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A Guide to Mackay
Know Before You Go
- Plan your budget. A hostel dorm room in Mackay costs AUD 25-35 per person per night. A stay in a hotel or B&B will set you back AUD 130-250 per night.
- Go to Eungella National Park. It's one of the oldest subtropical rainforests in the country and is an ideal spot for hiking, seeing platypuses and swimming underneath waterfalls.
- Protect yourself from the sun. If you're visiting Mackay, you're going to be spending a lot of time in the sun. Keep yourself protected by wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen while outside.
- Attend the Mackay Show. It's a three-day fair that's held every year at the end of June. It includes classic carnival rides, games and tons of delicious food.
- Hire a longboard for the day. You can pick one up from the Urban Wave Surf & Skate shop or Troppos Skate N Scoot. Mackay has a ton of places around town where you can get your adrenaline rush.
Getting Around Mackay
- Walk around town. Mackay's CBD is easily explored on foot. You'll be able to see most of the city's sights, restaurants and shops if you can handle the heat.
- Hire a bicycle. While there aren't a lot of routes throughout the city, work is underway to expand the network. The longest one runs from the west side of the town to the Canelands shopping area.
- Take the bus. Mackay Transit Coaches operates a local bus service throughout the city and to surrounding suburbs.
- Grab a taxi. You can call ahead to request your ride or go to one of the taxi ranks within the city.
- Rent a car. If you want to explore more than just the CBD, you'll need a car to get around. Rentals can be found at the airport or from businesses within the CBD.
When is The Best Time to Visit Mackay?
The best time to visit Mackay is from June to October. It's dry season, and there is little chance of rain ruining any outdoor activities. While the days are warm, the nights can get chilly and reach temperatures as low as 4C.
You'll also be in time for whale season (July to September). Humpback and pilot whales make their way down the coast, making it a prime time to see these creatures from a boat or the shore.
The Mackay Festival of Arts takes place in July. It's an excellent event to plan your holiday around, and you'll be rewarded with art exhibitions, wine and cheese tastings and stand-up comedy.
The rainy season starts in November and ends in March. Mackay experiences strong storms which might put a damper on your plans. Despite the less than perfect weather, it's still the most popular time to visit the city. Make sure you book your flights and accommodation well in advance.
Airports in Mackay
Mackay is a major regional airport in Queensland. It's the 14th busiest airport in Australia and operates flights to Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville, Hamilton Island and Cairns.
Getting To and From Mackay Airport
There is a bus that runs to and from the CBD. Take Route 303 at the airport; it runs eleven times during the week and four times on Saturdays.
Take a taxi to your hotel. A single trip costs between AUD 20-30. The ride takes 10-minutes, and you'll find the cabs waiting outside of the arrival terminal.
There are also private airport transfers you can book before or after you arrive.
Prefer having your own set of wheels? There are car hire rental desks in the Arrivals Hall area.