Do you want to do see some of the amazing things Townsville has to offer but also want to have the kids in bed by 7:00pm? Here are 12 of the best places around Townsville to visit for a day trip.
1. Magnetic Island
Distance from Townsville City: 20 minutes with ferry
Located 20 minutes via ferry out of Townsville, Magnetic island is one of Townsville’s greatest attractions. Home to both an abundance of wildlife including koalas and wallabies and around 2500 locals who have a permanent residence on the island. Hire a topless car, visit the Bungalow Bay Koala Village where you can have breakfast with and hold a variety of animals, and enjoy the picturesque island beaches. Put on your walking shoes and hike The Forts Walk track or grab your snorkel and explore the clear blue waters that surround.
2. Big and Little Crystal Creek
Distance from Townsville City: 1 hour via Bruce Highway
Take a step into the 1930’s at Little Crystal Creek where the large antique bridge towers over the rock swimming pools below. To get here, the venture is around 45 minutes out of Townsville. Big Crystal Creek offers a larger picnic area and swimming hole, so pack the sausages and use the BBQ facilities available here while you enjoy the wildlife and lush green rainforest that surround.
3. Paluma Range National Park
Distance from Townsville City: 1 hr 50 min via Bruce Highway and Forestry Rd
80 km out of Townsville lies the most southern patch of rainforest in Australia, and where the Paluma Range National Park is situated. Here you’ll find Paradise Waterhole where swimming and kayaking are welcomed. There are a variety of walking tracks to follow including Paluma Walk, McClellands Lookout and the Birthday Creek Falls Track where you’ll spot an array of birds and, if you’re lucky, possibly even a cassowary.
4. Billabong Sanctuary
Distance from Townsville City: 20 minutes via Bruce Highway
Travel south of Townsville 17km where you’ll find the Billabong Sanctuary. Home to over 100 species of reptiles, mammals and birds where you can see, learn about and hold the animals. The sanctuary also has its own breeding programs where children can see crocodiles, cassowaries, wombats, koalas, parrots and pythons of all ages and how their species is maintained.
5. The Great Barrier Reef
Distance from Townsville City: Varies depending which reef you plan on visiting
Jump on one of the local boat tours and explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. There are many charter tours that allow for snorkeling, whale spotting and visiting the famous Yongala ship wreck. However, If you are after a day trip in style, you can also take a helicopter to Havannah Island, which is completely secluded island that is part of the Palm Island Group, you’ll have your own private Island to explore for the day!
6. Charters Towers
Distance from Townsville City: 1 hr 30 minutes via Flinders Highway
Founded in the early 1870’s, this historic town is a must-see while traveling around Townsville. Located 90 minutes south west, it is famous for once being a hot spot for gold and mining in the 18th century. Here you will find an array of historic architecture, buildings, machinery and even a haunted hotel that is sure to take your family back in time. Make sure to stop by their local cafes for an authentic small-town meal.
Distance from Townsville City: 2 hours via Bruce Highway
Although this is a little out of the way, Cardwell is worth a visit. Go for a swim at Five Mile Swimming Hole or Cardwell Spa Pools, an environmental spectacle worth waking up early for. These pools are bright blue in colour due to the water seeping its way up from underground, passing rocks and drawing in minerals. Make a stop off at Attie Creek Falls on the way, to make use of the long drive, and don’t forget to bring lunch as these locations don’t have public amenities.
8. Alligator Creek
Distance from Townsville City: 25 min via Bruce Highway
This spot is popular on a hot summers’ day for the locals as the water is crystal clear and often cold, which is perfect if you wish to take the hiking tracks and cool off after. Only 25 minutes south of Townsville, make a day of swimming, hiking and picnicking with the family. Fish are abundant in the creeks and there are viewing decks to wonder over the large rocky waterfalls situated here.
9. Horseshoe Bay Ranch
Distance from Townsville City: 20 minutes via Ferry to Magnetic Island, 10 minutes drive via Horseshoe Bay Rd
This isn’t just any ordinary ranch; Horseshoe Bay Ranch is located on Magnetic Island and offers guided horseback tours from the outback to the ocean. Beginning at the ranch, the horseback tour takes you through native bushland, where you may spot kangaroos and koalas, before heading down to the beach where you can strip down to your swimmers and take a dip in the ocean on the back of your horse. What an experience! Tours run for 2 hours, new riders and children are welcomed and stinger suits are provided in the stinger season.
10. Wallaman Falls
Distance from Townsville City: 2 hrs 20 minutes via Bruce Highway
Wallaman is located in the protected Wet Tropics World Heritage area and is part of sacred aboriginal lands. It is the highest single-drop waterfall in Australia and is surrounded by lush rainforests the date back further than most all over the world. Here you will find two lookouts where you can view the 268 meters of cascading water that drops to the pools below. It can be a slightly bumpy drive to the top, so pack a lunch and make sure you go after a bit of rainfall to see the waterfall in full force.
Distance from Townsville City: 1 hr 25 minutes via Bruce Highway
Located within the Hinchinbrook Shire, Ingham is a town known for sugar cane, Italian life and the TYTO Wetlands and Information Centre, a bird lover’s paradise providing easy viewing of more than 230 different bird species. Ingham is also only a short drive away from Lucinda, Forrest Beach and the stunning Hinchinbrook Island Lookout.
Distance from Townsville City: 1 hr 28 minutes via Flinders Highway and Burdekin Falls Dam Road
Ravenswood was a once thriving gold mining town – today, it is beautifully preserved, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of what it was once like in the 1800s. Ravenswood has a number of heritage-listed sites and plenty of historic buildings to discover, including Mabel Mill, the Railway Hotel, the London Mine, Ravenswood Court House and various ruins. It’s a fascinating history lesson for young and old alike.
Feature image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.