Local’s guide to Mackay

A local’s guide to the best things to see, eat and do in Mackay

Morning radio presenter for ABC Tropical North, Kim Kleidon spends her mornings on air with Mackay locals, chatting about a huge range of topics. We figure that after 14 years living and reporting in the region, she knows a thing or two about where to graze and how to laze in her tropical hometown.

These are the best things to see, eat and do in Mackay.

Can’t beat it breakfast

You can’t beat the service and food at Oscars on Sydney Cafe and Bar. It has a great brekkie menu that steers away from traditional bacon and eggs – you can do that at home! Plus, the couple who own it are super friendly which is always a bonus.

Best coffee

I like a big cappuccino on a Sunday morning and Stellarossa at Canelands Central serve their coffee in not just a huge mug or cup but something that resembles a soup bowl. It’s HUGE and it’s good too. But the best takeaway coffee is definitely at Comet Coffee (eds note: business now closed) on Victoria Street.

Favourite restaurant

Mackay Marina | A local's guide to Mackay

For a special occasion The Church on Palmer is my pick. They have converted a quaint little old church into a restaurant and you have to book weeks in advance to get in. The menu is gorgeous – the food is very elegant but decent sized portions are served. It’s a lovely laid back, romantic place to take a loved one. For something a little more casual I like to head to the Marina for dinner with a view of the water.

Top spot for a tipple

Mojos is a newish bar on Sydney Street with a balcony overlooking the river. It’s an awesome, tropical spot to sit on a Friday afternoon while the sun goes down. And they serve the best free nibblies with your drinks.

Best activity for under $50

Eungella National Park |A local's guide to Mackay

I am hard pressed to find anything better to spend $50 on than a picnic lunch and some petrol for your car. The best things here are free. I would say take the hour drive west to Eungella National Park to walk in the rainforest and spot platypus. I also would recommend doing the harbour wall walk out at the Marina. I do this every morning and always spot dolphins.

Favourite way to spend a Sunday

Kinchant Dam | A local's guide to Mackay

If the weather is good we always grab the boat and jet skis and head for the water. It might be fishing or playing in Kinchant Dam, a freshwater dam about 40 kilometres from here in the Pioneer Valley. If the weather is really great we will head to nearby Keswick Island or further out to sea.

Secret only a local would know

A lot of beaches like Town Beach, Blacks, Bucasia and Eimeo Beach are well talked, about and sign posted, but the best beach to swim at is Lamberts Beach. When the tide goes out at some of the other beaches you need a cut lunch to get to the water for a swim.

Lamberts is a deep beach with rocky outcrops and a bit of surf. It’s great for photographs and you can see Keswick and Brampton Islands from here so it has a nice vantage point to sit and relax. Lifesavers are also on duty so the kids are safe and there’s a play park and BBQ’s too.