A MORNING walk along the beach turned into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Brooke Thompson.

The Slade Point resident was getting ready to do some exercise at Mackay Harbour about 8am Monday when she spotted a strange-looking cloud formation in the distance.

"We were just going for a walk, then it started raining so we didn't end up going and then I saw something in the water," Ms Thompson said.

She began filming the waterspout just seconds before it disappeared.

"I had never seen anything like it before, it was exciting to watch," Ms Thompson said.

Slade Point’s Brooke Thompson.
Slade Point’s Brooke Thompson.

Waterspouts are a phenomenon caused by a sudden horizontal change in wind direction and speed, Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Shane Kennedy said.

"It is a lot more common around a trough, when you get unstable air moving above that you get an uplift which can concentrate the rotation," he said.

Mr Kennedy said while they were common along the east coast of Queensland, it was very hard to spot one, let alone capture it on video.

"They are hidden by rain and are often hard to see. Getting a clear view of one is reasonably rare," he said.