Mackay, pronounced Mack-eye, is about half way along the coast of Queensland, and referred to as both northern and central, as a result. It is a huge sugar-producing area, responsible for about a third of the country’s total sugar. For people who come from a much drier state, the sight of the green fields is wonderful, and when they are set alight at night it’s impressive, if the smell of smoke takes a while to ignore.
The very specific farm equipment, too, was fascinating and we didn’t mind when we had to stop and wait while a train went through.
However, when you search things to do in Mackay, the return list is quite brief. Fortunatley, the Botanical Gardens is mentoined, so we stopped there en route to our next destination.
The small carpark shouldn’t put you off, as the many ways in, via attractive walking paths, herald plenty of street parking. The entrance is wide and clearly signed, and sunny enough to bring in some local pythons. I wouldn’t have noticed them if people weren’t walking around, casually pointing them out. It appears that they are very common in people’s yards up here.
You can enter via the cafe and opt for a tour or go straight through to the information board, looking out over the wetlands and letting you know that the Gardens are still in a developmental stage.
There are two main directions to take, left or right, and we took the right, only to find there were further choices as we went along. Many people were using the paths for exercise and arriving from outside the Gardens. It wouldn’t matter which way you went, as the gardens are very pretty and accessible.
There’s a variety of birdlife and plants and the path is easy and accessible for wheelchairs.
A very pleasant place to visit and lots of shade, but always take a hat and water.