Why Mackay residents are travelling 150km for ice cream
A LIFELONG love for ice-cream has inspired one woman to chase her dreams.
Taking over ownership of Cold Rock in Airlie Beach, 53-year-old Tammy Smith said she had never been happier.
"I have owned a couple of businesses in the past, not food related, but ever since I was a little girl I've always wanted to own an ice-cream shop," she said.
"I think because I love ice-cream so much, and I love seeing it put a smile on peoples faces.
"When the opportunity came up and I saw the shop was for sale, I just though, now is my chance to do what I've always dreamed of."
Cold Rock in Airlie Beach is one of the few 'wet stores' in Australia, which normally means the ice cream is made on site.
For Ms Smith, a short trip to a Cannonvale factory is where the magic happens.
"We have an ice-cream machine and all of the equipment at the factory, so I make up the batches of ice-cream to take to the store," she said.
"It mean I have a lot more freedom over what flavours I can make. I can't wait to experiment and introduce some new exciting flavours.
"Licorice, Jaffa, peanut-butter, apple, cheesecake and cake batter are all on my list."
Although the Airlie Beach locals are avid ice-cream lovers, Ms Smith said she had been overwhelmed by the number of Mackay customers who come through the door.
"I've noticed a lot of Mackay residents will make a special trip just to visit Cold Rock," she said.
"Mackay used to have a store and they are sorely missing it. I'm not surprised to be honest, there is nothing quite like Cold Rock."
After relocating from NSW to the Whitsundays 10 years ago, Ms Smith worked on Hayman Island for a year with her partner and fell in love with the region.
She said Airlie Beach was now her home.
"I am here to stay," she said.
"I can't wait to serve all of the generations of locals who visit.
"It's such a rewarding job, just the other day we had parents come in with their baby who was trying ice-cream for the very first time.
"It's those experiences and the conversations that I love the most."