead of when you’re going.
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