Top 10 things to do around the region

Published: 20 Dec 2021

The festive season is here and council has several events planned to keep you busy over the Christmas period.

The New Year’s Eve River Party is one for the whole family, with Looney Tunes characters, local musicians and fireworks. Take your kids on a special tour of the Sarina Sugar Shed or check out the free art workshop and exhibitions at Artspace Mackay.

Council closures over the Christmas/New Year period are available here:

1) Takeaway Christmas craft 

Until December 24, 2021
All Mackay Regional Council Library branches
Get creative over the Christmas holidays with a free takeaway Christmas craft pack! You must have your library membership card and borrow one library item to collect your pack. There is a limit of one pack per child. Available while stocks last, so get in quick!

2) New Year's Eve River Party

Friday, December 31, 6pm to 9pm
Bluewater Quay

Join the Mackay Festivals team as they send 2021 out with a bang at the Bluewater Quay. Featuring the Looney Tunes, and with fireworks at 9pm and midnight, this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration will be the perfect way to usher in 2022 with your family. Join Bugs Bunny, Tweety and Sylvester as they sing, dance and create general chaos and hilarity. Then enjoy amusement rides, get your face painted or simply kick back and enjoy up-and-coming local talents Kate Lockyer and Tiffany Grace. More details at

3) Jenna Lee: Cont.ained

Until January 9, 2022
Foyer Gallery, Artspace Mackay

Jenna Lee is an artist of Indigenous (Larrakia, Wardaman, and Karrajarri), Asian (Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino) and Anglo-Australian ancestry who manipulates paper to explore her many overlapping identities. Her research into ancestral cultural objects and archival practices inform an artist's book-making practice that often imitates the display of specimens or artefacts. Learn more at

4) Jonathan McBurnie: Birdland

Until January 16, 2022
Foundation Gallery, Artspace Mackay
North Queensland artist Jonathan McBurnie draws upon the aesthetics of professional wrestling. The exhibition of new drawings on a large, immersive scale are inspired by parallels between professional wrestling and McBurnie’s personal experience of continuing his creative practice amid illness and the impact of an ongoing recovery. Read more at

5) Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop

Until January 16, 2022
Main Gallery, Artspace Mackay
Using light, shadow and scale, the work of influential Australian-Chinese artist Lindy Lee will mesmerise you. Slow down and absorb Lee’s reflective, meditative works and her spectacular array of processes. Find out more at

6) Kids painting competition

Until Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens
Is there a budding artist in your home? If so, here’s an opportunity for your children to have their artwork showcased in the February Lagoons Gallery art exhibition at the Botanic Gardens and win a $50 Wish gift card. This competition is open to children aged 10 to 17 years old. Simply use your imagination to create a piece of hand-painted canvas art that reflects the theme ‘nature’. As part of the exhibition, we will ask members of the public to vote for their favourite artwork. The winner will be announced once the exhibition is over. For more information, please contact the visitor services officer on 4952 7300 or email

7) APT10 Kids on Tour

During Artspace Mackay’s opening hours until Sunday, January 23, 2022
Artspace Mackay Workshop Room
During the summer school holidays, bring your family and friends to make free art in the gallery with APT10 Kids on Tour. There’ll be a variety of art-making activities developed by the Children’s Art Centre in collaboration with artists Shannon Novak (Aotearoa, New Zealand), Phuong Ngo (Australia), Syagini Ratna Wulan (Indonesia), Jamilah Haji (Thailand), Gidree Bawlee (Bangladesh) and Vipoo Srivilasa (Thailand/Australia). No bookings are necessary, but parental supervision is required. If no seats are available when you arrive, simply try again later. This program is presented by the Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). Visit for more details.

8) Special kids tour of the Sarina Sugar Shed

10.30am every day of the school holidays
Adult entry at the children’s price of $13.20, bookings are essential.
Field of Dreams Parklands, Railway Square, Sarina

This fun, interactive session focuses on the kids, with the bonus of adults being welcome at kids' prices! During the 45-minute tour, the kids will discover all about growing and harvesting sugar cane and complete a hunt for the critters that live in our sugar cane patch. They’ll enter our miniature sugar mill to see how sugar cane is crushed and sample deliciously sweet sugar cane juice straight from our miniature mill, “Bill the Mill Junior”. Everyone gets a chance to taste our non-alcoholic ginger beer brewed on-site and freshly spun fairy floss. Limited spaces are available. Book online at

9) Self-guided activities

Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens
There are a variety of self-guided activities to participate in over the school holidays. Print the activity sheets from the Botanic Gardens website and head to the gardens whenever you feel inspired to get amongst nature. Download the activity sheets from

10) Bluewater Lagoon

Open 7 days, 9am to 5.45pm (except Christmas Day)
River Street, Mackay
Splash around with the whole family at the Bluewater Lagoon. Overlooking the picturesque Pioneer River in the heart of the Mackay City Centre, the facility provides the ideal stinger-free environment for kids and adults alike. For more details visit


Round 1 of the 2022 NAB AFLW season

Sunday, January 9, gates open 4pm, game at 5.10pm
Great Barrier Reef Arena, Harrup Park
See the first game of the 2022 women’s AFL season with ablockbuster match at the Great Barrier Reef Arena between the Gold Coast Suns and the GWS Giants. Children under 18 are free to attend. Tickets are available via Ticketek at The event is made possible through the Invest Mackay Events Attraction Fund.

2022 Australia Day Awards

Do you know someone who gives selflessly for our community or achieves outstanding results in sport, the arts or cultural endeavours? Nominate them for a 2022 Australia Day Award at

It’s Live at the MECC

Check out the exciting events happening at the MECC from January to March 2022, including Arj Barker, an ABBA tribute show and the Sports Expo and Sign-On. View the schedule at