Townsville is one of the largest towns in Queensland and a popular tourist spot for its location near Magnetic Island. A place where the Great Barrier Reef and the dry outback connect, Townsville is a beautiful oddity. So, if you’re looking to holiday here then there’s a few things you might like to know. Here are our ten top tips for visiting Townsville.
1. The Strand
The Strand is Townsville’s esplanade. It has beautiful views, a water park for kids, picnic tables, and plenty of food options along the way. It’s well used by both tourists and locals alike and if you’re travelling to Townsville, then you can’t miss it. Tip: catch The Strand at around sunset and you’ll experience the buzz of the area as well as the gorgeous changing colours of the evening sky.
The Milray Steakhouse, housed in The Centenary Hotel, is one of the best eats you will find. With their fresh steaks sourced directly from their own Milray cattle station and their kid’s menu, everybody is sure to enjoy their meals.
Being part of the dry tropics, Townsville is hot most of the year. During the winter months however, it does get a touch cooler, meaning it is a good idea to bring a jacket with you. You might also want a pair of long pants if you’re going out at night.
4. Sunscreen and water
If you’re going to be outside all day, it’s important to put on some sunscreen and bring a bottle of water. It’s hot weather, so you’re going to get dehydrated and sunburnt easily, and the last thing you want on your sunny holiday is to get heatstroke.
Townsville houses the largest military base in Australia and thus has several historical attractions. From its involvement in World War II to the Black Hawk tragedy in 1996, this town holds a significant part of Australia’s military history. Spots like Kissing Point, the Military Museum and the Black Hawk Tragedy site are interesting and definitely something to check out.
6. Castle Hill
Castle Hill is a well-known hiking location in the North Queensland region. While it’s only 286 metres in height, the relative flatness of the land around it gives hikers a fantastic view. If you’re not into hiking, you can always drive up to the top via Gregory Street, and then stop at one of the several lookout points at the top. Tip: visit at night to witness a sea of sparkling lights from the buildings below!
This one is considered a must-see location, especially if you have kids. The Museum of Tropical Queensland teaches you about the rainforest, the reef and its diving heritage, the story of the HMS Pandora, and dinosaurs! It also has an interactive exhibit about the reef shipwreck especially for children. Let your little ones explore history and learn a lot along the way.
8. Townsville Botanic Gardens
The smallest of four botanic gardens in Townsville, Queens Botanic Gardens stretches across 4 acres. It is a tropical garden, home to many colourful plants and open to the public between sunset and sunrise. This place is perfect for a day out with the family.
If you’re hot and sweaty and looking for something to cool you down, go to Juliette’s. Conveniently located on The Strand, this cute little place sells gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt in all kinds of fun flavours. Once you’ve purchased your sweet treat, you can walk out to the beach and enjoy your ice cream with your feet in the sand.
Townsville’s Reef HQ is an Aquarium dedicated entirely to the Great Barrier Reef. This means coral, tropical fish and children’s exclaims of ‘Nemo!’ It’s a great place to go especially if you’re not going out to the reef, and there’s free entry for children under the age of 5. Reef HQ is currently closed for refurbishments and will be up and running again in 2023.