7 of the best sunrise and sunset spots in Mackay

It’s no secret that Queensland has a bit of a thing for sunshine, and if you are a photographer or Instagrammer you probably live for the golden hour.

Next in our sunrise and sunset series is the best spots in The Mackay Region, which could arguably have the all-time, must-have Aussie holiday money shot. The reveal is at the end of the post.

1. Shoal Point

Mackay's Lone Tree at Shoal Point. Photo by @garry_norris

Mackay’s Lone Tree at Shoal Point at sunset. Photo by @garry_norris

Perfect for: Capturing #mackayslonetree at sunset.

Location: Hodges Road, Shoal Point, Mackay.

Tips: This is fast becoming one of the must-have photos from The Mackay Region. Snap a pic of #mackayslonetree, located randomly in the waterline at Shoal Point. Plan to stick around a bit longer as there are fantastic playgrounds for the kids and a BBQ area to cook up dinner.

2. Town Beach, Mackay

Town Beach, Mackay by @cherrieflea (left), @stormybeachbelle (top right) & @ckjchambers (bottom right)

Town Beach, Mackay by @cherrieflea (left), @stormybeachbelle (top right) & @ckjchambers (bottom right)


Perfect for: Sunrise and sunset.

Location: Town Beach, Corner Evan Street & Binnington Esplanade, Mackay.

Tips: Go at low tide to capture reflections and the sun shining over the sand ripples.

3. Sunset Bay in Eimeo

Sunset Bay in Eimeo in The Mackay Region. Photo by @cherrieflea

Sunset Bay in Eimeo in The Mackay Region. Photo by @cherrieflea

Perfect for: As the name suggests – sunset.

Location: Eimeo Esplanade, Mackay.

Tips: Sunset Bay is a gorgeous sunset spot as well as a top fishing spot. Why not pair the two together!

4. Eungella National Park

Sky Window Lookout at Eungella National Park. Photo by @garry_norris

Sky Window Lookout at Eungella National Park at sunrise. Photo by @garry_norris

Perfect for: Sunrise views over Pioneer Valley.

Location:  Sky Window Circuit, Eungella Dam Road, Eungella.

Tips: Use the natural frame at the Sky Window lookout to frame your photo over the Pioneer Valley in Eungella National Park. You can also capture the sun as a golden orb as it rises from behind the mountains of the valley.

5. Pioneer River

Sunrise over Pioneer River, Mackay City. Photo by @cherrieflea

Sunrise over Pioneer River, Mackay City. Photo by @cherrieflea

Perfect for: Capturing the golden reflections on the Pioneer River at sunrise.

Location: All along the Bluewater Trail, Mackay City Centre.

Tips: The Pioneer River is one of Australia’s blue rivers, though you can’t really tell at dawn with those golden sparkles! Bluewater Quay hosts many public events and is always a hive of activity.

6. Clairview

Clairview sunrise. Photo by @garry_norris

Clairview sunrise. Photo by @garry_norris

Perfect for:  Sunrise and sunset over the tidal flats.

Location:  Clairview Beach, Bruce Highway, Clairview about 123 kilometres south of Mackay City.

Tips: Low tide is a great time to catch reflections in trapped water puddles and sand ripples.

7. The Mackay Money Shot – Cape Hillsborough

Cape Hillsborough at sunrise with the wallabies. Photos from the top then left to right: @jewelszee @cherrieflea @laurenepbath @kattte_

Cape Hillsborough at sunrise with the wallabies. Photos from the top then left to right: @jewelszee @cherrieflea @laurenepbath @kattte_

Perfect for: This is The Mackay Region money shot of wallabies on the beach at sunrise. Win. Win. WIN!

Location: Cape Hillsborough Beach in front of Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park, Risley Parade, Cape Hillsborough.

Tips: Wallabies come out to the beach at dawn and dusk to feed and play. This is one of Mackay’s essential nature experiences that you need to tick off your bucket list.

Sunrise and sunset photography tips from local instagrammer @cherrieflea

Sunset at Shoal Point. Photo by @cherrieflea

Sunset at Shoal Point. Photo by @cherrieflea

• First light is always well before the sun actually comes up over the horizon, so you need to get up pretty early to capture the changing light.
• If you have no cloud or no subject to break the light you will just end up with a light blowout! So if it’s a cloudless morning take something interesting that you can flare the light around or silhouette.
• Take sunglasses. Your eyes will get sore from shooting that strong first light.
• Take water! Here in Central Queensland it gets quite humid as the sun rises. It is actually more humid at this time than it is later in the morning!
• Take bug spray. The joy of glorious horizons for your sunrise photos can be ruined by pesky bugs.
• Tripods are a must, for sunrise photography especially.
• Smartphone tip: If your smartphone photos are too dark at dawn, change your perspective and move around a few degrees either way to see the difference in the light!
• Take shiny props to make things a bit different. Try bubbles and umbrellas.

More of @cherrieflea’s favourite spots to try:

  1. North Wall for sunrise.
  2. Eimeo Hotel for sunset.
  3. Mackay Harbour Wall at sunset.