Mackay is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, and with direct budget flights from Melbourne with Tigerair, any family can afford a relaxing trip to the Coral Sea. But what many travelers don’t realize is that there is plenty to do in the Mackay region itself – no road trip to Airlie Beach required.
Family holidays in Mackay are all about island paradises and secluded beach camping spots, as well as a combination of the two. Here you will find island destinations as beautiful and exciting as any in the Whitsunday region, but without the crowds and hordes of other tourists trying to mark out their own little space in paradise.
Island Getaways in Mackay
The most popular and obvious choice for an island holiday in Mackay is Keswick Island Keswick is the regions most accessible island as well as the island with the most infrastructure – perfect for the family who wants an island experience but who doesn’t want to spend their whole holiday camping.
You can get to Keswick island by either helicopter, plane or boat. Megaforce Charters offers boat trips to Keswick Island from Mackay. Their main offering is a day trip, however just contact them to discuss tranfers for a multi day stay. If you are lucky enough to have your own boat, there is a mooring area available. You’ll also have the chance to explore some of the more isolated beaches and coves on the island. If you’re traveling on foot then there are plenty of other options for getting about the island and enjoying the beaches and coves. Arthur Bay can be reached by a walking trail at high tide.South Cumberland Islands National Park
The most popular activities on Keswick island are snorkelling and diving, fishing. and whale watching. Connie Bay and Coral Gardens are great places for snorkeling, and if you dive there are a few great shipwrecks in the area and of course, the beautiful coral. Humpback whales migrate through this area with their calves between the months of July and September, and can easily be seen from many places on the island.
Other great islands near Mackay are Brampton Islands National Park and South Cumberland Islands National Park, both great places to explore, but only accessible by private boat at this point.
Camping spots near Mackay
Camping on the mainland is a great alternative to those without a private boat, or who don’t have the time (or money) to organize a helicopter or charter boat to Kesnick Island.
The beauty about the campgrounds near Mackay is that you can camp along beautiful beaches and be almost completely alone. Or head to the Eungella National Park area to camp in a rainforest setting in one of the best spots in Australia to spot wild platypus in their natural habitat.