Things To Do In Townsville
Townsville is a city in Queensland, Australia that serves as the main gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. It is lined with yacht clubs, a busy cultural center, military and reef museums, water parks, casino, and beaches with a well maintained promenade area. The Castle Hill is a great way to have a panoramic photo of the city. The central business district is dotted with yachts on the water and 5 star hotels and fine dining restaurants along the coastal road.
Townsville is also famous for its Reef HQ Aquarium where the Great Barrier Reef area is modelled realistically inside a large water tank. The huge glass tunnel through a landscape with coral fish in all sizes and colors is fascinating. The smaller pool with specific topics such as deep water, mangroves, crabs, etc., is all worth seeing. The other highlight of this tour is a visit to the Turtle Hospital. The presence of these fascinating sea creatures up close is noticeable and the mission is truly admirable. It is comforting to know that this institution in Townsville is doing everything to help sick sea turtles.
When To Go:
It is common in knowledge in Queensland, particularly in Townsville that this region experiences only two kinds of weather all year round; the dry and rainy season. The weather is basically more on the tropical side where the dry season is experienced from the month of May until the last week of October. This is the ideal time to visit the city and enjoy its natural attractions.
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The rainy season often leads to torrential rains and floods. What’s surprising is there are lots of sunny days too even if it’s the wet season. This erratic weather is experienced in Townsville from the months of November to April. If you’re not comfortable going around the city sporting a raincoat and bothered by frequent rain and floods, avoid travelling during its low season.
Here are the top attractions and things to do in the city of Townsville:
The 290 meters above sea level Castle Hill is a great vantage point to have a full view of the entire Townsville. In summer, the steep and uphill climb should not be made without a hat or drinking water due to the excessive heat. The trail is quite challenging, but you will be rewarded. Once you reach the top, you can look at Townsville and marvel at how big it is. The hill has several small ways from where you can look down and see the different corners of the city. From the Castle Hill, you have a great view over Townsville, Magnetic Island and the hinterland. The viewpoint can be reached by car and just ten minutes away from the airport. However, RV driveway is not suitable.
One can also go up jogging and do not worry about refreshments; there are amenities to choose from at the top. The climb takes place via separate paths and requires agility and strength. At the top, there is a small circular walk to enjoy the views in all directions.
There are two ways to get to this place, the first option is by car and the second is by walking or running. One tip: if the plan is to know this place by walking (exercising), it has to be done in the morning because of the unbearable heat before noontime. However, the climb can still be done in the afternoon to have the best view of the sunset or towards the evening and see how the city sparkles with the lights down below.
The Strand is a park on the waterfront with free attractions for children, free Wi-Fi, drinking fountains, changing rooms, restaurants, and bars. It is an impressive boardwalk along the beach with a wide promenade, simple and brilliant and best of all, free! The long avenue is furnished with lots of possibilities for bathing, a water play area for children and a large seawater swimming pool at the end of the walk. This is one of the must see attractions in Townsville. The esplanade is well maintained, neat and lively, and ideal for families and cyclists. It has a nice view of Magnetic Island and other industrial structures facing the ocean. It is the place to see and be seen when in Townsville.
The Strand has something for everyone, and the beach area is a great well-kept promenade with lots of places to barbecue. You can just go for a walk and enjoy the coast. Many go jogging, skating, or try the water sports available here. On the beach, there is the Rockpool where you can go swimming with your children. Some fenced playgrounds are also made available as a water park for children (it is well fenced so the kids can swim without any danger). Of course, you can simply chill out there with your friends and walk while eating an ice cream, or enjoy a glass of iced cold beer while observing the coast. The playgrounds alternate with the small food stalls and seats. In some sections, there are also restaurants in all price ranges and a permanent outdoor public art gallery. It is safe to swim in its waters and it is locally supervised by the lifeguards. Parking is available along the entire promenade, which is the best place to see the mix of tourists and locals enjoying the simple amenities of this prominent beach park in Townsville.
A visit to the Billabong Sanctuary is a tour that you will treasure about Townsville. It has lots of variety of animals and the fact that you can buy and choose their food and your hands can feed the kangaroos is fantastic. It is worth taking pictures with the animals that you can touch or hug and a very good opportunity to interact with them. Get there early in order not to miss the animal shows, the feeding time of the crocodiles, bird show, snakes, etc. The staffs here are kind and friendly; and will politely assist you if you need help taking pictures or have questions about the animals. The kangaroos here lead an apparently happy life as they bounce freely through the grounds and get out of each visitor more than enough attention and food. Other animals have it not quite as good. The enclosures are partially small and not well maintained. In the scheduled shows you will learn a lot about the animals, which is one of the best features of the sanctuary.
The Billabong Sanctuary cares for numerous species of native Australian animals and you can see them all up close; starting from the wallabies, koalas, parrots, pythons, giant turtles, wombats, dingoes, snakes and saltwater crocodiles. Make sure you get there early and follow the ranger's instructions. They work closely with every animal and with a lot of dedication. Every half hour or three minutes there is a demonstration of a particular species. The ultimate crowd favorite is the presentation of the crocodiles, while the minor gripe is the photo opportunity with the baby crocodile. They need to keep the mouth shut with a clear tape for the safety of the visitors, which makes it slightly uncomfortable for the beast. However, this place is still highly recommended if you want to get close to the Australian animals. The entrance fee is a little expensive, but it is all worth it.
Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium
The Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef is a sea aquarium that gives every guest an idea what the Great Barrier Reef looks like if they don't have the chance to see it personally. Here at Reef HQ, in two hours you can already see everything easily. This is a good starting point too if you plan to explore the Great Barrier Reef because it is like having an awesome preview of what to see and do in the most visited reef of the world.
At approximately three to four in the afternoon, there is a presentation about sea turtles and you can take a look at the shelter for the injured turtles. This is a heart warming place to visit in Townsville with fun activities for children and where you can feel the sincere intention to save the helpless turtles. Travel tip: go after lunch to see this colorful artificial reef because there is more chance to see the animals awake and gamely interaction with visitors.
The Riverway is located right next to a mall and it has a bus load of tourists at all times. This water park is an ideal place in Townsville where you can get to use the pool without any problems with cleanliness and safety.
You can be at ease and try all the activities offered here like; kayaking, boat rowing, swimming, and biking. Some pools are both for adults and for children. The bike and car parking here is free. It is also equipped with a market, huge pools for swimming events and competitions, a cafeteria with lots of benches and tables in the outdoor setting for a nice family picnic.
Queens Gardens Townsville
For relaxation and discovery of the rich flora and fauna of this city, it is a must to see the Queens Gardens Townsville. It is a pleasant garden to unwind after a tour of the major attractions in the city. It is lined with lovely flowers, trees, and cacti. This garden is a nice place to walk around while surrounded by colorful blooms and if you look closely, there is a lot to discover.
It is a well tended horticultural and botanical garden in Townsville. In addition to that, it has trees of all tropical vegetation (and some "imports") and a small zoo with the most exotic birds of the region. The best part of the tour? It's free!
The Jezzine Barracks is located at the other side of The Strand and it is the best source of any information regarding the war history of Townsville. It is no doubt very informative and has a beautiful view of the sea and the other part of Castle Hill. The only downside of this attraction is it provides a little shade and there are lots of open spaces to soak up the sun in all its glory.
However, it wonderfully combines the essence of history and beauty of the place. It is a great place for backpackers to explore. The trail alone leading to the site of the Jezzine Barracks is already exciting enough. Knowing the story and anecdotes given by the guides here about the bombing in World War II makes it doubly interesting to discover and be acquainted with. The entrance to this marvellous testament about the brave Australian soldiers is absolutely free. Don’t forget to take pictures beside its famous landmark; the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Adrenalin Snorkel Dive
The Adrenaline Snorkel Dive is a diving tour operator that offers a three-day, three-night trip in the water of Townsville. The company has an old small boat, but the dive spots and service of the crew makes everything good and the reef expedition (Reef Lonestone) totally unforgettable. The food is well arranged and there are plenty of fresh seafood and lots of fruit. The professional scuba diving instructors and guides here are all attentive and share informative tips about the islands. The free use of the scuba diving gears and equipment is included in the package. It is an ideal water sports activity for those who are not seasick because it actually takes 3½ hours to arrive at the dive site and another 3 and a half hours to return. With waves crashing all the time, and a boat so small that has 80% of passengers loaded and holding tight, the beauty of the dive location and the attentive crew, very well compensate for the six hours of discomfort.
They have two groups managing the boat, one for divers with drums and one for the guests. The team is helpful and patient with everyone, even with those who are afraid and have difficulty to enter the sea. The passionate crew is always well prepared to answer the questions and doubts about boat comfort, safety equipment of the vessel, detailed briefing on where to find marine wildlife species in Townsville, concern for the safe return of the diver to the boat, food, fruits, juices, medicine for seasickness and how to equalize with the water during the diving expedition.
Remote Area Dive
For great exploration dives along the Great Barrier Reef, do not hesitate to contact the services of the professional skippers and divers of the Remote Area Dive. They know all the superb diving spots in the reef and guarantee you a safe and memorable adventure into the deepest part of the ocean. Craig, the skipper will take you to a remote and a new place on the Reef that is indescribably beautiful.
The dive instructors here are very nice and above all, able to inform you ahead of what to expect from this scuba diving expedition. The rented equipment is in top shape and can manage to give two super great dives. The diving tour comes with a lunch buffet prepared by the divers while on board. The surprise highlight at the end of the trip is the best part of it all. Craig will bring you to a part of the ocean where a huge humpback whale swims right next to the boat giving you an opportunity to score a lot of great pictures.
The Townsville Palmetum is a free and superb tropical park with excellent rain forest and colorful blooms. This hidden gem is one of the surprising attractions of the city. It is kind of hard to imagine that a natural park with lush vegetation and wildlife is located right next to the busy downtown part of the city. Inside this nature park is an oasis of peace and tranquillity. This location also lies parallel to the river and has a nice green area to do picnic, hike, and bike. If you visit during weekdays, you will feel that the place looks a bit deserted, but being in the center of the city it is amazing to know that it has lots of well preserved sites waiting to be discovered within its premises.
If you visit Townsville City, pay attention to the protection from the sun and always keep your sun block ready because this city is in the tropical zone and close to the ozone hole in the center-south of Australia. Prepare also your stamina and great sense of adventure because there are lots of hiking and water activities to do. Townsville is an exciting city to discover because it has lots of surprising corners along the way. Every attraction is well signposted and there is no danger of getting lost along the way. Even the local guides are equipped with historical details and accurate information regarding an old castle or landmarks of the city. Another fascinating information about Townsville, most of the major attractions have free entrances and the water parks are safe to swim with and fully equipped with lifeguards and complete beach infrastructure.
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