School Holiday Activities in Mackay Summer 2023

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In the search for holiday fun with the family, it can be difficult for parents to think of great school holiday activities in Mackay – we have you covered! With all the hard work parents do during the school term, it can be so easy to lose track of time and miss out on kids school holiday activities. So whatever kind of holiday fun you and your family love, there are sure to be some things to do in the school holidays in Mackay for you!

Mackay has got so many things to do with kids locally, and the time is coming to make the most of it. Get out your backpacks, slap on your hats, and bring on the fun while you try out as many of these ‘must-do’ December & January school holiday activities as you can!

No matter what age your kids are, or what type of school holiday fun you most enjoy, there is definitely something for you to find. So instead of staying in these holidays, get out and make the most of all the available school holiday activities in Mackay!

We have compiled the complete guide to the best school holiday activities in Mackay over the December & January school holidays to help make your life so much easier!

State schools finish on Friday 8 December 2023 and return to class on Monday 22 January 2024.

Summer school holidays in Queensland are Saturday 9 December 2023 to Sunday 21 January 2024.

Fun things to do for the Mackay school holidays

We have broken our list of Mackay school holiday activities into five sections to help you:

As with everything at the moment, please check with the venue directly (either by their website or social media pages) to ensure they are open during the times you wish to attend. You should also check their current policy around advanced bookings, entry requirements and timings.

Ideas to escape to the country

Taste Farm Life these school holidays

If the hustle and bustle of everyday life is getting you down, school holidays are the time to escape—to the country! Treat your family to a taste of farm life with a getaway to the hidden gems of regional Queensland. This year we’re encouraging Queenslanders to get off the beaten track and visit some farms that are further inland.

Queensland farms offer so many adventures that will appeal to your kids, like fruit picking, farm stays, farmers’ markets, animal interactions and food sampling. While our rainforests, beaches and reef are spectacular, why not learn something new and try a farm or food event.

Check out these articles to Taste farm life near Mackay:

Visit the Department of Agriculture website for some holiday inspiration, farm and food adventures, and upcoming events and festivals.

10 fun free school holiday activities

Holiday fun doesn’t need to be expensive… in fact, it can be completely free! When you don’t have the time to worry about bookings, or organising dates and times, why not spend a day doing one of these free Mackay school holiday activities, where you won’t need to worry about a thing?!

Bluewater lagoon  

School holiday activities in Mackay include swimming at Bluewater Lagoon

The Bluewater Lagoon is a free family-friendly facility, overlooking the Pioneer River. On your day here, be sure not to miss: the 1.8m waterfall which connects the two main lagoons, the waterslide, and the children’s water playground! After all this splashing fun, enjoy a bbq at the facilities available, or visit the Bluewater cafe for some snacks, drinks and ice-cream!

Take a look here to find out more about the Bluewater Lagoon

North Mackay Gooseponds 

The Gooseponds in North Mackay is full of popular walking tracks which surround a large wetland lagoon. There are a number of exercise stations along the walk giving fitness fanatics a workout, a variety of bird life to see with the kids, as well as open areas to let the pets off leash! Make sure you spend a day at Noth Mackay’s Gooseponds these school holidays!

Find out more by clicking here

Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens   

The Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens showcases the flora and fauna of Queensland’s Central Coast Bioregion. Featuring tropical rainforests, wide sweeping beaches, mangrove lined waterways and open eucalypt forests, there’s so much to see! Be sure to visit the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, and don’t forget to bring your camera to capture your family’s day out!

For more information about the Mackay Botanic Gardens click here.

Kangaroo and Wallaby Sunrise at Cape Hillsborough   

Cape Hillsborough is renowned for its spectacular beach sunrises… now pair that with Kangaroos and Wallabies wandering on the sand in the morning!  It’s a sunrise like no other! Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Wallabies make their way to the beach front each morning to feed on seaweed and mangrove seed pods so you’re very likely to see them. This Australian animal experience, combined with a beautiful colour-filled sunrise will make for an unforgettable start to the day with your family!

Discover Cape Hillsborough and click here

Lamberts Lookout  

Lamberts Beach in Mackay with the north wall of Mackay Harbour in the background.

At just a five minute drive from Mackay Harbour, Lamberts Lookout provides an excellent view of the magnificent coastline, where – during migration season – you might even see some passing whales! With picnic tables and barbecue facilities overlooking the beautiful Slade Bay, it makes for a wonderful beach barbecue dinner with the family. Make sure you get to Lamberts Lookout  in Mackay over the school holidays!

Find out everything you need to know about Lamberts lookout here.

Mackay visitor information centre 

If you’re a first time visitor to the Mackay Region, make sure your first stop is to one of the Visitor Information Centres. The friendly staff and volunteers will advise your family on the best things to see and do in and around the area. This Information Centre is also a licensed travel agent, which can make accommodation, attraction, travel and tour bookings for you, to avoid the stress involved in holiday planning!

