Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
The town of Mackay is located at the mouth of the Pioneer River. On the north side of the river mouth is 9 km of near-continuous beach, now broken in the centre by the breakwaters and seawalls for the Port of Mackay. The main Mackay surfing beach begins on the south side of the harbour walls and runs for 4 km to the rock training wall that lines the north side of the river mouth. This beach houses the Mackay Surf Life Saving Club (founded in 1928). The club is located in the centre of a 500 m long beachfront reserve containing extensive parking, together with shady picnic and plays areas and a kiosk (Fig. 4.63). However, during 1998 the surf club will be relocated 1.5 km to the south, due to the construction of a resort and marina at its present location.
The beach (1118) faces almost due east and is exposed to some of the biggest tides on the east Australian coast (up to 8 m) and biggest waves inside the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, commonly 0.5 to 1 m. As a consequence the beach has a 60 m wide high tide beach which, as the tide falls, is fronted by a continuous low tide beach/bar up to 200 m wide, with the chance of rips cutting across the bar at the low tide level.
A relatively safe beach at high tide under normal wave conditions, however be careful at low tide as you will be a long way from the surf lifesaving club and rips will be present when the waves exceed 0.5 m. Also stay clear of the harbour walls, as a permanent rip runs out along the rocks.
This is one of Mackay’s main surfing beaches. It is best at mid to low tide and when there is a bit of a south-easterly blowing.
The harbour walls are the most popular location, with the beach only suitable at high tide.
A well maintained beach and reserve, providing good access and all facilities for surfers and families for a day at the beach.
- Formal parking area