Mackay, Queensland, is the mainland base for a collection of islands where you can experience the sort of tropical adventure that is the Great Barrier Reef.
And you can do it in style and luxury, for example, with resort facilities such as on Brampton Island, or in a less sophisticated manner, camping on one of the islands in the Cumberland group, easily accessible from Mackay.
Carlisle Island, Keswick Island, St Bees Island and Scawfell Island are all part of the Mackay tourism menu. Each offers the opportunity to experience a leisurely tropical island lifestyle. Who hasn't dreamt of that at some stage?
Many visitors use Mackay as their base and leave their choice of island destination until they obtain some local knowledge.
This practice certainly can enhance the sense of adventure but carries some risks. For example, resort guests and campers may need to book in advance, especially for a tent site on Carlisle, whose proximity to Brampton ensures it is always popular.
From Mackay, Brampton Island is a launch or plane ride, then Carlisle is simply a walk at low tide. Sailing, snorkelling, fishing and strolling on beaches and bush tracks are all part of a Mackay island holiday adventure. Brampton Island is the most southern Island in the Whitsundays Island group. Check out Whitsunday holiday packages for your next vacation to the reef.
You can take advantage of the Mackay weather. Imagine parading your tan to your deskbound workmates and announcing, "I spent my holiday in a Queensland island paradise".
They may be surprised when you tell them where. Mackay formerly had less identity with Great Barrier Reef tourism than its northern neighbours.
And that's exactly what makes it the ideal starting point today for your island adventure.