Mackay is a relatively underdeveloped city with pristine natural surroundings including the Eungella National Park, the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. Visitor numbers are picking up and the tourism industry has a lot of potential here.
Mackay has 31 beaches within driving distance and the islands just off Mackay are renowned for their sparkling blue waters and great fishing.
Some of the recent developments in the city include the transformation of River St, which now has cafes, space for weekend markets, stage areas and an upgraded fishing jetty.
The Mackay Regional Council also initiated the Bluewater trail project, which encompases over 20km of bikeways and pedestrian paths linking numerous tourism attractions including the Regional Botanic Gardens, the Bluewater Quay and the Bluewater Lagoon, a family-friendly leisure facility overlooking the Pioneer river. Mackay experiences a humid, subtropical climate with the wet season starting in December and bringing with it almost daily rainfall, high humidity and very warm nights.
The verdict: The tourism and marine sector potential in Mackay is strong and it will likely continue to develop into a thriving tourist hotspot. For now, it's a quiet city that offers a laid back lifestyle with fantastic natural attractions right at its doorstep.
What are the prominent industries?
The two biggest sectors in Mackay are mining and sugar. Multiple mining service companies have set up a base in the city due to its proximity to the mines and major transport lines.
What is the area famous for?
? Mackay is known as the gateway to the Bowen Basin coal mines in Central Queensland, where there are around 30 operational coal mines extracting over 100 million tonnes every year.
? Mackay used to be known as the 'sugar capital' of Australia as the area used to produce up to a third of Australia's domestic sugar supplies and exports, although the industry experienced a decline in the 2000s.
? The Mackay Festival of Arts, now more than 20 years old, is the largest regional arts festival in Queensland.
The Mackay Regional Local Government area has a population of over 120,000 people and is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Queensland.
Some key landmarks in the area:
? In Queen's Park the Rats of Tobruk Memorial stands as a commemoration for those who died at and since the Battle of Tobruk. The memorial was dedicated in 2001.
? Adjacent to the Mackay Harbour is the Mackay Marina Village. It has around 500 berths and is home to the Clarion Mackay Marina luxury hotel and a large village of luxury residential apartments.
? The Mackay Town Hall is a beautiful historic building built in 1912. It is now a welcome centre assisting new residents.