Ball Bay is a coastal settlement a few kilometres east of Seaforth and 30 km north-west of Mackay. On its western side there is the Cape Hillsborough National Park. The cape was named by James Cook on his Endeavour voyage, 1770, after Viscount Hillsborough, Secretary of State for Colonies. Cook did not name Ball Bay, and the origin of its name is apparently unrecorded.
Much of Cape Hillsborough has been formed by volcanic activity and overlays of alluvium and other material. Pinnacle Rock is a volcanic plug. The cape has rainforest and woodland. Ball Bay has proportionally more woodland, shading to foredune vegetation and some salt flats. Although natural vegetation has been removed around the ribbon-like housing area, there is woodland further in from the coast.
The housing area dates from at least 1967 when a town survey map was published. There is a camping ground at the northern end and turtle nesting occurs along all of Ball Bay's beach.
In the 2006 census 94% of the 317 dwellings were occupied on a full-time basis, but another 76 units were separately classed as 'other dwellings', presumably week-ender and casual accommodation. Nearly 53% of employed residents were labourers, technicians, trades workers and machinery operators (Australia 31.5%). Ball Bay's census population in 2006 was 591.