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Mackay is a town surrounded by vibrant rainforest and bright beaches, meaning there are plenty of activities ideal for families. But just in case you’re at a loss of what to do, we’ve compiled a selection of free things to do in Mackay that might just make it onto your must-see list.

1. Bluewater Lagoon

This is a fantastic place for you and the kids during the hot summer months. With lifeguards on duty every day of the week and a shallow area at one end of the lagoon, it’s an enclosed space (with no jellyfish!) for your family to enjoy. And don’t forget to check out the water playground with a drop bucket! It even has shade sails to keep your kiddies sun safe.

2. Artspace

This local art gallery is the centre of culture for Mackay. It has pottery, prints and canvas works. Add that to the bonus air conditioning and gluten and dairy free options at the Foodspace café, and you just might be inspiring your family into doing some creating!

3. Jubilee Park

If what you’re looking for is a nice shady space to run around on, Jubilee Park has your back. The fig trees and well-kept landscape would make this an enjoyable stop for your lunch, before you head over to the city library nearby.

4. Dudley Denny City Library

Open every day, the city library is a good location for relaxation! The children’s section is bright and features an elevated reading pod, which is sure to get your little one hooked into the books. And if that’s not your style, there’s plenty of other cosy nooks and comfy couches to take advantage of.

5. Mackay Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens are a great location if you want to go out and let off some steam. With a café, pathways circling grassy areas, and butterflies and birds flapping around plants, there’s something here for everyone.

6. Mackay’s Northern Beaches

About 20 minutes from the CBD, parts of the Mackay coast like Blacks Beach, Eimeo Beach and Bucasia Beach are great locations for an afternoon stroll. The sunny weather, soft sand and beautiful views are sure to excite your family. It might be best to keep your little ones out of the water though, as jellyfish could be floating around.

7. Iluka Park

Known as Town Beach to the locals, this cheery spot is fantastic for a picnic. It has shelters through the grounds, and an all-abilities playground. A sure-fire way to let your kids have fun while you relax within viewing distance!

8. Cape Hillsborough – the Diversity Boardwalk

If you’re looking for something a little more involved, this boardwalk would be the ideal location. It’s shady and has an even surface suitable for everyone to walk along. It shows the diversity of nature and has pram-friendly paths for the first 300 metres of the 1.2km stroll.

9. Queens Park

Queens Park is another perfect spot which may take your fancy. It boasts a fun playground with swings, a skywalk, slides and a mouse house. There’s plenty of grass to run around in as well, meaning you’re guaranteed to have worn out kids by the end of your day.

10. Platypus watching

If you’re looking for a full day activity, then Eungella National Park might be a good place for you. It’s known as the best spot in Australia to see a platypus, and is sure to keep your little ones involved. The hour-long drive may be a stretch, but the gorgeous rainforest and walking tracks make this trip well worth it.

Feature image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland. Photographer: Mark Clinton.