Townsville’s Strand is without a doubt a must do whilst visiting north Queensland. It is situated along the shore line and has magnificent views of the Port of Townsville and Magnetic Island, as well as views stretching all the way out to Cape Cleveland.
The Strand incorporates a jetty, recreational park, restaurants, cafes, a series of headlands, a free water park, picnic areas and swimming pools and enclosures. Children enjoy the large water playground and various sights along the walk, and are amazed with the lagoon style in-ground pool.
Castle hill dominates the Townsville landscape with its pink hues and from some angles it resembles a scene from Jurassic Park with the Palms in the foreground and the hill rising from the ground.
The lookout is worth the trip up the steep winding road for the magnificent views of the city as well as its historical significance. You haven’t been to Townsville if you haven’t been to the top of Castle Hill. Also a popular walk for the fitness enthusiasts.
Nowhere else in Australia can visitors interact with so many of Australia’s native animals. Visit Billabong Sanctuary for a fantastic day!
You can cuddle a koala, hold a wombat, and if you’re brave enough, there’s snake and crocodile handling too!
Nestled in 11 hectares (25 acres) of tropical bushland, the sanctuary is home to a magnificent variety of native mammals, birds and reptiles.
Stroll around the park with the friendly kangaroos and wallabies, take part in all the handling and feeding shows, or simply relax by the pool.
Join in the 2.5 km and 5 km ocean swims held off Strand Beach, Townsville held by the Townsville Open Water Swimming Association.
There`s also a Junior 1 km swim. The 5 km swim is a qualifier for the Magnetic Island to Townsville swim held later, in July. The Magnetic Island to Townsville Swim starts at waters edge, in front of the Picnic Bay SLSC, Magnetic Island and finishes at water’s edge, in front of the SLSC Clubhouse on the Strand Beach adjacent to the Strand Park jetty in Townsville. A total distance of 8 km.
Diving in North Queensland
If you’re looking for some of the best dive sites in the world then you’ll want to spend a few days in Townsville. There are so many exciting things to discover off the coast!
You’ll find a few dives centres dotted around the town and they all have daily trips or liveaboards to the dives sites in the area. The trips can be a couple of hours on the boat and the sea is sometimes rough so be sure to take a tablet if you get seasick or go on a liveaboard to get the most out of the diving.
There are about 10 different reef systems to explore and the area is home to some of the most diverse sea life on the planet. Other than the normal reef fish and corals, you may also see many different species of sharks, turtles, rays and so much more. There are some very exciting and interesting critters to discover too.
Voted the best wreck dive in the world, the 109 metre long S.S. Yongala should be the number one site on your list of dives to do from Townsville. You will need to be an advanced dive to see the wreck as it lies right on 30 metres so be sure to do your certification before you book the dive. The sea life is so huge around the wreck that you’d think there was a McDonalds in the vicinity. Expect to see massive sting rays, turtles as big as you, groupers and parrot fish that could swallow you whole (don’t worry, you’re not on the menu) and so many different other things that you won’t know where to look. You cannot penetrate the wreck as it has been declared as a grave site as some of the 124 passengers that went down with the ship are still inside.
Another great wreck dive is the Gothenburg Wreck. Keeper Reef is a great dive with lots of caves and canyons to explore, Shrimp Reef is a colourful coral garden full of sea life and reef sharks and Kelso Reef is a nice shallow dive that snorkelers can enjoy too.
These fantastic dives are waiting for you so be sure to stop in and visit Townsville on your way along the east coast of Australia.
The Reef HQ
The Reef HQ Aquarium is a real hit with kids and adults alike, where you can “experience the reef without getting wet”. The Reef HQ is the worlds largest living coral reef aquarium, with exhibits and displays of actual living corals in a perfectly balanced ecosystem. It’s a re-creation of the Great Barrier Reef with over 120 different fish species.
Here you can watch up close as you walk through the glass viewing tunnel- turtles, tropical fish, sting rays and sharks plus other species.
On a self-guided tour through the centre, visitors experience interactive displays, and the touch tank is a great experience as well, where kids get to hold starfish and other marine species. Staff are on hand to talk about the reef and how the animals survive, which is also a real educational opportunity.
The Reef HQ is home of the Turtle Hospital and you can take a guided tour to learn about what they do at the centre and how they care for the turtles that require a visit.
A big problem for turtles is that they ingest plastic, requiring treatment, and this is a real eye opener for kids to realise how important it is not to dump rubbish, especially around our waterways.