East Mackay, a residential area, is immediately east of the city centre and is bounded by the Pioneer River on its north and the Town Beach (Coral Sea) on its east. A small suburb, East Mackay is crossed by drainage canals and the Sandfly Creek which empties into a wetland at the mouth of the Pioneer River.

Some way back from Sandfly Creek there is Queens Park (1886) with Mackay's premier cricket oval and a large orchid house (1988). Just west of the orchid house there is the Victoria Park primary school (1926), and to the north the Siege of Tobruk monument.

The wetland at the mouth of the Sandfly Creek is a mostly degraded area of 64 ha. Declared a reclamation area in the early 2000s, a master plan was developed for recreation and conservation, with a riverside walkway joining it to the old jetties area at River Street East.

The Bluewater Trail, a community and recreation space, comprises six key sites along the shared pathway including the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, Sandfly Creek Environmental walkway, Catherine Freeman walk, the free three-tiered Bluewater Lagoon swimming facility, Bluewater Quay Public Open Space and Iluka Park. The path borders the Pioneer River, and includes a number of scenic lookout points along the trail. Six original and eyecatching artworks designed by artist Fiona Foley line the trail. Each piece of public art holds special significance to the Mackay region community.

The census populations of East Mackay have been:

census datepopulation
20063661
20113636
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