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Do you want to do see some of the amazing things Mackay has to offer but also want to have the kids home and in bed by 7:00pm? Check out these great ideas for fun family day trips to take from Mackay with the kids that won’t keep you out past dark.

1. Sarina Sugar Shed

36 mins via Bruce Highway A1

Did you know that Mackay is home to the second largest sugar milling company in Australia? Whilst it might not seem exciting, a trip to Mackay’s Sarina Sugar Shed is sure to change your mind. They offer a Taste of Sugar tour which will engage and inform the whole family. Learn all about growing, harvesting and crushing cane, all from their miniature replica sugar mill.

And that’s not even the best part. You will have a chance to taste freshly made sugar through an array of food and drink, YUM! This tour is a great interactive learning experience for adults and children alike, especially for Mackay locals.

2. Finch Hatton Gorge

1 hour 3 mins via State Route 64 and Mackay Eungella Road

A natural formation of volcanic boulders, Finch Hatton Gorge is one to tick off the bucket list. Trek amongst unique wildlife, vegetation and flora. You can also cool off at the various rock pools which along the way.

If you’re feeling up to it, conquer the 300-step path to see the Wheel of Fire. It’s a secluded swimming hole and waterfall just awaiting your arrival. In the rainy season, watch out for water crossings as they may be difficult for small children to cross.

3. Cameron’s Pocket

52 minutes via Bruce Highway A1

Cameron’s Pocket Swimming Hole is another of Mackay’s well-kept secrets. A beautiful blue pool of water surrounded by luscious rainforest can be found to the right of the Wintermoon Camping Grounds. Don’t forget to make a stop at Ballantyne’s Strawberry Farm on this trip to pick your own punnet of strawberries between June and the end of September.

Otherwise, strawberry flavoured treats such as jam, ice-cream, crepes and more can be picked up all year round, YUM!

4. Airlie Beach

1 hour 47 mins via Bruce Highway A1

Famous for its white sand and blue water beaches, Airlie Beach really is a tropical paradise. If you happen to visit on a Saturday, be sure to head to their local markets to pick up unique produce, crafts, jewellery, clothes and more. There are also multiple shops and boutiques located on the main street for all the ladies that need to get their shopping fix. Otherwise, sit back and relax by the lagoon and take advantage of the free barbecues for an easy family lunch with a view.

Conway National Park is also located just minutes from Airlie Beach and offers pristine waterfalls, swimming holes and lookouts which ascend from walking trails throughout the rainforest.

5. Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens

7 mins via Bruce Highway A1/Nebo Road A1

Located just 10 minutes away from Mackay city, the beautiful Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens has so much on offer for the whole family. Start your day off with a delicious breakfast from the Botanic Gardens Café, or you can grab a coffee to go. On a Saturday morning, join the meditation and relax sessions in the surrounds of nature – the name speaks for itself.

Otherwise, take advantage of the self-guided kid’s activities which becomes a fun learning platform for children whilst they explore the gardens. You can also do a self-guided walk which allows you to take in the beautiful scenery at your own pace (it’s also wheelchair accessible).

 6. Cape Hillsborough National Park

40 mins via Yakapari Seaforth Road and Bruce Highway A1

If you are around Mackay, you won’t want to miss the chance to bask in the serenity of Cape Hillsborough National Park. Head to the beach at sunrise to watch the wallabies and kangaroos come flooding in to feed at the water’s edge.  At low tide, explore the many rock pools that form along the beach where you’ll find all kinds of aquatic wildlife.

You might also enjoy venturing up one of Cape Hillsborough walking trails where you will see butterflies, birds and beautiful views.

7. Eungella National Park

1 hour 17 mins via State Route 64

Famous for its diversified wildlife and fauna, Eungella National Park is a serene escape that the whole family can enjoy together. Eungella has plenty on offer, such as 22km worth of walking tracks throughout. With the walks ranging from 30 minutes to full days, there is one suitable for every fitness level. Take in the pristine views that extend out from any of the walking tracks.

Plus, Eungella is known as one of the best places in Australia to spot wild platypus in their natural habitat so remember to keep an eye out.

TIP: You are more likely to spot a platypus in the early morning or late afternoon, and they love to make appearances in cloudy weather.

8. Cedar Creek Falls

1 hour and 44 mins via Bruce Highway A1

Located between Airlie Beach and Proserpine, Cedar Creek Falls is a breath-taking waterfall which flows into a waterhole perfect for swimming. You can arrive here through taking an easy stroll along the walking path where you will also pass the Cedar Creek Falls lookout. Be warned, you will be swimming with fish, turtles and lizards in here.

9. Platypus Beach

36 mins via State Route 64

Don’t be deceived by the name, Platypus Beach is actually a freshwater river tucked away into the cane fields in Mirani. This river is great for a number of purposes such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, stand up paddling and more. A barbecue and picnic area are conveniently located on the road down to Platypus Beach. You can set up a delicious lunch while you watch the kids swim.

Learn something new thanks to the informative signs set up around the area. And of course, keep an eye out for Platypuses are they have been known to swim around the area!

10. Lamberts Beach

15 mins via Slade Point Road

Lamberts Beach is a beautiful beach located a short 15-minute drive away from Mackay. It has all the amenities for a day of hanging out with the family – barbecues, picnic tables, showers, toilets, play equipment and shaded areas for those scorching summer days. During the winter months, many people have spotted whales as they travel up the coast.