Is Townsville totally underrated?

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Many travelers to Australia head straight for the big cities of Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, and Brisbane. Townsville, on the other hand, is often forgotten, and in our opinion, is totally underrated. For many, the city only serves as an overnight stay on the way to Magnetic Island. However, the third largest city in Queensland offers not only a great waterfront but also relaxed vibes and a laissez-faire atmosphere.

With its friendly locals, and a year-round pleasant climate, the underrated city of Townsville needs to be included in your holiday plan. Townsville is strategically located which makes it a great base and a gateway to Australia’s highlights such as the Great Barrier Reef. So be sure to spend a few days in Townsville!

Art in Townsville
Art in Townsville

The Best Sights of Townsville

Typically, when we come to a new city, we always want to see the top highlights. We like to pin the highlights on Google Maps, as well as recommendations we received from other travelers or places that we have found on Pinterest. Usually, our next step is to get lost. We love to get off the beaten path and explore a city or country. Our most beautiful travel memories have been created this way.

Enjoying the bright side of life in underrated Townsville
Enjoying the bright side of life in Townsville

We had already selected the best sights of Townsville before we arrived and could not wait to check them out. And luckily for us, the first thing after we arrived, we chatted with some great locals, who gave us a few more fantastic tips.

We liked Townsville and its atmosphere so much that we came back three times. Here are our favorite things to do in Townsville.

The Strand

The Strand is the incredibly great waterfront promenade that winds along the ocean for miles. When we arrived in Townsville, The Strand was our first stop, and we didn’t want to leave. Lined with palm trees, a pleasant sea breeze, and warming sunshine, The Strand was our personal paradise. Joggers and walkers are everywhere. You also see locals out for a stroll with their dogs and getting their daily gossip. It seems like The Strand is the meeting spot of all of Townsville. We spent several hours at The Strand and met many nice people who came over and chatted with us as we watched the hustle and bustle.

Here we met Maree, who generously invited us to her home. We spent a memorable Australian evening with her and her family and had a lot of laughs!

Address:

The Strand, Townsville, Queensland 4810

Beach in Townsville
Beach in Townsville

Juliette’s Ice Cream

In the middle of the promenade is a little ice cream stall named Juliette’s, which seduces you with many colorful ice cream varieties and a view of the ocean. It took all the willpower we possessed not to eat ice cream there every day! We loved the lemon sorbet as well as the banana ice cream. But you can’t go wrong here because everything tastes great! Juliette’s also has an ice cream café on the drive into town, that has tables.

Address:

Shop 7/58 The Strand, Townsville, Queensland 4810

Opening hours: 6:00 am – 9:30 pm

Website: Juliette’s

Delicious Ice-Cream at Juliettes in Townsville
Delicious Ice-Cream at Juliettes

The Strand Rockpool

Certainly not an insider tip is this large saltwater pool, which is located at the north end of the promenade. With picnic tables, BBQs, and a large grassy sunbathing area, the Rockpool is another highlight of Townsville!

Sitting on the grass, you have a fantastic view of the ocean. And when you lie down, the palm fronds sway above you, and the view is no less beautiful. Either way, it will bring you a feeling of pure holiday! The palm trees provide shade and in Townsville, there is always a gentle breeze blowing, so the warm sun is absolutely pleasant. A bistro, playground, outdoor showers, and ample parking makes it complete. With 300 sunny days a year, the Rockpool is definitely a hit in the city, for both locals and tourists!

At the Rockpool Townsville
At the Rockpool

Kissing Point

From The Strand Rockpool, stone stairs lead up to the Kissing Point Fortification. Kissing Point Fort was built to protect the harbor during World War II. It was the headquarters of the Infantry Battalion. Today Kissing Point is a popular viewing point, with many informative historical signs and monuments. There are also amazing views of Magnetic Island.

From the Fort, just keep walking and you will come to Kissing Point Boardwalk, which offers scenic views of the surrounding bays.

Address:

38-41 Howitt Street, North Ward, Queensland 4810

Best views on the Boardwalk at Kissing Point Townsville
Best views on the Boardwalk at Kissing Point

Jezzine Barracks

Jezzine Barracks is a fortress that was once used for military purposes but is now open to the public. The Barracks offers a park, artwork, and the landscaped Ethno Botanical Walk where you can read all about the traditional plants. From here, you can also reach the coastal promenade with breathtaking views and viewpoints at Kissing Point Fortification and the boardwalk.

Address:

Mitchell Street, North Ward, Queensland 4810

Jezzine Barracks Townsville
Jezzine Barracks

Reef HQ

The Reef HQ is a must that you shouldn’t leave out. With a wide range of exhibitions and educational and informative programs, you can immerse yourself in the wonderful world of the Great Barrier Reef.

Address:

2-68 Flinders St, Townsville, Queensland 4810

Opening hours: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Entrance fees: $28.00 for adults, children 5-16 years old $14.00, children under 5 are free

Website: https://www.reefhq.com.au/

Botanical Gardens

For plant lovers, there are three Botanical Gardens in the city! All three are beautifully laid out and are a great oasis to linger in.

Anderson Gardens is the largest park in Townsville; Palmetum features only palm trees.; and Queens Gardens, is the oldest garden in Townsville.