Click here for more

See some Platypus at Broken River

Home to one of the most reliable spots in Australia to spot a Platypus in the wild, Broken river is an excellent spot to see them swimming in their natural habitat! Make sure to stay quiet and still, and keep your eyes peeled for bubbles on the water’s surface for the best chance of spotting some Platypus… you might also see turtles and other wildlife while you’re there!

There’s more here than this though, with 22 kilometres of walking trails in Eungella for the exercise seeking families, as well as accommodation, restaurants and cafes! You won’t regret a day spent with your family at Broken River.

See all there is on offer at Broken River

Queens Park

Go down with the kids to Queens park: the biggest and best playground in the region! Including updated play equipment, picnic areas and landscaping, Queens park is a great place for a family day out!

Visit Queens Park’s website to find out more


This regional art gallery is full of great art works to see, and provides its visitors with access to ever-changing exhibitions, kids workshops, art classes and more! Artspace Mackay’s diverse education program offers creative learning for both children and adults, with interactive activities, tours and talks available to you and your family! Don’t miss out on a fantastic day at Artspace Mackay!

For further details, click here

Harbour Beach  

At only a five minute drive from Mackay’s Central Business District, the beautiful Harbour Beach is one of Mackay’s locals’ and visitors’ most loved beaches! This beach offers multiple fishing locations for families who brought their rods along, and it is also a pet-friendly beach (where dogs are required to remain on their lead). The two nearby park areas have playgrounds, shaded picnic tables, barbecue facilities and public toilets… everything you need for a fun family day out in Mackay!

For more information click here

10 fun cheap school holiday activities

For some awesome and affordable holiday ideas, take a look at this list of fun, cheap school holiday activities in Mackay!

Wakehouse Aqua Park

Aqua Park at wakehouse, Mackay displays alamn array of fun water play zones, designed for adults and children as young as four! The setup is well planned, with participants fun and safety as the key focuses. Children aged between 4 and 7 are required to be accompanied by an adult participant, and then they are free to have an awesome, action packed day!

Have a look at Wakehouse Aqua Park to plan your visit

Mackay Leisure Centre

Bowling? Skating? Squash?! All of these things are available at Mackay Leisure Centre, so come down with the family, and let loose on the fun!

Click here to read more

Sarina Sugar Shed

From the moment your family arrives at Sarina Sugar shed, the experience begins. Discovering the growing, harvesting and crushing processes of sugar cane in a sugar mill is a delight for all ages. On your tour, see how sugar is turned into a variety of different products… your family will love the experience! All tours include tastings too so be sure to get into one!

Find out more about Sarina Sugar Shed here

Mackay Entertainment Convention Centre

Catch a show at Mackay region’s premiere entertainment and performing arts venue this December & January school holidays! This family friendly Centre has concerts, musicals and other shows enjoyable by the kids and adults! Make sure you get down with the family to the MECC!

Head to Mackay Entertainment Convention Centre for more details

Pioneer Swim Centre

Why not take the kids to Mackay’s Swim Centre for some exercise laps, or just some fun in the pool! You may also be interested in the swimming lessons they offer.

For more details visit here

Kidzlife play centre

Head to the Kidzlife play centre with your family these school holidays! Including a ball pit, triple deck play structure, a double slide and a fully fenced toddler area, it’s unlimited fun! There is also a party room, making this a great place for the kids to celebrate!

Look at Kidzlife play centre’s website for more information

Event Cinemas Mackay

Sit back and relax while you enjoy the newest films on the big screen with your family. This convenient holiday idea is a perfect indoor activity for a rainy day, but is also the perfect air-conditioned environment to escape the Queensland heat.

See what’s showing these holidays at Event Cinemas Mackay

Mackay Golf Club

Get out the clubs and take your family for some rounds of golf at Mackay Golf Club. Whether it turns into a friendly family competition, or just hitting some holes for fun, you’ll love it here! So drop by for a round of golf, a cool drink and a bite to eat.

Click here for more details

Escape rooms

Does getting locked inside a themed room with only puzzles, riddles and hints as your way out sound like fun?! Escape Rooms Mackay’s goal is to be a fun place for families, friends and groups to work together and escape together. So let’s see what you’ve got…. How quickly will you escape?!

Head to Escape Rooms Mackay to book your session!

Stand up paddle boarding

Perfect Paddles is a one-stop destination for all things stand up paddle board related, and aims to help paddle boarders find the best spots, with the best gear, offered by experienced paddlers! They can also help out with lessons if you’re a first timer. Contact one of the friendly team members to schedule your lesson or family paddle boarding day!

Visit Perfect Paddles website now for more information

10 BIG days out in Mackay these school holidays

Be sure to try out at least one of these big days out with your family these summer school holidays in Mackay! Unforgettable family memories are worth a lot, so make sure your family creates some these December & January holidays with this awesome list!

