Cooktown

With bitumen all the way along the 330 kilometre inland Mulligan Highway from Cairns, Cooktown is easy to get to. If you want a more adventurous route, go four wheel-driving along the coastal Bloomfield Track crossing rivers and creeks through World Heritage-listed rainforest and join the highway at the mysterious pile of rocks known as Black Mountain.

Historic Cooktown became a thriving port during the gold rush era after it was discovered by Captain James Cook when the HMS Endeavour hit a reef in 1770. Stroll through the town and you will get a sense of its prosperous past from the handmade stone guttering lining the wide streets and the graceful, well-preserved architecture.

Each June, the landing of Captain Cook and his interaction with the Indigenous Guugu Yimithirr people is re-enacted as part of the three-day Cooktown Discovery Festival. Discover Cooktown's multicultural history at the museum and walk through the cemetery to learn about the hardships endured there more than a century ago.

The fishing in Cooktown is world-renowned with the Cooktown River and offshore reefs yielding tasty species like barramundi and coral trout. Vessels from around the globe arrive each year to chase the legendary black marlin.

Cooktown has a regional airport with regular flights and a range of accommodation from camping to four-star hotels.

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Finch Hatton Gorge

Finch Hatton, Mackay Area
Free Entry
A wonderful landscape of waterfalls, lush flora and volcanic boulder formations make Finch Hatton Gorge a must-see attraction. There are many walking tracks which weave through sub-tropical rainforest.

Hibiscus Coast

Cape Hillsborough, Mackay Area
Free Entry
20 kilometres north of Mackay lies the Hibiscus Coast which includes the delightful seaside towns of Seaforth, Halliday Bay, Ball Bay and Cape Hillsborough. This is the perfect place to find a quiet beach or picnic table and enjoy the sounds of nature.

Ball Bay

Ball Bay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
The picturesque beach settlement of Ball Bay is located 35 kilometres north of Mackay. Ball Bay offers secluded camping on a small grassy campground. The facilities include toilets, cold beach showers, wood barbecues and drinking water, however animals are not allowed.

Crediton State Forest

Dalrymple Heights, Mackay Area
Free Entry
In Crediton State Forest, dry eucalypt forests contrast with lush pockets of rainforest and dramatic views. Tall, ancient rose gums continue to survive and discover scattered relics from gold mining in the 1800s or take a scenic drive along Cockies Creek Road.

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.

Lake Elphinstone

Nebo, Isaac Area
Free Entry
Lake Elphinstone is a natural lake within Nebo Shire. Water skiing is allowed in one section of the lake when water height allows. The lake attracts an abundance of birdlife making bird watching a popular activity with visitors.

Mia Mia State Forest

Eungella, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Nestled in the foothills of the Clarke Range, 20 kilometres from Pinnacle west of Mackay, the Mia Mia State Forest is mostly open eucalypt forest. Bush camping and swimming is available at Captain Crossings on Teemburra Creek.

Connie Bay on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
At the far north end of Keswick Island, Connie Bay is a secluded beach of sweeping white sand, turquoise water and fringing coral. Connie Bay boasts uninterrupted views towards the northern Whitsunday islands.

Illawong Beach

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
A serene and peaceful coastline awaits at Illawong Beach. Kilometres of sandy shoreline as well as off and on dog leash areas make Illawong Beach a popular choice for sunrise strolls. At low tide, the ripples in the sand stretch for kilometres, where small blue soldier crabs can be seen scuttling across the surface.

Mackay City Centre

Mackay, Mackay Area
Mackay is a relaxed tropical city with a cosmopolitan mix of art, architecture and nature. Mackay’s recently revitalised city centre has seamlessly linked central businesses with the attractive Bluewater Quay riverside precinct.
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