Where to eat and drink in Mackay
With bespoke bars, restored teahouses and classic Aussie pubs, Mackay makes an unexpected foodie destination.
To help you navigate, use this guide to the best Mackay restaurants, cafes and bars across the city and beyond.
Botanic Gardens Café – Lagoon Street, West Mackay
Start your day surrounded by tropical and native flora while enjoying breakfast amongst the beautiful Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens. The casual setting makes for a relaxed holiday vibe and you’ll appreciate the traditional, no-nonsense dishes enjoyed on the al fresco deck. The café is also open for lunch.
Order the… lagoons breakfast omelette with your mug of coffee.
Greater Whitsunday Farmers’ Markets – River Street, Mackay
One of the best ways to understand a destination’s food culture and mingle with locals is at a produce market and Mackay’s farmers’ markets is a great place to start your day.
Pick up a coffee and a few treats, and, if you’re staying in self-contained accommodation, grab your fresh fruit and veg here, too. The market is held every Wednesday (7am-11am) at Bluewater Quay.
Buy a… sweet Queensland pineapple for brunch snacking.
9th Lane Grind – Wood Street, Mackay
It has a killer breakfast menu, with mouth-watering lunch options to match. The friendly wait staff at this funky café will help you pick between dishes such as the brisket benedict eggs with beetroot hollandaise, and creamy truffle mushrooms.
You’ll also find plenty of overly indulgent desserts, which is no surprise given that Mackay is one of Queensland’s sugar-cane epicentres. Let’s just say, you won’t want to count calories here.
Order the… KFCB (Kristy’s Fried Chicken Burger) with smashed avocado, kale slaw and sriracha mayonnaise on a charcoal bun. We told you it was trendy.
Austral Hotel and Steakhouse – Victoria Street, Mackay
Queenslanders know a good steak, and a great spot to order a slab is Austral Hotel and Steakhouse. Known by locals as the place to go for premium beef (there are 10 different cuts available), you won’t leave this place hungry.
Afterwards, enjoy a round of pool or catch the cricket on the large screens.
Order the… grazier’s T-bone topped with garlic prawns.
Eimeo Pacific Hotel – Mango Avenue, Eimeo
Perched on the headland above Eimeo Beach, this old pub is a local’s hang-out and a must-visit.
Many come for the ocean views but the bistro menu is a knock-out, too. Think sourdough pizza, prawn gyoza, beef sliders and traditional battered seafood.
Order the… local grilled barramundi with a specialty Eimeo Lager.
The Old Station Teahouse – Cape Hillsborough Road, Ball Bay
Pretty, quaint and classic, The Old Station Teahouse is where you’ll want to take your mum for a Sunday cuppa. A former railway station that was relocated to the rainforest, the teahouse is a lovely spot to call into after seeing the kangaroos and wallabies on Cape Hillsborough Beach (also known as Casuarina Beach). Plus, the kids will love the sprawling gardens.
Order the… Devonshire tea, of course, with a chocolate pecan brownie to go.
Sarina Sugar Shed – Railway Square, Sarina
It’s not your typical place to have a bite, but Sarina Sugar Shed has some more-ish tastings on its tours.
Learn about the sugar mill and distillery, as well as Queensland’s sugar-cane industry, on a one-hour guided tour that includes samples of fresh sugar cane, molasses, sauces, and other goodies such as rum, schnapps and ginger beer.
Also try the… fairy floss, generally reserved for children but who’s judging?
Shamrock Hotel – Nebo Road, Mackay
Relaxed and fun, the Shamrock Hotel is the perfect spot to catch up with mates for dinner and a drink; it even has a sports bar if you want to watch the football.
The hotel was recently refurbished and there’s a new lunch and dinner menu featuring pub-style classics such as chicken schnitzel and parmigiana.
Order the… Shamrock beef cheek pie with peas and creamy mash.
The Dispensary – Wood Street, Mackay
No matter what time of day you’re after a feed or a beverage, The Dispensary, in Mackay City, has you covered. It’s open from 6am so you can grab an early coffee and breakfast, and the kitchen also stays open for lunch and dinner.
Head there in the evening to sample the extensive wine and whisky menu in the stylish, bespoke bar.
Order the… 350g grain-fed prestige black Angus rib fillet to go with your favourite tipple.