Mackay adventure tours

On these Mackay adventure tours, visitors will explore rainforests of Eungella National Park. Seeing the sights of Mackay, as well as platypus in their native environment, you and your family are in for a unique, unforgettable experience. Spend a day out seeing Mackay’s natural wonders on one of these tours on offer!

To book your tour or find out more click here

Rafting Tours to Whitehaven Beach from Airlie Beach

Take a fun, high speed rafting tour amid the beautiful Whitsundays with your family these holidays! You will love seeing the wonderful views, snorkelling in the coral reefs, and relaxing in the crystal clear beach water. Discover the beauty of Whitehaven beach with this tour… don’t miss out!

Book your trip now here

Rainforest Scuba-diving

Go scuba-diving with your family these holidays in Mackay’s rainforest. Dive with a variety of turtles, fish and other underwater animals, or for any family members wanting to stay dry you can try out the platypus land tour! There’s sure to be something fun for you and your family here, so don’t miss out!

For more information click here

Stoney Creek Farmstay

Located just outside Mackay and 30 minutes from the coast, Stones Creek Farmstay is the place for Aussie outback accommodation and scenic trail horse riding. Horse riding is offered to riders of all experience levels… so now’s your chance to make use of this great stable-full of horses who are ready to ride!

Read more here about Stoney Creek Farmstay

Hot air balloon ride

Fly over Mackay in a hot air balloon for incredible sights from high above! There’s nothing like flying in a hot air balloon with your family, taking in the panoramic views. It’s sure to be an experience you’ll all remember forever.

To book your flight now, click here!

Horse riding lessons

Discover the magic of the human-horse bond at Concise Equestrian Centre, Mackay! Offering flexible horse riding lessons in a safe and secure environment from instructors with over 20 years experience, this is a great place to take the kids out for a day! The lesson packages available are suitable for riders of all ages and abilities.

Visit Concise Equestrian Centre’s website now


Experience the thrill of freefall at over 200 kilometres per hour, and soak up the unbeatable views of Tropical North Queensland, the Islands, and Airlie Beach. By skydiving at Airlie Beach you will experience the best views, locations, and instructors. So dive into a fun, exciting adventure with an experience you’ll never forget!

Book your skydive here!

Forest Flying

Are you looking for an unforgettable way to immerse yourself in Queensland’s stunning rainforests? This Forest Flying experience is set up to allow you to view 340 meters of rainforest from a truely unique angle at 25 meters above the ground! Take your family on the ultimate rainforest experience filled with fun!

Click here to find out more

Wakehouse Cable Park

Visit Australia’s newest Cable Wakepark, located just five minutes away from the heart of Mackay and next door to some of Australia’s most pristine beaches and reefs! GoWake Cable Park caters for both beginners and advanced riders, and includes basic equipment along with a safety briefing and on dock coaching. Bring your family to Wakehouse cable park for non-stop fun!

Find out more here

Whitehaven Beach helicopter flight

On this scenic flight experience, you and your family will visit Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays in style with this tour that comes complete with sparkling wine, juice and snacks! Your experienced pilot will show you all the regional highlights of this stunning part of the world while you sit back and admire the views from the window. When you land at a quiet beach area, you and your family can relax in the water and on the sand, or explore the beach before returning back from one of the most unforgettable Whitsundays experiences out there!

Book your helicopter flight here now!

5 things to do at home these school holidays

Card games

You can’t go wrong with a good old card game. Whether it’s a big family game of uno, or just a two player game of snap, keep the fun rolling!

Design a shirt

Get out those colourful pens and paint brushes, and create some pictures and drawings to redecorate an old shirt with! Get creative and make up your own clothing designs to wear on your next day out!


Jump into the garden, slip those gardening gloves on, and plant some seeds in the soil to watch them grow! (Make sure to keep them watered and in the sun so they stay healthy and grow tall!)

Invent a board game

Create and design a game for you and your family to play at the next family games night! You write the rule book and construct the board… it’s all in your control!


Take out the jump rope and get in the garden with your family or friends for some skipping games or competitions. How long can you skip for?!

Theatres with kids shows on in Mackay these school holidays

Mackay Entertainment Convention Centre

Catch a show at Mackay region’s premiere entertainment and performing arts venue this December & January holidays! This Entertainment Centre is family friendly, and puts on concerts, musicals and other shows to be enjoyed by the kids and adults! Make sure you get down with the family to the MECC!

See what’s on these school holidays at Mackay’s Entertainment Convention Centre.

Queensland kids holiday ideas

If you’re looking for more things to do in Queensland with kids, click here.

Soooo…. what do you think? Plenty of Mackay days out ideas here to keep you and the kids entertained for the whole school holidays? These Mackay holiday ideas are updated every term, so remember to bookmark this page.

Let us know if we missed your favourite or if you would like us to add your venue or event!

Even more QLD school holiday ideas:

If you are heading north these Queensland school holidays check out our other articles:

If you are heading south these Queensland school holidays, these holiday ideas might help:

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of school teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, an expert Queensland publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children including things to do with them over the school holidays. Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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