Explore the underwater wonderland of the Great Barrier Reef from the Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville. You’ll come face-to-face with thousands of unique marine creatures and walk through exhibits that feature rare and fascinating features of the Reef. The best bit? You get to stay dry.
For an unforgettable day trip from Townsville, take the 20-minute ferry ride to Magnetic Island and spend the day exploring its 23 bays and beaches. The island is only 11 km in length but it is home to hundreds of koalas and wallabies, more than 25 km of walking trails, picturesque lookouts and is located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – don’t miss the self-guided underwater snorkel trail.
The Museum of Tropical Queensland showcases the best of the region’s cultural and natural heritage from prehistoric to modern times, including the World Heritage listed rainforest, reefs and an impressive replica of the shipwrecked HMS Pandora and more.
Hike to the top of Castle Hill in the centre of Townsville for 360-degree views of tropical city and out to Magnetic Island. The 286-metre hill is just shy of mountain status with numerous walking tracks to choose from, but Castle Hill Road (5.2 km return) Cudtheringa (2.2 km return) and Goat Tracks (1.3 km return) are the most popular options. The trails are dog-friendly and we’d recommend packing a picnic to make the most of the trip to the top. Also, take time to learn about the Hill’s fascinating World War II military history.
Run, cycle or walk the 2.2 km walkway along The Strand at Townsville’s foreshore. Sit down for a waterfront meal or drink at one of the many cafes that line the strip, take the kids for a play at the free Strand Water Park, or cook up a barbeque for lunch by the beach.
Take your pick of the plentiful Townsville diving spots – 10 of the world’s best dive sites are just off the coast. The SS Yongala shipwreck, which sank over 100 years ago during a cyclone, is Australia’s most famous wreck dive. The dive site will take you down to view one of the most intact wrecks in the world and bring you face to face with giant gropers, massive marble rays, turtles, sea snakes, eagle rays, bull sharks and more.
Townsville is packed full of activities to entertain kids. Check out Kingpin Townsville for an afternoon of bowling, laser tag, karaoke, pool tables, and a game of King Spin table tennis then enter the Playtime Arcade for over 90 arcade games to choose from.
Ninja Parc Townsville is a mind-boggling indoor obstacle course of rope climbs, boulders, vertical and horizontal doors to scale and a staggering sea of poles to manoeuvre through. If mini golf sounds like it is more your speed, take the family to Townsville Mini Golf and Fun Park, the 18-hole course – with jumping castles for little ones – is set in shady tropical gardens.
Holding a wombat, feeding freshwater crocodiles and cuddling a koala are just a few of the many interactive experiences you can have with Australia’s native animals at the Billabong Sanctuary. The wildlife park is set in lush tropical bushland and there are daily educational talks and shows for visitors in addition to the hands-on encounters.