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Mackay has spectacular rainforests, pristine islands and beautiful beaches but remains less touristed than other Queensland coastal towns. There is plenty to like about this thriving community with palm-lined streets which is located half way between Brisbane and Cairns.

Most visitors arrive by plane to avoid the 12 hour non-stop car trip from Brisbane. Mackay enjoys mild, sunny winter days and hot summers although it is not always possible to swim due to marine stingers.

Where to eat in Mackay

Café La De Da is a groovy cafe serving generous breakfasts and good coffee. It’s also worth a look for lunch (provided you’ve still got room). 70 Wood Street, (07) 4944 0203.

The casually elegant Latitude 21 has an upmarket atmosphere and a beautifully presented buffet breakfast.  Clarion Hotel Mackay Marina, Mulherin Drive, Mackay Harbour, (07) 4955 9400.

Foodspace @ Artspace Mackay is a relaxing place to unwind and enjoy well-priced main meals together with lighter options such as a chermoula chicken wrap or roast pumpkin & dukkah toasted turkish. Funky modern decor and fabulous food. Gordon Street, (07) 4961 9719.

Fish D’Vine serves quality seafood in the heart of Mackay. Dine in and people watch or take away and enjoy your meal by the river or beach. You’ll also find Rum Bar at Fish D’Vine serves rum from Guadeloupe to Guatemala and everywhere in between.  Cnr Sydney & Gordon Streets, (07) 4953 4442.

The name may not appeal to everyone but the dining experience at Burp Eat Drink certainly will. First rate service, innovative Mod-Oz cuisine and access to over 2000 cellared wines makes for an impressive night out. 86 Wood Street, (07) 4951 3546.

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Things to Do in Mackay

Take a free guided tour of the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens which are located 3kms south of the city centre. (07) 4952 7300.

Visit Artspace Mackay to view the collection and give your credit card a workout at the classy gift shop which sells works by local artisans. (07) 4961 9722.

Go for a swim at one of the 31 beaches that surround Mackay (remember to swim in a stinger net and wear a stinger suit from October to April).

Disclosure: The writer paid for her visit to Mackay.

The Travel Temple has travel guides for Toowoomba, Hobart, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton, and Hervey Bay.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.