MACKAY might be considered a poor cousin compared to neighbouring Airlie Beach when it comes to off-shore islands, but it still has its share of choice destinations for the boaties.
Setting sail from our beautiful marina with its excellent boat ramp, or just launching from the region's many ramps, exquisite islands are within easy reach. Here's our top three.
1 Scawfell Island
THIS island's main bay is well named. Refuge Bay faces north and offers excellent anchorage and all-tidal access, even in the most common prevailing south-easterly winds.
The mountainous island, about 32 nautical miles northeast of Mackay, has granite cliffs lining the coast.
2 Brampton Island
DESPITE the Brampton resort being currently closed, this island still has plenty to offer.
You can sail past to see the resort which has closed its doors for now - but visitors are warned it is still private property.
When anchoring, do so with care and on sand when possible. If you can't avoid coral, use reef picks and motor towards the anchor when hauling in.
3 St Bees Island
YOU pass St Bees on your way to Scawfell Island and it's well worth a stop.
The anchorage can be a bit "rolly" as it is close to a channel but overall there are good anchorage points.
One of the main attractions on St Bees is a research centre for universities studying the population of wild koalas on the island.