The climate is tropical, with daytime temperatures in the coolest month still averaging 22°C, and the coolest nights averaging 12°C. The ocean is also warm year-round. Due to the warm weather, Mackay is noted for its sugar cane industry.
In the last 10 years, Mackay and the surrounding region has seen a massive boom in the coal mining industry with many of its workers and supporting industries setting up shop there. As a result, the cost of living has climbed somewhat and is a source of tension between the very well-paid mine workers and those working in other industries in the town. The town is located by the Pioneer River. It started as a cattle station founded by a Scottish settler called John Mackay.
Mackay Airport (IATA: MKY) is 5km south of the city centre. It has services from QANTAS, Virgin Blue and Jetstar with frequent flights from Brisbane. Qantaslink have services to Cairns, Townsville, and Rockhampton.
Queensland Rail has twice weekly services running from Mackay to Brisbane on the "Tilt Train"
Mackay has a extensive marina which is often the first stop for those exploring the Whitsunday Islands, but no regular passenger ferries run at this time.
Greyhound bus lines have regular services from Brisbane stopping at the airport and in Mackay itself on the way to Cairns and vice versa.
Limited bus services run in the Mackay region. Cars can be hired from the airport by the following operators:
Taxis are available from major shopping centres and individuals can call the service to be picked up from a specified destination.
Bicycles (push bikes) are a good fit for city transportation. Projects are ongoing to expand current bicycle routes, one long route exists from West of the city to the Canelands shopping area.
Drink, with over 2 dozen pubs within the heart of the city and more surrounding it. You can always find a place to roll out of.
The main industries in Mackay region are coal mining and export, and sugar cane growing and sugar milling. Mackay is the "Sugar Capital of Australia". Many use Mackay as a stopping point for lucrative mining work in the Bowen Basin of central Queensland.
Mackay has two major shopping centres
Mount Pleasant (affectionately known by locals as "Mount P") contains major retailers such as
Greenfields is a shopping precinct located across the road from Mount Pleasant. Occupants include:
Caneland Central is undergoing expansion, it is located on Mangrove Road and includes major retailers such as
Mackay has some very fine establishments to tip a quiet ale or two. On the outskirts of town to the north-east along the Bruce Highway are two quaint little pubs; The Leap Hotel and the Farview Tavern. Both are excellent locations for grabbing a counter meal whilst overlooking the agricultural views of the Pioneer Valley.
If it is the beach atmosphere that you seek then head to the Eimeo Pub, located to the North of Mackay perched picturesquely on top of a sea cliff. Slightly closer to town is the Seabreeze Tavern, located at Lamberts Beach, 10 seconds walk from the ocean.
For some topless talent and a very fun long lunch you will need to head into town and visit either; Maguires Tavern or Taylors Hotel. A nipple and a smile always kicks the evening off well.
For the remainder of the night there are several other standard pubs and clubs in town, including; Austral Hotel, Imperial Hotel, Kate O'Reillys (Irish Bar), Blue Heelers, Ryans Tavern, Andergrove Tavern, Mount Pleasant Tavern, Boomerang Hotel and the Spotted Dick.
Remember Mackay has dial a driver, so drive in, drink up and get driven home safely.