Townsville Travel Guide
Along the north-eastern coastline of Australia is the city of Townsville, a large urban area often considered to be the capital of North Queensland – unofficially, of course. If this area is unknown to you, then we hope our Townsville travel guide will bring you interesting travel and tourism information about the region. It is a vibrant area, sandwiched between the outback and the Great Barrier Reef with little tropical paradises like Magnetic Island and Hinchingbrook Island off the coast to the north.
The enchanting Magnetic Island is one of Townsville’s main attractions and it is easy to see why. It was named by Captain Cook because he believed the island exerted a strange magnetic influence over the ship’s compass as he sailed nearby. It is a small, mountainous island only 8 kilometres from the shore and so is easily accessed by ferry. Be warned, however, that once on the island you may never want to leave! It is comprised of a granite outcrop petering down into 23 natural bays and beaches dotted with pine trees and surrounded by clear, tranquil waters and coral reefs.
The island is a World Heritage National Park and bird sanctuary and home to rock wallabies, possums and Northern Australia’s largest koala colony. It is a delightful place to lose yourself for hours wandering among cool eucalyptus scented woods and vine covered forests.
But Townsville itself has plenty to offer its visitors. As you might expect from its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, marine life and the ecosystems of Northern Queensland are a central part of the attractions. The Reef HQ and the Museum of the Tropical North have some fascinating nautical exhibits, living coral and other sea life. The Museum pieces together the story of HMS Pandora which was sent out to find the Bounty Mutineers in 1790 only to be smashed on the Great Barrier Reef. Its wreckage and artefacts bring its thrilling story back to life.
You can sit on the banks of Ross Creek, which snakes through the centre of Townsville and watch the little boats sail by, or climb Castle Hill, the great red rock which can be seen from all over the town like a giant crimson sentinel, for a great view out in every direction. Interact with the wildlife at the Billabong Nature Sanctuary; stroll along the Strand packed with cafes, restaurants, shops, lawns and pretty lagoons, or visit wetlands and gardens galore. And when you tire of land based activities, dive for treasure or pleasure among turtles, sea snakes and manta rays, and take away lasting memories of your visit to Townsville.