Mackay, sweeter than you think

Ask any foodie which regions are famous for food production, and Margaret River, the Barossa or Griffith will be their likely answers. But though technically correct, they’re actually overlooking one of the country’s biggest producers – Mackay.

World-class beef, fresh seafood, and tropical fruits top the list of local fresh food, and the Isaac Whitsunday region is the largest winter vegetable growing area in Australia.

The Farm to Plate ethos has taken hold especially over the past 12 months, with operators such as Freckle Farm now welcoming visitors direct to their property.

Much of the region’s produce can be sampled at early-morning markets, such as the Saturday famers market at Mackay Showgrounds, or at various roadside stalls.


Driving through the cane fields. Credit: Tourism Queensland


Given Mackay lays claim to being the third largest sugar cane producer in the country, it would be a huge mistake to not sample some local rum.

Just south of Mackay, Sarina Sugar Shed offers tours of their award-winning distillery, with their Underproof Rum and liqueur two very good reasons to visit.