Aerial View Of Mackay, Queensland

Moving to Mackay QLD | A Newcomer’s Guide to Sugar Town

Not many cities in Australia offer you a pristine surrounding that is a combination of beaches (and a whopping 31 of them!) and rainforests. Mackay does, but that’s not the only reason why a growing number of young couples and retirees are choosing Mackay as their home.

(Nor is it the vicinity of the Great Barrier Reef, although it certainly helps.)

An impressive combination of world-class facilities and a growing economy makes Mackay one of the most thriving towns in Queensland. If you want to steer clear of the busy environment of Brisbane or even Townsville without compromising on conveniences, Mackay is a wonderful option.

How Hard Is It to Find a New Home in Mackay?

The first step for buying a home or renting a property in Mackay is to do your homework and learn about the market conditions. There are various housing options in the city that you can pick based on the requirements and budget. 

The good news is, property prices in Mackay are more affordable than other coastal cities and towns. As of this writing (February 2024), the median price of a three-bedroom house in Mackay is around $373,500. Coming to renting, the weekly cost for the same space will be around $460 per week.

Compared to larger towns, you can get bigger land parcels in Mackay. This can start from 500 square metres in prime locations and expand to 700 square metres in newer subdivisions. That allows you to add sufficient breathing room to your new home.

What’s the Weather Like in Mackay?

The Pioneer River In Mackay Qld
Coast of the Pioneer River in Mackay

Since the city is located on the northeastern coast, it enjoys a tropical climate. You can expect hot and humid summers with mild, dry winters. The average number of sunny days in a year is around 260. In November, the highest temperatures can be above 35°C.

Of course, all of this also means you’re in for downpour, and lots of it.

The maximum precipitation is during February. The town experiences frequent thunderstorms and most occur in the period between late spring and early autumn. The period between January to March is also known for the formation of tropical cyclones.

The Best Places to Live in Mackay

Mackay has more than 36 different suburbs, each with its charm. Helen Daly, who moved from Sydney to Mackay, feels that Mackay is a “hidden pocket with friendly people and a real community”. “I personally can’t think of too many things that our family can’t do here that we could in Sydney,” she adds.

So let’s take a closer look at some of the best neighbourhoods in Mackay!

North Mackay

Located close to the city centre, North Mackay offers affordable housing options ranging between apartments and houses for different budgets. It is a bustling locality and the proximity to Mackay Marina and Harbour Beach allows you to enjoy a coastal life.

Andergrove

Many working families with children reside in Andergrove, so the environment is family-friendly. The housing options include stand-alone houses and apartments and the prices are affordable. You will also have good facilities including multiple schools and shopping centres.

Mount Pleasant

Since it has an elevated position, Mount Pleasant offers excellent panoramic views. It has a mix of modern homes and traditional houses and is great for families, as well as young couples.

West Mackay

West Mackay is closer to the centre of Mackay and offers good housing options. It is a popular choice for families due to its closeness to various facilities. You will find cheaper properties in the area and the local economy is strong. It is also one of the suburbs in Mackay that is showing high economic growth rates.

According to Hotspotting Director Terry Ryder, “This level of affordability, as well as a strong local economy, is driving the uplift in buyer demand.”

Ooralea

This southern suburb is one of the rapidly developing zones in Mackay. It has a picturesque setting and a central location. The region has an agricultural heritage and the local economy is driven by sugarcane farming. That results in a unique combination of rural charm with modern amenities.

Economy & Job Market in Mackay

Sugar Cane Fields Near Mackay
Sugar cane plantation near Mackay

One of the reasons for people moving to Mackay is the region’s fast-growing economy. Currently, the annual economic output is around $22.3 billion. The unemployment rate in Mackay is 2.4%, which is lower than the national average. Overall, the job market in the region is promising.

The economy is driven by agriculture, manufacturing, and engineering industries. Other regional drivers include tourism, retail, hospitality, social assistance, and healthcare. In the coming years, growth is also expected in industries related to green energy production, aerospace, bioproducts, and critical mineral research.

You will get easy access to local and regional markets, thanks to the excellent transport infrastructure of the region. Plus, the Mackay airport, the Port of Mackay and the Port of Hay Point provide access to international markets.

When compared to a large city like Brisbane, the cost of living in Mackay is lower. These include food, transportation, entertainment, and personal care costs.

What to Do in Mackay

Australia’s sugar capital is not just for nature lovers preferring tropical rainforests, lovely beaches, and unique wildlife. Mackay boasts an interesting events calendar and hosts colourful events like the Mackay Festival of Arts, and the Marina Run.

If you’re a nature buff, you’ll also be pleased to know that the area is home to the Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat, which is an endangered species. Appropriately, there’s a Wombat Festival in the relatively nearby Clermont!

For adventure lovers, there are multiple walking trails including the Bluewater Trail and the Andrews Point Track. You can also head to the Eungella National Park on the weekend to enjoy a camping trip with the family. Or else, you can choose a secluded beach and enjoy an evening all by yourself.

How Far is Mackay from Other Cities?

  • Mackay to Brisbane: 980 km
  • Mackay to Sydney: 1,728 km
  • Mackay to Gold Coast: 1,047 km
  • Mackay to Logan City: 1,019 km

Final Thoughts

The idea of moving from Brisbane or Perth to Mackay may seem challenging at first. But, once you consider the multiple advantages and opportunities the city offers, it can be one of the best decisions you take. 

Even though it is a relatively small city, there is not much that it lacks in terms of facilities and infrastructure. Moreover, the city has a warm and friendly vibe that you will find welcoming.

All in all, if you are seeking a positive and vibrant living environment, moving to Mackay, Queensland, can be the perfect choice.

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