I was sent to Mackay for work. While I was expecting the usual “coastal regional town” vibe, I wasn’t expecting the food to be as impressive as it was! It just goes to show that you don’t need to live in the capital city to eat well in Queensland!

Flavours of Vietnam

I grabbed a quick takeaway pork vermicelli salad bowl with vegetarian spring rolls from here on the way to night shift for work. While I didn’t get to have the full restaurant service, the salad was deliciously fresh, the dressing was perfect and the menu was reasonably priced too! I inhaled this so fast I barely got a chance to take a photo, a real rarity for me!

The Grazing Goat Cafe

With a menu that easily rivals those in the big smoke of Brisbane, this is a must-try cafe for breakfast or lunch while on the central coast of QLD.

Açai bowls, breakfast skillets, a tasty range of smoothies, DIY poke bowls, brisket or karage burgers, soft shell tortillas, pumpkin haloumi fritters – it’s almost impossible to choose!

Most of the breakfast menu is available all day (until 2pm) and the lunch menu starts at 10:30.

This enormous green smoothie bowl was just what I needed after night shift!


Gypsy and the Bowerbird deli

This STUNNING homewares store looks like it jumped straight out of Byron Bay with its stone pottery, linen clothing, crystals, candles and luxe decorating items all a washed in beautiful neutral tones (which can also be admired on their Insta: @gypsyandthebowerbird).

Their deli serves as a coffee shop but also stocks a fridge full of meats and cheese, oils and vinegars, spice mixes and antipasti. They also serve some amazing charcuterie or chocolate themed platter boxes in a range of sizes by the local and talented Plattered Up (@platteredup) which are perfect for that sunset picnic or lunch time beach trip!


Moss on Wood

This place was so great I came back twice in four days. Not only do they have a great menu, but they’re conveniently open from 6am to 9pm so you can grab a meal whatever time you arrive in Mackay. It’s not the most fancy of menus but what they offer, they do consistently well. Think modern Australian plus pizza and pasta.

I tried both the crispy skin barramundi and the Atlantic salmon, with green veggies and a caper butter / tarragon sauces (because when on the coast, order fish!) and they were both perfect and served quickly. I also had a side of their gigantic sweet potato wedges which made for excellent night shift fuel!


9th Lane Grind / K&Co / Curb

9th Lane is a little hole in the wall laneway coffee shop that would fit right in if it was in Melbourne. Located on wood street in the city centre, it’s sister venues K&Co and Curb are north of the river if you don’t want to travel into town.

Truffle mushroom parpadelle, waffles with caramelised fog and gingerbread crumble, BBQ pork croquette – these are not your average “bacon and egg” cafe offerings! I definitely recommend the breakfast board for a bit of everything – parfait, OJ, avo smash and a little sweet treat on the side.

The Dispensary

I promise I didn’t just stick to venues on Wood Street! But this was another great place recommended by one of my colleagues.

This coffee / lounge bar / cafe style eatery is open for breakfast and lunch (and reopening for dinner post pandemic in September).

The menu isn’t particularly fancy but it definitely delivers on taste – and who wouldn’t want to eat eggs benny for lunch if given the chance?



Coco Cubano

I loved this place! Coco Cubano is a franchise available across NSW with another venue on the Gold Coast, serving up Cuban inspired street food. Think quesadillas, soft tacos and Cuban sandwiches, but also sliders, schnitzels (with nachos on top because why not), fries and burgers. I can recommend the falafel pumpkin salad for a lighter option, with a side of haloumi fries because #balance. This was another meal I inhaled at work before taking a photo, so this photo courtesy of their Instagram (@cococubano) will have to do!

Other recommendations I received but didn’t get a chance to try (yet!):

  • Woodman’s Axe – for great coffee and famously tasty croissants if you manage to get one before they sell out!