Address:

Anderson Park Botanic Gardens

Gulliver Street, Mundingburra, Queensland 4812

Palmetum

University Road, Townsville, Queensland 4810

Queens Gardens

Paxton Street, North Ward, Queensland 4810

Traditional plants Ethno Walk Tow
Beautiful flowers

Castle Hill Lookout

We LOVED the Castle Hill Lookout! We must admit that we drove to the top of the lookout. While we were driving up, we noticed that everyone else was running up the mountain. Or jogging, riding their bikes, or inline skating. We even saw mothers pushing strollers up the steep hill! When we asked how long it takes to get to the top, we received different answers. But one thing is for certain: no matter what answers we received; we could have never made it up as fast! But whether you’re driving to the top by car, or choosing the sportier option, the Castle Hill Lookout is fantastic. Especially at sunset! The lookout offers a 360° view of the city.

In addition to the two ways to get up, there is a third: the Goat Track. Although this path only takes about 20 minutes, it leads up a very steep staircase, and is probably the most strenuous way!

Address:

Castle Hill Road, Townsville, Queensland 4810

Castle Hill Lookout in underratedTownsville
Castle Hill Lookout
The view of Townsville from a lookout at Castle Hill
The view of Townsville from a lookout at Castle Hill

Magnetic Island

Just a stone’s throw from Townsville is the beautiful Magnetic Island. It takes just 25 minutes by ferry* to get to the island. A relatively short time to get from a small hip town to a dream island with hidden bays and a holiday feeling.

We saw wallabies who live between the rocks near the ferry and are not shy of people at all. We also spotted koalas high in the eucalyptus trees during our Fort Walk in the Magnetic Island National Park, where we had breathtaking views from the mountain top. And we felt like real adventurers wading our way through thick, muddy water to get to a shipwreck.

Did we make it to the shipwreck, or did we get stuck in the mud? Read about our highlights of Magnetic Island to find out!

SS City of Adelaide Magnetic Island
SS City of Adelaide

Townsville Golf Club

Townsville Golf Club is the oldest golf club in Queensland. We played 18 holes on this historic golf course, and absolutely loved our round. With some really great par three holes and greens that have quickish speed, if you’re a golfer, be sure to stop by Townsville Golf Club and play a round.

By the way: Greg Norman was born in Mt. Isa but lived in Townsville from his childhood until his youth!

Tropical views of the 13th green at Townsville Golf Club
Tropical views of the 13th green at Townsville Golf Club

Food

We live in a campervan which means that we usually eat in. But there are several restaurants to discover the culinary side of Townsville. Here are some streets in different neighborhoods where you can enjoy Townsville’s delicious variety:

Palmer Street for international cuisine

Flinders Street East for tapas and cocktails, and a mix of nightclubs, bars, and restaurants

Gregory Street with Open-Air Cafès and Boutiques

Cannon Park with a social atmosphere, surrounded by cinemas or live shows on the Riverway

City Lane with live entertainment and six restaurants along Flinders Street

Our Opinion

With breathtaking views, small beaches, and excellent weather, we absolutely loved Townsville and think that the city is totally underrated. It is large enough to be a city, but without the traffic jams found in larger cities. There are many shopping malls, an inviting city center, and the beach promenade, which was our personal highlight.

The weather is perfect all year round, which is reflected in the quality of life. The locals appreciate this and are relaxed and friendly. The location by the sea, the beach, and the palm trees of course all contribute to the quality of life. The cozy atmosphere and the fact that Townsville feels a bit like time has stood still makes the city a popular destination in our opinion.

The Strand at Townsville
The Strand at Townsville

Facts

Where is Townsville?

Townsville is Australia’s largest tropical city. It is located in the state of Queensland. Many known top destinations are close to the city: Mission Beach in the north, Charters Towers in the west, and Bowen in the south.

Magnetic Island is only 25 minutes away by ferry* and offers another highlight in this area.

Townsville is also the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and outback Queensland.

Magnetic Island Magnetic Island
Magnetic Island

How to get to Townsville?

Car: Driving along the coast, the Bruce Highway leads to Townsville. The route from Brisbane north to Townsville is about 1350 km long. From Cairns south to Townsville, is 350 km.

Bus: If you want to get to Townsville by bus, Greyhound serves the route from Brisbane, Cairns, and other locations.

Flight: Townsville has an airport from which you can reach the city center in a short 10 minutes. The airport serves the main cities on the east coast, plus flights to Darwin and Bali.

When is the best time to travel to Townsville?

Located in the tropics, Townsville has an excellent year-round climate for travel. It is rarely cooler than about 21° to 24° in the winter, and the maximum temperatures in summer (our winter) are usually not higher than 30°. And because Townsville is located on the coast, there is often a light cooling breeze.

Townsville doesn’t receive as much rain as other tropical locations. The wettest months in Townsville are January and February.

How long should I plan for Townsville?

We came to Townsville on three separate occasions, each for about 2 to 3 days. If you want to see the above-mentioned sights without rushing, and plan a trip to Magnetic Island, you should plan for at least 4 days.

Which accommodations are available in Townsville?

Townsville offers the right accommodations for every traveler. From caravan parks to backpacker hostels to high-end luxury hotels.

If you are looking for the right accommodation, please send us an email at hello@putteringaroundtheworld.com and we will find you the best fit.

*Behind the links marked with (*) are so-called affiliate links. This means that if you buy a product via the link, we will receive a small commission. For you, the price remains the same! Thank you for supporting Puttering around the World.

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