Townsville Travel Guide

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Opening the door to lush tropical rainforests and the spectacular Great Barrier Reef, Townsville is the perfect combination of breathtaking nature and thriving city attractions.

Townsville, QLD

Explore the fascinating history of the area at one of its heritage sites, relax at gorgeous secluded beaches, sample local delights at a night market and snorkel over the world-famous coral reef. Townsville delivers unforgettable experiences.   

Things to do around Townsville

The largest town north of the Sunshine Coast, Townsville has established itself as a sophisticated city adorned with breathtaking natural wonder. Enjoy a taste of its city charms on The Strand, a gorgeous beach waterfront that looks over the Great Barrier Reef and is home to a growing number of cafes and restaurants. You can also enjoy some time with the kids at the nearby Strand Water Park. 

Near the north end of The Strand explore Townsville’s fascinating heritage at the Jezzine Barracks. These historic grounds are home to trails, boardwalks and sites that commemorate both the significant Indigenous and military WW2 history of the headland. The historic barracks are also home to a military museum that tells the story of the fort, built in 1870 and in use until 2006.

Explore world-class collections of historic and natural significance at the Museum of Tropical Queensland. The HMAS Pandora Gallery tells the epic story of the ship that chased The Bounty mutineers, before being wrecked in 1779, through a collection of salvaged artefacts. Kids will also love the Enchanted Rainforest, an immersive experience that explores North Queensland’s unique environment.

Sound like enough to build an appetite? Townsville has a thriving food and wine scene with an abundance of elegant restaurants and cafes around The Strand. On the first Friday of every month, you can also discover delicious local produce, a well as fashion, arts and entertainment, at the Strand Night Markets.

Beaches and nature

With the world-famous Great Barrier Reef on your doorstep, there’s no shortage of adventure. Stroll the jetty to view the Museum of Underwater Art’s reef sculptures, or take a tour to Magnetic Island and snorkel over spectacular multicoloured coral. Uncover more secrets of this World Heritage-listed wonder at the Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium.

The beaches around Townsville all offer beautiful and secluded spots to relax. Only 25 minutes from town, Bushland Beach has gorgeous sand, playground and barbecue facilities and a wooden shipwreck that is visible at low tide. You’ll also find quiet stretches of sand and bushland a short drive north of town, at the tranquil Saunders, Toolakea, Toomulla and Balgal Beaches.

How do I get to Townsville?

Located about 350 km south of Cairns and 1300 km north of Brisbane, Townsville is a scenic North Queensland gem. By rail, the Spirit of Queensland takes six hours from Cairns and 18 hours from Brisbane. You can also arrive by plane at Townsville Airport, serviced by regular Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Jetgo flights. Greyhound and Premier Coaches also operate between Cairn and Brisbane.

Top things to do in Townsville

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