Mackay and surrounds


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Mackay and Coalfields area of our Central Queensland region covers the geographic area from Mackay, west to Moranbah, South to Sarina and as north as Bloomsbury. We’ve compiled some information below to help you decide where you might like to teach in this part of the region.


There’s a lot to love about the Central Queensland town of Mackay. If we had to name a few, it would be the secluded islands, golden sands and lush sub-tropical rainforests.

If you're considering teaching in Mackay, here are some things you can do in your spare time: meet the sunrise with the kangaroos on the beach at Cape Hillsborough, cool off at the rock pools or glide through the rainforest canopy of Finch Hatton Gorge, bushwalk at Eungella National Park (we recommend taking the scenic route to get there), try to spot a platypus at Broken River, head to Eungella Dam for a spot of camping, fishing, 4WDing and water sports, or soak up the sun and sand on Keswick Island.​


 Mackay photo gallery


Approximately half an hour south of Mackay, lies the sugarcane town of Sarina. Teachers relocating to Sarina will enjoy traditional country hospitality in a thriving business district. You’ll find a range of restaurants and cafes, retail business and other services in the town centre, and its proximity to Mackay means you’re only a hop, skip and a jump to sporting games, go-karting and other services that the region provides.

On weekends, you can explore the many unspoiled beaches that are all within driving distance, including Sarina Beach, Grasstree Beach, Salonika Beach, Freshwater Point, Eimeo Beach, Cape Palmerston and Cape Hillsborough. You may even spot nesting turtles who lay their eggs among the dunes. If you head inland, you’ll find Eungella National Park a couple of hours’ drive away, with plenty of flora and fauna to spot during a bushwalk or camping.

Sarina State School and Sarina State High School are the local schools in the area, with Swayneville State School a ten minute drive out of town.

 Sarina photo gallery


Moranbah is one of the youngest towns in Queensland. Although it was initially created for miners and their families, the town has grown and is now a place for everyone.

The town centre includes a water feature and a children’s play area, providing you with a relaxing atmosphere to catch up with friends over coffee, while the kids are entertained.

Moranbah State School is a high performing school. They use the John Fleming model of effective teaching, with explicit instruction as their core pedagogical strategy. The school’s strong focus on literacy and numeracy is supported by its effective phonics program, Light Educational Ministries (LEM). Teachers are supported at the school, with staff capability seen as a priority. They receive continuous coaching and professional development, focussing on explicit instruction and classroom management.

Moranbah State High School is committed to ensuring students are supported to pursue academic pathways and vocational pathways after school. The school offers a full range of academic, sporting and cultural activities to students throughout the year.

 Moranbah photo gallery


Dysart is situated in the coal fields of the central highlands, 244 km west of Mackay. Its location in the Queensland tropics is a wonderful blend of country life, a friendly community, modern facilities and regional support services. The town boasts an Olympic-sized pool at the centre of town, for you to cool off in the summer months. Other features of the town include a shopping mall, a nine-hole golf course, bowls club, community civic centre, and a town library that provides public internet access as well as the usual library facilities.

Dysart State School supports all students to achieve their greatest potential. The whole-school curriculum development has established expectations, consistency and continuity across the school. All students set individual goals in reading and writing every five weeks and receive feedback on these goals. As a result, staff and students are achieving great outcomes at Dysart.

Dysart State High School offers a holistic, localised curriculum that incorporates explicitly taught positive behaviour and wellbeing strategies as part of a vibrant, diverse school life that provides opportunities for all students to fully develop and express their multiple talents. The school offers an extensive range of facilities including a newly refurbished science block and Trade Training Centre – Hospitality and Industrial Arts.


Glenden is a close-knit community, 110 km south-west of Mackay. The local council operates the library, recreation centre, tennis and basketball courts, an oval and a swimming pool. Twenty-four kilometres away, you’ll find Lake Elphinstone, a natural lake that is an excellent spot for bird-watchers, anglers and campers. It’s also a popular spot for local water sports fanatics.

Glenden State School is a P-12 school that encourages students to be part of a learning society where problem-solving and critical thinking are crucial. The school supports students to engage in learning, develop judgement and a sense of responsibility, understand the past and prepare for the future. Teachers cater for the diverse range of students’ needs, capabilities and interests by modifying the curriculum, ongoing monitoring of performance and meetings between students, staff and parents.


Midldlemount is another small mining town, about one and a half hours’ drive from Emerald, or three hours drive from Rockhampton and Mackay. It might be small, but it has all the facilities of a well-maintained country town, including a shopping centre, swimming pool, golf course, hotel, sports grounds, medical centres, restaurants and cafes. The local parks and gardens (like Blue Mountain Park) are well-maintained and have family-friendly playgrounds if you’re bringing the kids. The nearby Bundoora Dam is great for water skiing and swimming.

Middlemount Community School is a P-12 school located in the heart of Middlemount. Students and teachers are supported by a team of support personnel, including a Support Teacher: Literacy and Numeracy, Special Needs Teacher, Guidance Officer, School-Based Youth Health Nurse and School Chaplain. The air-conditioned campus is spacious with many primary classes accommodated in double teaching spaces. Small class sizes allow for individual attention and a caring environment. Faciliites at the school include three computer rooms, a sports hall, outdoor sports shed and hard court.

 Middlemount photo gallery


Calen is a small coastal town halfway between Mackay and Proserpine.

Move over Bowen and the Big Mango, in Calen, you’ll find the latest, ‘big thing’ in Australia, Calen’s Big Thongs. It’s also only a 30 minute drive from some of the most gorgeous beaches you’ll find on this side of Australia, at Cape Hillsborough.

Calen District State College was named the number one school in Queensland for senior student outcomes and meeting students' needs, according to the ‘Tracking and Academic Management Index’ in 2011. It was the only school to score 100 per cent, proving they are living up to the school's motto of “Second to none”. The smaller student numbers at the school allow staff to work very closely with all students and their families to ensure students are receiving the best education possible. The school works hard to form partnerships with various local organisations. Learn more about how they work with the local community.

 Calen photo gallery


Mirani is the perfect example of what you would expect to find in a rural community – friendly locals, a close-knit community and wide-open spaces. If you’re looking for a community that will wrap it’s arms around you to welcome and support you, this is it.

Located 38km west of Mackay in the Pioneer Valley, Mirani has a museum, library, post office, Olympic-sized swimming pool, caravan park and a 18-hole golf course where you may find yourself playing a round with the local kangaroos. The nearby Kinchant Dam is a water-sport fanatic’s dream, with caravan, camp sites and cabins on-site if you’re looking to break your routine for the weekend.

Mirani State School are passionate about supporting students in their pursuit for excellence in the classroom, on the playground and sporting field and in the broader community. Students participate in academic extra-curricular activities such as cluster and regional mathematics, public speaking, robotics and general knowledge competitions. Some of their extension programs include Coding, IMPACT, Optiminds and various lunchtime clubs. Students are supported to engage in choirs, Rock Pop Mime, social discos, school camps, community events, an instrumental program, social awareness days and sporting competitions.

Mirani State High School enjoys an excellent reputation, with outstanding achievements across its many and varied programs. The school is passionate about supporting students to realise their potential and achieve their goals as individuals through a range of opportunities to participate in academic, sporting and cultural fields. Mirani State High School is proud of the close relationship they have with local businesses, industries and community organisations to enhance these opportunities for students.

 Mirani photo gallery

Last updated 16 May 2024