Located on the north-eastern coast of Queensland, Australia, Townsville is a city that is adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef in the dry tropics region. There is so much beautiful and amazing nature to explore and adventures to be had.
For socializing and entertainment and other outdoor activities the place to be is the popular beachfront promenade known as The Strand. It stretches for more than 2 kilometers and offers a pleasant place to take walks, ride bikes, picnic and barbecue and playgrounds for children. You can soak up the sun at the beaches and go swimming. There are many cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs with a large choice of food and beverages. For nighttime entertainment you can enjoy the games at the city’s casino.
Of interest to divers is The Moltke, a wreck dive that is accessible from the shoreline of Magnetic Islands. This is an old cargo boat that has been at its present place for more than 70 years. Divers enjoy the wreck because of all of the corners and holes which have become home to marine life. You can see fish like Batfish, Grouper, Squirrelfish, Butterflyfish and Damselfish.
Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive is Townsville’s longest established dive training and marine tourism operator. They provide snorkeling and diving trips and also train new divers. You can join with them and start to enjoy snorkeling and diving the Outer Great Barrier Reef.
The best diving site is the SS Yongala Wreck. This is a national historical wreck lying within Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The wreck can be spotted 14 meters below the surface and it sits on a sandy bottom at 29 meters. The artifacts, marine life and variety of corals that cover this wreck are fantastic. This is one terrific dive for certified divers.
You can take a day trip and visit Lodestone Reef located on the Great Barrier Reef. A professional crew will take you out to enjoy unlimited snorkeling, introductory scuba dives or two certified dives. There is a lot of amazing marine life in the tropical crystal clear waters.
Arcadia is the smallest of the four main bays around Magnetic Island and it’s surrounded by the prominent Alma Bay and Geoffrey Bay.
Geoffrey Bay is a Marine National Park one. It’s fantastic for exploring at low tide but no fishing or collecting is allowed. A great spot for feeding rock wallabies at dusk is the old barge jetty.
A popular place for swimming is Alma Bay. Here you can find public amenities such as gas barbecues, picnic tables, a children’s playground, changing areas and restrooms. Alma Bay is famous for its ANZAC Day Commemorations. Soldiers from the Thirty-Fifth Field Squadron (Reservist Engineers) annually re-enact the events that took place here and make a dawn landing right on the beach.
Part of the popular Northern Beaches district of Townsville North Queensland includes Balgal Beach. Here visitors can find a great sandy beach and a wonderful place for swimming. This is also a renowned river fishing location. Nearby you can find cafes as well as holiday units and tent camping and vehicle camping areas.
One of the more unusual attractions here can be found near Charters Towers which is about a 2 hour drive to the south-west of Townsville. Here you can experience the feel that is similar to traveling the great Western trails of America during the 1800s. This is much more than just your regular cattle farm. This is home to the largest herd of the Texas Longhorn variety of cattle. These cattle are known for their huge horns, unique coloring and longevity. This is also home to the world-famous “JR” the current Guiness World Record holder for the longest horns tip-to-tip measuring an amaing 2.8 meters and still growing. Other wildlife to be seen are Bison, Water Buffalo, deer and kangaroos.
Visitors are treated to a old-time wagon drive around the grounds. All about you can see rustic memorabilia and equipment that brings back thoughts of the Old West. You’ll see that here is a mix of the US-style experience and the traditional Aussie bush tucker. Take an fascinating look into the saddlery and see the art of leatherworking and the history of mounted transport. You can look around the workshop as well. So have a great time and enjoy yourself with the Texas Longhorn Wagon Adventures.
For a really good time that the whole family can enjoy head for the Barra Fun Park. There are 25 acres of lovely landscape. You’ll see big and small barra dams where you can catch a barramundi fish, experience the huge inflatable water park, two inline cable skis for wakeboarding or skiing, a huge jumping pillow, slip n slide toboggan rides and water bikes. This fun park is open every weekend and every day of Queensland school holidays. There are shady barbecue areas to enjoy.
See the amazing wildlife park Billabong Sanctuary with more than 100 species of Australian animals, it specializes in the fauna of North Queensland like the saltwater crocodile and the endangered cassowary. This park is set in 25 acres of natural bush land with three representative habitats – rainforest, eucalypt woodland and wetlands all set about a billabong home to lots of waterfowl. This is Australia’s best interactive wildlife experience. You will have a great adventure with lots of animal encounters. Visitors can hold a wombat, a crocodile or a koala and even put a python around your shoulders.
This sanctuary focuses on the conservation and preservation of native species. The park also features the amazing Blencoe Falls, plunging 90 meters into a pool and then cascades down a farther 230 meters to the bottom of Blencoe Gorge where the water joins the Herbert River in the Herbert River Gorge. You can see towering cliffs and rugged ridges that are covered in open forest and vine-thicket rainforest scattered with hoop pines on the gullies and upper slopes of the gorge. You can set-up camp and take walks along the falls. A great place to start is the gateway to the Wet Tropics Great Walk with 110 kilometers of tracks and includes short and overnight walks.
A wonderful place for picnicking and relaxing is by the picturesque fresh water creek at Bluewater. You can gain access to the creek though the Bluewater Store, near the bridge or Bluewater Park. Facilities here include barbecues, restrooms, showers, play equipment and a designated area for limited free tent and vehicle camping.
You’ll find The Urban Forest adjacent to Bluewater Park. There is a fitness trail more than 800 meters long with eight activity stations that are located along a pathway that is surrounded by over 7000 trees. A boat ramp is also accessible.
Visit the scenic Herbert River Valley, Abergowrie State Forest. Here you’ll find tropical rainforest, open eucalypt forest and exotic pine plantations. All of this is adjacent to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. There is a large grassy clearing known as Broadwater that is shaded by tall eucalypts by the cool, clear waters of Broadwater Creek. You can set up camp here and take a walk along the 1,6 kilometer return Rainforest walk through endangered riparian rainforest and take a look at the huge old Broadwater fig tree. Along the longer 3 kilometer return Creek you can walk through eucalypt and riparian forest to the wonderful pools along Broadwater Creek and take a refreshing swim. In the rainforest you can bird watch and look for wallabies in the open forest in the afternoons.
In the center of Townsville sits Castle Hill, a giant pink granite monolith. There is vehicle access and many popular walking trails. You can see spectacular 360-degree views of the city which are particularly fantastic at sunrise and sun set. Castle Hill has a significant history. The hill’s vantage was used by visiting American soldiers during WW II. Local legend has it that the visitors offered to demolish this hill and use the rock to build a bridge to Magnetic Island. A WW II observation bunker can be found in one corner of the hill. Facilities here include car parking, public amenities, drink fountains and shaded seating.