I have spent the last week in Mackay as well as three days of the week before. I confess that the last couple of times I had been up here had been flying visits for mediations and on a couple of cricket tours as a young bloke so these last two trips have really been the first times I have been able to run a considered eye over the city.
One gets some immediate impressions of Mackay on the flight and then car ride into town: it is flat, it is by the ocean and it is hot. Well more humid than outright hot but the statment still stands.
It is obviously also though a hub for the mining community with Moranbah not that far away and the travelling suit of many the tradition hue of orange and dark blue that forms most hi-vis outfits for work on the mines.
Having stayed down by the harbour and also in town over the last two weeks I am prepared to say that I actually quite like Mackay. It is a place with a relaxed feel about it coupled with some pretty good restuarants and accommodation that is both reasonably priced and comfortable.
My favourite restaurant in Mackay is Angelos. This is a wonderful Italian restuarant down on the harbour that serves some of the best Italian food I have ever had in one of the most relaxing settings one could find. I have been been back twice in the last two weeks and have had some excellent meals. A particular favourite dish is the gnocci with bolognese: you simply must try it.
I have been in Mackay for work so I have not experienced any of the touristy type attractions around town but, for what it is worth, I think it is a pretty relaxed place that if you were just looking to chill out and relax it would suit you down to the ground.
One final comment: the yard next to the airport is filled with vehicles no longer needed by the mining industry. It fills two, maybe three, football fields. That is a concerning sign, as if one needed one, that the mining bubble has well and truly burst in Central Queensland. One can only hope that centres like Mackay, which have built up infrastructure over recent times to deal with the influx of mine workers does not also burst along with it.
I will be back again next week and no doubt will again be at Angelos for a feed. As I always say: why upset a winning formula?