Regions of Queensland: what’s new in Mackay and Whitsunday Islands?

Did you know?

The Mackay Whitsunday region is known for relaxing tropical lifestyle with beautiful beaches, rainforests and national parkland – as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands. The sub-regions include Bowen, Mackay, Hinterland (Moranbah, Nebo, Dysart, Middlemount) and the Whitsundays.

Mackay is an hour flight away from Brisbane and has a population of over 120,000. With rich coal deposits in Bowen and Galilee basins, this sub-region is responsible for producing 50% of state’s coal. It is also one of the largest sugar-producing regions in Australia. The largest industry employers in Mackay are Retail Trade, Manufacturing and Health Care & Social Assistance.

Latest in Industry, Business, Tourism and Projects 

Some major projects include:

  • Byerwen Coal Project – the mine is currently under construction and will be located in the Bowen basin. It is predicted to produce up to 10 million tonnes of hard coking coal per year.
  • Moranbah Reservoir and Associated Works –  this will increase water storage of drinking water and address the needs of a growing population
  • Lindeman Island Resort – $600 million redevelopment
  • Mackay Ring Road – to reduce traffic congestion and travel times, and improved connectivity for industry to the Port

The Dudley Denny City library was officially opened in February 2017, with the $2 million refurbishment winning a Queensland Housing & Construction Awards. The Library has an array of robotic teaching aids, including the humanoid robot Pepper.

Key Industries 

  • Mining, Engineering and Technology services
  • Transport and infrastructure
  • Food and Agribusiness (particularly seafood and sugar)
  • Tourism
  • Manufacturing.

For more information about investment and business, please see TIQ Mackay, Issac and Whitsundays investment opportunities and Whitsunday regional brochure.

Settlement Information  

Arriving in a new city and region can be daunting, so it is useful to take advantage of the information which is out there to make the process of settling in easier.           


There is a regional airport in Mackay, with flights to Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville, Hamilton Island and Cairns. A new Translink bus network was launched on 28 November 2016, including an airport service. For timetable information, visit the Translink website.

There is also a Whitsunday Coast Airport, with flights to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Queensland Rail Train also will take you to the Whitsundays. Within the Whitsundays including Proserpine and Airlie Beach, there are bus services operated by Whitsunday Transit.

However, it is advisable to buy a car to get around.


The Queensland state government has an online search available for the public and private schools in Mackay and Whitsunday Islands. Study Queensland also has information about Mackay and you can use their finders for higher education, English language, school and scholarships. James Cook University and CQ University have campuses in Mackay.

TAFE Queensland North is located in Bowen and The Whitsundays.

New Arrival Support

The MacKay Regional Council has a Moving to Mackay page which is a great comprehensive resource. They also have a range of resources available on their website for migrants and multicultural community members, such as their migrant voice multicultural newsletter published every quarter.

The George Street Neighbourhood Centre Association also has a free Migrant Settlement Program. There is also detailed information on the Whitsunday Regional Council website about council services.

Major Events and Festivals

There are many cultural and major events happening in and around Mackay and Whitsundays, including:  

To find out more about what’s happening in the area, check out Tourism Whitsundays, The Mackay Region websites.

Other Useful links

Links to previous posts in the series: