TOWNSVILLE – THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
Nothing says “perfect holiday destination” quite like Townsville. Enjoying 300 sunny days a year and a long list of things to see and do, there are no excuses for not visiting.
WHERE TO STAY
Most accommodation in Townsville is within walking distance to attractions. For those that aren’t there’s reliable public transport passing through regularly. Accommodation is also available on Magnetic Island.
WHAT TO DO
There are so many things to see and do in Townsville, it’s easy to lose track of time. Magnetic Island should be the first thing to tick off your list. Don’t feel obliged to join tours on the island if you’d rather go sight seeing or bushwalking. There are lots of different tours to choose from so the only problem is choosing one!
Water sports are also popular through the year (thanks to those 300 sunny days,) with a choice of snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing or water skiing on offer. You can also hire a yacht or join a tour to explore the sea, but keep on the lookout for dolphins, turtles, tropical fish and sea eagles that reside in the area.
Visitors can also admire the scenery from horseback along Horseshoe Bay, or by jumping out of a plane for a birds’-eye view.
Bus and taxi services regularly pass by but if you like your transport that little bit louder, jump on the back of a Harley Davidson and find out what the island looks like in top gear.
The fun doesn’t stop after dark with a Full Moon beach party held on the local shores every month.
Back on the mainland, Reef HQ makes for a great day-trip, featuring a living coral reef aquarium. The aquarium has been made to reflect the Great Barrier Reef and the creatures within it. Take a tour of the turtle rehabilitation and see Minty, the blue-eyed white turtle.
To get the blood pumping, you can also do the Fort Walk, which passes local landmarks that were built to protect the town during WWII.
But if relaxation is more your thing, a nice place to sit and watch the kids play is The Strand. There’s a playground loaded with things to do and it’ll give you time to relax as the little ones burn off some energy, before lunching on a picnic.
And If you hold an open water certificate, you’ll already know how important it is to visit the S.S Yongala, one of the worlds’ top shipwreck dives.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
Between April and September are the best months to visit, as they’re jam-packed with entertainment and things to do, having the best weather conditions.
Most visitors decide to fly to Townsville because of the 17-hour driving distance.
The airport is 5km from the centre of the city, so you can catch a taxi, bus or hire a car to get there.
For more information about Townsville, visit queenslandholidays.com.au
International chamber music artists and fine food are helping to redefine the idea of a ‘classic’ winter escape to North Queensland. This year’s Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) in Townsville, which runs from 26 July to 3 August, will feature international musicians Nicholas Daniel (UK), Michael Collins (UK), Ksenija Siderova (Latvia), along the Australian Brass Quintet of Bridget Bolliger and Andrew Barnes. The festival’s main concert takes place on the shores of Magnetic Island’s Radical Bay, after which concert-goers will take a sunset cruise for the return trip to Townsville. The festival encompasses the 'Chefs in the North' dinner,...
Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes When Captain Cook first cruised by Magnetic Island in 1770, he believed it possessed a magnetic force of some kind that was disturbing his compass. Although he may have been proven wrong on a scientific level, the tropical island – with its 23 bays, beaches and prime location in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef – continues to lure and captivate visitors. Nahmahlu is a huge villa set high on a hill in the southeast overlooking turquoise Nelly Bay, and is the ideal base from which to explore. The beachside property...
It’s the sunniest city on the Qld coast (averaging more than 320 days of sunshine a year), it’s surrounded by water and it’s on an island that’s 54 percent national park. Sounds like heaven. Well, heaven is floating just off Townsville on Magnetic Island. AT’s Great Barrier Reef expert, Fiona Harper, is building a home there and has this to say: “One of the few islands within the Marine Park where you can purchase free-hold land, the most incredible thing about Magnetic Island is that you’re living in a national park, on an island less than two hours from a...
Just 8km east of Townsville, “Maggie” is one of the few islands within the Marine Park with a permanent residential population. Popular with families, singles and couples seeking a laidback holiday, residents and holidaymakers reside in four small beachfront villages. Surrounded by National Park and green space, villages are linked by a single speed limited road. A mountainous island with a 25km web of bushwalking trails among granite tors and forest, 500m tall Mt Cook dominates. Walks vary from an easy 30min Picnic Bay stroll to the more challenging cross-island walk between Nelly and Horseshoe Bays. Trails brush past sweet-smelling...
Mike Larder takes a mighty caffeine hit from Allan Sharpe to get the full story behind the man behind the world’s rarest and most expensive coffee found believe or not only in Australia in Herveys Range south west of Townsville. One sip and I wondered: is this what a coronary feels like? I have to say I baulked when offered a tiny cup of this pungent, brown elixir. I gave up coffee a quarter century ago, but I still love the nostril-moistening aroma. However, as an unswervingly dedicated emissary of AT, I felt compelled, as a heroic gesture, to sample...
The Melbourne Cup is the race that stops a nation; cane toad racing on Magnetic Island is the race that stops an Island and raises money for charity. Vern Thomas Jack (the Toadmaster) has been described as iconic and legendary, and 2007 marks his 20th year of holding court in the big racing circle outside Magnums on Magnetic (formerly Arkies), during which time he’s managed to raise around $200,000 for the local junior surf lifesavers and kindergarten. While reactions range from dealing with a certain ick-factor to an excited buzz, all watch intently as the toads wait in their Perspex...
This could be the world’s most bizarre drink. The Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms near Cairns, operating from the Eureka Hotel, the oldest building in north Queensland, is the only café in the country that sells Kopi Luwak. And since it’s the world’s rarest coffee blend, it costs $50 per cup. Let’s talk you through it: The beans are harvested in Indonesia on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi. But they’re not, and this is the important part, simply plucked from coffee plants. Oh no. They’re collected from the poo of the Common Palm Civet, or Luwak, a catlike...
Bushfires are the sort of things everyone wants to avoid – they’re unplanned, out of control, a danger to life and property and can cause massive damage. But there’s no denying that watching and listening to those huge flames is a sight and sound that really emphasises the power of nature. The people in the Burdekin region of Queensland, however, go out and start massive fires every night between May and November. “Almost as Australian as watching lightning crack over cane fields . . . ” - Greg Barton An hour south of Townsville, the townsfolk set fire to the...
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