This year the ArTour Regional Presenting Showcase was held in Mackay, so I got the opportunity to travel north for business, and also enjoy a bit of time in the sun by the pool as well. Mackay is like a pretty traditional Australian country town, and for much of the time I spent there I couldn’t help but think of other towns I’d been to (like Echuca.) A combination of sugar farming and mining puts Mackay on the map, and sadly with resources drying out the population of Mackay is now dropping significantly.
We stayed at the Clarion Hotel Mackay Marina which was actually about a 10-15 minute taxi ride out of the main part of town, by a gorgeous little Marina. The hotel was tastefully appointed, had biscuits on the counter at reception and a pool that we were definitely going to make use of. By the marina was a series of restaurants including a fish and chip shop that we were told did the best fish and chips in town. So we had to try them.
We nibbled down seafood and potato whilst admiring the many boats in the marina whilst sitting in the shade of the lighthouse. The Marina area was very pleasant and quiet. Being set so far from the main part of town made it a nice place to escape to after pitching sessions and business, which was the primary purpose of the trip.
We also experienced some shady characters in town, so it was nice to escape to the Marina to get away from them.
There’s plenty of new development happening in Mackay, evidently from mining related money, including ‘high rise’ apartment complexes and hotels. The Convention Centre where we spent most of our time was huge, with various different spaces catering to all sorts of needs, from small intimate theatre spaces to large convention halls (and the catering was GREAT!)
Down by the river at the top of the town, where a number of new apartment developments were happening, was a fantastic public pool called ‘The Blue Lagoon.’ Somewhat like the lagoon in Brisbane, this oasis was a great escape on what was turning out to be quite a hot day. There were a number of pools, a children’s water park area, a water slide, cafe and plenty of parkland to enjoy. It was definitely a great addition to the town, and I’m sure it’s very popular spot.
We also spent a decent amount of time at Mackay’s giant shopping centre, the Caneland Centre. An evidently modern structure, Caneland looked as though it was a modern Westfield, with plenty of fancy architectural tid-bits that really fancied it up. Plus there was a huge selection of shops, both a Coles and a Woolworths (and possibly an Aldi), there didn’t seem to be anything missing. Even the food court had McDonald’s, KFC and a Red Rooster. Hollie and I geeked out at Gametraders and got some more Disney things for our collection.
Mackay is also home to a number of Art Deco buildings, the council has made a guide to the properties, but they’re pretty easy to spot as you wander the streets.
After seeing pretty much all of what there was to offer in town Hollie and I headed for the movies before taxiing back out to the little airport and heading to Brisbane. To this point it’s the furthest north we’ve been in Australia, and whilst I wouldn’t rush to recommend anyone go to Mackay, it was a nice little trip away, and I could certainly return to that hotel! Don’t forget your bathers!