While it is probably the most industrial city in north Queensland, there are still plenty of fun things to do in Townsville with lots of family friendly attractions and outdoor activities.
1. Hang out at the Strand – With views across the ocean to Magnetic Island, The Strand is the focal point of Townsville with some good restaurants, the beach, playgrounds and a waterpark making for good all-round entertainment for the whole family.
2. Soak up the sun at Riverway – The Riverway complex is inland but located along the Ross River. It includes an Arts Centre as well as a couple of great lagoons for swimming, pathways along the river (where you can spot turtles) and a cool garden playground.
3. Enjoy the river – If you want to get on the river rather than just look at it, you can hire stand up paddle boards or kayaks.
4. Castle Hill – A must-do in Townsville. Walk to the top for the best views of the city
5. Go cycling – Townsville is very bike-friendly with lots of bike trails around the city. Look out for the Council’s bikeways and walkways map at visitor information centres and bike shops.
6. Art Galleries – There are a number of art galleries in Townsville including the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery and Pinnacles Gallery, which are definitely worth checking out.
7. Go on a segway tour – Segways are becoming a novel way to do some sightseeing and Segway Townsville offer two tours in two different locations.
9. MTQ – The Museum of Tropical Queensland is located near the Strand and often has great exhibitions on for children, with lots of additional activities.
10. Drum Circle – Every month on the night of the Full Moon the sound of drums can be heard across Townsville as hundreds of people gather to make music together. The atmosphere is great fun so if you’re there at full moon definitely check it out. Don’t worry if you haven’t got any percussion instruments with you, there’s always extra ones going around.
11. Get to know Townsville’s foodie scene – Townsville is proud of its food scene and there are some great restaurants and cafes to enjoy a nice long lunch.
12. Skydiving – The best way to get a view of the whole region and arrive on the beachfront along the Strand
13. Cowboys Game – If you love sport make sure you catch North Queensland’s only NRL team in action
14. Wander the Botanic Gardens – There’s a choice of four botanic gardens in Townsville including the Palmetum, which is unusual as it is entirely dedicated to displaying varieties of palm (who knew there were so many?!).
15. Check out the markets – There are several markets held around the Townsville area but check out the Cotter’s markets on the first Sunday of the month in Flinders Mall
16. Learn to kitesurf – Is it time you tried a new sport? Why not give kitesurfing a go.
17. Scenic flights – there are several options for taking scenic flights around the region of Townsville. You can choose a helicopter flight or for something a bit more unusual a Red Baron Seaplane.
18. Have a picnic at Jezzine Barracks – Artworks, boardwalks and parklands make this development a scenic place to spend a couple of hours. This is also where you’ll find the army museum.
19. AIMS – Interested in learning more about the Great Barrier Reef? The Australian Institute of Marine Science runs public tours on Friday morning.
20. Head to the hills for high tea – Only 30 minutes from Townsville, Herveys Range Heritage Tearooms are a fabulous place to drive out for a beautiful afternoon tea in a rustic heritage setting.
21. Try flyboarding – This new activity is all the rage around the world so if you feel like getting out of your comfort zone why not give it a go with NQ Flyboarding who offer sessions at Pallarenda.
22. Tour Magnetic Island in a mini-moke – Magnetic Island is beautiful island only a 20 minute ferry ride from Townsville so you can easily head over for a daytrip (although there’s plenty of good reasons to stay longer too).
23. Cuddle a koala – Get your wildlife fix at the Bungalow Bay Koala Village on Maggie Island. They offer two hour tours that include cuddling a koala, patting a wombat, feeding a cockatoo and holding a baby saltwater crocodile, python, lizards and baby turtles.
24. Spot koalas – If wildlife in its natural environment is more your thing then head over to Maggie for some bushwalking. More than half of the island is National Park so there are lots of trails including the Forts Walk, which is probably the best known. Maggie has Australia’s biggest koala colony so there is a pretty good chance of seeing one.
25. Feed rock wallabies – head over to Alma Bay on Magnetic Island and you’ll also be able to hand feed this little creatures.
26. Dive Trip – There are dive trips from Townsville to the Great Barrier Reef or for something different you can dive Yongala shipwreck, one of the most famous dives in the Australia.
27. Beach horse riding – head over to Magnetic Island for bareback horse riding along the beach.
28. Swim in a rainforest lake at Paluma National Park
29. Cattle mustering – Looking for a true blue outback experience? Woodstock Trail Rides, just south of Townsville, offers the whole cattle station experience including mustering on horseback. They also do guided trail rides for beginners and experienced riders.
30. Feed a croc at Billabong Sanctuary – About 20 minutes south from the centre of Townsville, the Billabong Sanctuary is a wildlife park that is owned by the same people as Bungalow Bay Koala Village so it runs along similar lines. They also run a Sleepover Program where you can enjoy the park at night.
31. Explore freshwater swim holes – Swim in some of the region’s natural freshwater creeks and swimholes
32. Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park – This scenic coastal park is good for some bushwalking and wildlife spotting. It is home to many types of birds, wallabies and lizards and has short tracks leading to an historic display, picnic spots, the beach and the remains of an old jetty destroyed by a cyclone in 1971. Take a picnic and have lunch on the beach.
33. Great Green Way – This tropical coast drive starts in Townsville so take a drive north to see the changing scenery and visit Wallaman Falls in the beautiful Girrigun National Park (as you pass through Cardwell make sure you stop and check out out the Girrigun Aboriginal Art Centre – they are making a big impression on the international art scene).
34. River Kayaking – Two hours north of Townsville near Tully, Ingan Tours offer kayaking trips down the Bulgan River with an Indigenous guide.
35. Palm Island – Sealink offer day tours to Palm Island where you can spend a day experiencing Aboriginal culture and learning about the history of the island
37. Undara – Four hours from Townsville, Undara will give you your outback fix and also introduce you to Australia’s volcanic history
38. Hinchinbrook Island – The famous Thorsborne Trail is located on Hinchinbrook about an hour to the north of Townsville.
39. Hire a houseboat – The Hinchinbrook area is renowned for its fishing and if you like the idea of spending a few lazy days on the water catching fish for dinner, then why not hire a houseboat?
40. Hidden Valley – Sunrise and sunset are the best times to spot platypus so treat yourself to a stay at Hidden Valley Cabins in Paluma and see if you can spot one of these elusive animals
42. Mission Beach – A favourite beach getaway with the locals, Mission Beach is a quiet little coastal village about 2-3 hours north. If you’re a wildlife lover, this is a good place to spot a cassowary.
Photo thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland