How to make the most of your time in MACKAY. A 4-day itinerary.
11.00am Fly into Mackay
12.oopm: Grab food supplies
The supermarket is always our first stop. Sugar on road trips means happy children. And when I say children that also includes Courtney, my husband.
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2.00pm: Check-in to The Shores Holiday Apartments
The kids had a ball at The Shores Apartments. Our two bedroom deluxe villa was at the back of the complex and had direct access to a large grass area and Black Beach. The complex also had a fire pit, two pools, and a tennis court.
From December to early March, Black Beach is also home to little turtle hatchlings.
Our apartment was clean and large, and the reception staff were more than accommodating with lots of tips on things to do and see in the Mackay Region.
For dinner, I recommend the Chinese restaurant down the road!
10.30am: Platypus Spotting at Eungella National Park
The platypus can be found at a few different spots. The kids ran to the waterhole left of the Information Centre, so that’s where we ended up. Here you could view him from the water’s edge or from up high on the deck. Our loud Leo found him swimming a fair distance away from us in the middle of the waterhole. He is small and may be difficult to spot so keep an eye out for his bubbles. Perhaps in more quiet times, he comes up even closer.
This was the kid’s favorite part of Mackay, and if allowed they would’ve spent the whole day here. The owners, Dave, and Donna are fantastic, and you can tell they love their job! On the walk up to the start of the Zip-line, they pointed out all sorts of plants and trees explaining what could be eaten, how it tasted and most importantly what should be avoided. The zip-line goes 25 meters above the ground through the rainforest canopy and is made up two sections (total length 340 meters). The first section is all about the speed. How fast can you go? And the second part is slow and about the scenery: spotting the fruit bats, and the running creek below. But in the end, it’s up to you. Leo just wanted to go fast!
Leo needed to double with Courtney as he is only 5 years old. Whereas Chloee could go on her own.
The minimum weight to use the zip-line is 18 kilograms, and the maximum weight is 120 kilograms. The tour last about an hour to an hour and a half.
Tour Times are 10.30 am and 1 pm daily, weather permitting. Booking is essential.
The Finch Hatton Gorge carpark is only 5 minutes down the road from the Forest Flying. Finch Hatton is the place to be on a hot summer’s day. The oversized boulders and the waterhole are a perfect water playground for the kids and adults.
Day 2 is a long day! And how much you get done will depend on the weather and your appetite for activity.
Looking back, I would’ve preferred to stay the night and split the day into two. A day at Eungella National Park and a day at Finch Hatton. Or perhaps I just wanted an excuse to stay at Finch Hatton Gorge Cabins. This place looked amazing. It was set in the beautiful Finch Hatton rainforest along a running creek. We stopped here on the day to grab a quick bite to eat. The owners were super friendly despite Leo being a little loud and naughty. Apparently, they too have a friendly neighbor, the platypus.
6.00am: Sunrise with the Wallabies at Cape Hillsborough
First thing is to check for sunrise times! The wallobies come onto the beach at Sunrise only.
The best time to go is at low tide. The wallabies are not tamed and will hop away when people get too close. The more beach they have, the more likely they are to stay and hang around. Sometimes you won’t have a choice, and you’ll have to go at high tide like us.
Having had said this; the wallabies were more than happy to hang around in the more protected dunes and grassed areas behind the beach, grazing there long after the sunrise.
My favorite of all places in Mackay! Who knew that there were secret paths to be discovered. Wedge Island is accessible by foot at two hours of either side of the low tide. The low tide reveals a secret causeway. Sounds just like a fairytale and a nice story to tell the kids the night before. It’s an easy walk across, on either the sand or rocks. I’d suggest bringing sneakers as some of the rocks are covered in oyster shells.
Walk along the beach to the end of the island towards the cave. There, a path leads to the top of the island. The second tallest rock peak at the upper part of the island holds the most amazing picnic spot!
We spent at least 2 hours here. From up high the kids saw turtles, they looked for shells in the rock pools and played echo games in the big cave.
But for the adults, continue your journey further along the rocks to the Mini Wedge Island. There you’ll find the flower-shaped rock pool.
This trendy garden teahouse was my favorite place to eat. The grounds are beautifully decorated with lots of eclectic bits and pieces. The tables are spread out throughout the garden giving everyone lots of space. Great place for breakfast or lunch! I highly recommend the woodfire pizza!
The kids loved the large avairy, especially the own. And the big fat cat on the rocking chair.
Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 3.30pm. Closed on Public Holidays. Friday Night by booking only.
Take a drive a little further past Cape Hillsbourgh to the small town of Seaforth. Stop at Seaforth Esplanade Reserve, where the kids can go wild climbing a very spectacular climbing tree!
Courtney and I are cursed at fishing. But if you’re luckier than us, apparently this is one of the best spots in Mackay.
Continue north down to Finlayson’s Point Road. This dirt road takes you around to the west side of the beach. This is a great spot for low tide treasure hunting. Chloee was proud of her ginormous crab claw find.
Courtney was in drone heaven. Being able to fly out to the Newry Islands. These ly around 5km out from Seaforth. Their close proximity makes them a very appealing destination for campers and day-trippers.
The Sarina Sugar Shed is a miniature working sugar mill and distillery. Their tours take you through the history of sugar cane cutting, collecting, and extracting. But most importantly at the end, they offer a nice array of samplers. You must try them all: cooking sauces, liqueurs & ginger beer, ice cream, chutney, rum, and the kid’s – favorite fairy floss.
Open 7 days 9am – 4pm
Four Tours Daily at 9.30am, 11.00am, 12.30pm and 2.00 pm.