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Lake Barfield

Hay Point, Mackay Area

Lake Barfield is located between the bustling beachside communities of Half Tide and Salonika Beach, near the Hay Point Coal Terminal.

It is a small, picturesque lake which provides peaceful waters for a variety of fish, bird and animal life.

Zealous birdwatchers will enjoy this beautiful bird sanctuary, home to graceful black swans, wondrous white herons and exquisite egrets.

The lake was constructed by the Barfield family, one of the original founding families in the Hay Point Area. The freshwater lake sits on private land, so it is advisable to take binoculars to enjoy the prominent bird life.

Open Times

Note: Open 24 hours a day.

Facilities

  • Car park
Lake Barfield
Hay Point, Mackay Area
Queensland
Australia

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Heart Reef

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Heart Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays, is a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart. Located in Hardy Reef, Heart Reef is best experienced from the air by helicopter or seaplane, as visitors are unable to snorkel or dive there due it's protected status. Many tour companies will combine a scenic flight over Heart Reef with other breathtaking spots in the Whitsundays, including Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. A certain highlight of any visit to the Whitsundays. Heart Reef was discovered in 1975 by one of Air Whitsunday's pilots and is now an internationally-recognised attraction of the Whitsundays and features on many postcards and brochures promoting the Whitsunday region and the Great Barrier Reef. Many an amateur photographer has been amazed by the fact that their own photos look just like the brochures! Heart Reef has been the site of many proposals and declarations of love over the years. If planning on making the ultimate romantic gesture, let your pilot know your plans and they'll be able to help you with some extra flight time over the famous icon.

Smalleys Beach

Cape Hillsborough, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Smalleys Beach is situated approximately 35 kilometres north of Mackay and is part of the Hibiscus Coast. This secluded beach is also located in the Cape Hillsborough National Park and offers limited camping sites. Facilities include toilets, and small secluded sites. Water must be brought with you. Camping is by self registration. A gravel road can be accessed from Cape Hillsborough Road to Smalleys Beach to camping sites. Camping sites have great access to the picturesque beach and walking trails.

Whale Watching on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Humpback Whales can be frequently seen around Keswick Island during their annual migration through the Whitsundays between the months of July to September. Seeing the whales frolicking nearby, or guiding a newborn calf through the protected waters of Egremont Passage, is a truly magical experience. There are many spots on Keswick from which you can watch the whales - be it from the deck of the Keswick Kiosk, from Basil Bay beach or from any of the prominent headlands. If you are watching whales from your boat, be sure to comply with the Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching.

South Cumberland Islands National Park

St Bees Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
South Cumberland Islands National Park encompasses nine islands. Rocky, rugged, hoop pine-dominated headlands stand out from open eucalypt woodland and extensive grasslands of the wind-exposed slopes. Protected coves shelter long, sandy beaches, while deep gullies hide remnants of dry rainforest. Ringed by fringing reefs, many of the islands are important rookeries for flatback and green turtles. Camp at Scawfell, St Bees, Cockermouth, Keswick or Penrith islands. Scawfell Island has basic facilities. Camping fees apply and bookings are essential. Book in advance for school holidays. Take water and a fuel stove. Check restrictions on activities such as spearfishing, anchoring, fishing and collecting.

Bees on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Keswick Island is home to thriving hives of purebred Caucasian bees. Unlike bees on the Australian mainland, these bees are free of many other diseases and are sometimes used as breeding stock for the mainland colonies. The bees were brought to the island in 1986. The bees are supported by aparists, John and Des Covey and Keswick Developments encourages this operation as a means of preserving a valuable part of the natural ecosystem. The Bee Hives can be found on the walking trails towards Langton Point and Connie Bay. Keswick Island honey is available to purchase at the Keswick Island Kiosk, the Mackay Visitor Information Centre and at other stores stocking local produce around the Mackay Region.

Wallabies on the Beach at Cape Hillsborough

Cape Hillsborough, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Cape Hillsborough National Park, approximately 45 minutes north of Mackay, is where you'll find rainforest meets the shoreline, volcanic headlands, eucalypt forests home to koalas and kookaburras and prehistoric rock formations. Cape Hillsborough Beach, also know as Casuarina Beach, provides one of the most iconic Australian photo backdrops, the 'Roo on the beach' at sunrise. Wallabies and kangaroos scour the morning tide for mangrove seed pods, seaweed and coral sand dollars. Enjoy the sunrise as wild marsupials bound up and down the beach. Remember however, that these are wild animals and should be treated as such. Please do not feed the kangaroos and wallabies and ensure to keep a safe distance at all times.

Fairey Reef

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Situated on the Great Barrier Reef, Fairey Reef has a number of excellent dive sites popular with local dive operators. Sites such as Henry's Bommie, Little Fairey Inlet, The Shoals and Tina's Arm are all at Fairey Reef. Henry's Bommie: On the north-western flank of the reef, Henry's Bommie is considered a premier attraction reaching from a depth of 12 metres to near the surface. A narrow gap opens into a cave which is worth exploring but beware the small opening. Inside you may find a huge clam and a resident turtle that is often spotted at night. Circumnavigation of the bommie is the best way to see it all and there is good coral cover and clouds of small tropical fish. Visibility: 10 - 20 metres Diving depth: 5 - 15 metres. Little Fairey Inlet: On the central western side of the reef, this is a classic dive starting at a wall along the entrance to the inlet at a depth of 16 metres. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and fish life is abundant with brightly coloured angelfish, cod, trout and sweetlip often seen. Visibility: 10 - 20 metres Diving depth: 10 - 18 metres.

Hardy Reef

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Hardy Reef, on the Great Barrier Reef off Airlie Beach, is home to the Reefworld Pontoon. There is spectacular fish life with Trevally, Coral Trout, Snapper and a host of smaller marine life as well as Giant Maori Wrasse and a two metre long Giant Queensland Groper that usually congregate for a free feed. Snorkelling is excellent, as is diving off nearby drop-offs where you'll find turtles, reef sharks and barracuda amongst a myriad of other intriguing reef species.

Birdwatching on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Keswick Island is a bird watcher's paradise. The island is home to many different bird species, with sightings of at least 33 different birds documented to date - an impressive variety for an island of Keswick's size. The ground dwellers are easy to spot, often crossing the road up ahead or making their way along the grassy verges as you drive along in your buggy. Curlews and Lapwings will lay eggs just about anywhere, not even bothering to build the most rudimentary nest. Spectacular Sea Eagles and Kites can be regularly seen on Keswick. They build large nests, usually on cliff tops, and are known to re-use the same nest year after year. Notable nests on Keswick have been seen at Langton Point and near Singapore Bay. Eagles' nests are best viewed from a boat. To find out more about which bird species are able to be seen on Keswick Island, visit their website.

Bushwalking on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Bushwalking on Keswick Island is a great way to marvel at the natural treasures that change with the seasons. You can wind through tropical vegetation, climb hills that reward you with spectacular views, or stroll along sandy beaches and fringing reef at low tide. Notable walks include trails to the spectacular Langton Point lookout and to Connie Bay/Sarah Point lookouts - these walks pass the hives of the fascinating honey bees. At the other end of the island, the Coral Gardens Lookout is a nice spot to walk to for a picnic lunch, with majestic grass trees and vast views across to St Bees and beyond. And the rainforest walk to Arthur Bay is often a magical walk through swarms of vibrant blue butterflies.
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