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Townsville Itineraries Queensland
Experience Oz Presents

Townsville Itineraries

by Experience Oz staff

The largest city in Australia's tropical north Queensland, Townsville is quickly becoming one of the go-to destinations for holidaymakers.

For the first-time visitor to Townsville and surrounds who is short on time and wanting to get the best value for their money, choosing an itinerary can be daunting due to a lack of national and international knowledge, even though the region is host to quite an impressive array of things to see and do.

n an attempt to make things easier for planning your Townsville holiday, we've put together a recommended itinerary for stays of lengths of 2, 3, 4 and 5 days in Townsville

Our aim with these recommendations is to provide the first-time visitor with a combination of seeing and experiencing the most essential things to do in Townsville and its surrounding areas such as Magnetic Island and more.


Day 1

Explore Reef HQ Aquarium

One of the best ways get your doese of all-things-reef, Reef HQ Aquarium is the world's largest living coral reef aquarium and a wonderful introduction to all the marine life that awaits just beyond Townsville's shores.

Townsville Reef HQ Aquarium

The aquarium is one of Australia's best and an ideal starting point for those who aren't confident swimmers and families alike. You'll be able to get an up-close look at the likes of hammerheads, rays, groupers and more in a very organic setting.

Suggested Post: Top Townsville Attractions for Kids

The aquarium sits in an ideal spot on the waterfront and provides a pleasant few hours at a great price, and can easily be followed up by a short walk to the nearby museum.

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Visit the Museum of Tropical Queensland

Location Seaworld Dr, Main Beach QLD

Located just a short walk from Reef HQ, this museum has a focus on the tropical, befitting the region it's based in and helping to differentiate it.

As a result, rainforests, the reef, and naval history all feature prominently here including its flagship, massive replica of the British HSM Pandora which sank back in 1791.

Townsville Museum of Tropical Queensland

A walk-in replica rainforest, fish and coral features, and plenty of interactive activities for kids round out the experience and make the Museum of Tropical QLD both informative and educational.

Kids can take part in optical illusions, dig for fossils, find hidden creatures in the rainforest and much more. With both of these attractions combined, you'll have a great base of understanding for the history and geography of the region before actually heading out on the reef.

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Spend the afternoon and evening on The Strand

The Strand is justifiably one of Townsville's trademarks, and as a great example of esplanade / foreshore development done right, it makes a great first afternoon-evening spot for the first day of any visit to the city.

Suggested Post: The Best Restaurants in Townsville

As a hub for most of Townsville's entertainment and outdoor enjoyment, it's a great blend of dining/greenery/amazing views out to nearby Magnetic Island and makes for a wonderful spot to take a stroll, enjoy some food, or simply relax on the spacious park areas

Townsville Strand Waterfront Precinct

There's something at The Strand to occupy all ages, with a free water park for the kids, plenty of facilities for cooking and picnics, walking and bike tracks and much more.

Take a stroll along its roughly 2km length, enjoy the afternoon sun, grab a bite to eat at one of the great local restaurants – how you choose to enjoy The Strand is entirely up to you.

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Day 2

Take a Magnetic Island Day Trip

One of the biggest drawcards for visitors to the Townsville region, Magnetic Island goes a long way to not only offering a great destination just a short ferry ride away, but adding to the overall character of the region as a great spectacle on the horizon from the mainland.

Spend the day on Magnetic Island with a day trip – just 20 minutes by boat – and take part in all the pleasures of a tropical island environment typical of the Great Barrier Reef.

Townsville Itineraries Magnetic Island Day Tour

Pristine beaches, hidden bays, abundant wildlife and a ton of walking tracks make Magnetic Island a paradise for those who enjoy the great outdoors, and during your time on the island you'll be able to snorkel, swim, hike, sunbathe and much more.

The sheltered nature of most of its waterways offer great spots for aquatic enjoyment, and most of the island's accommodation sits right on the waterfront – with options on all ends of the budget spectrum ranging from backpackers up to 5 star resorts.

Tour and accommodation packages are available that will take you to all the best highlights on the island while saving money on your stay, as well. Add to this opportunities for golf, theatre shows and plenty of other forms of recreation, and a day tour to Magnetic Island is sure to be full of enjoyment for all.

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Day 3

Climb Castle Hill

Townsville's centrepiece, Castle Hill sits smack-bang in the middle of the city, breaking up the urban landscape and also serving as the best viewpoint in the region for those looking to take in some great panoramas of the city, coast, reef and islands beyond.

At 286m tall, Castle Hill looms over the city and makes for one of the most popular walking, hiking and overall lookout points in the region, with its summit providing a great outlook over surrounding Cleveland Bay.

Townsville Itineraries Castle Hill Climb Lookout

Be sure to depart earlier in the day to avoid the midday heat, and the roughly 2.8km walk from the base becomes much easier; it's both tiring and rewarding, and the vantage point from the top is well worth the effort.

Suggested Post: Top 10 Things to do in Townsville

While driving is possible, the carpark at the top of Castle Hill near its main lookout area is almost always busy – especially on weekends – making it hard to find a spot at times. The summit is also equipped with facilities to make things easier after your trek up – just remember to bring a hat, put on your sunscreen and take some water and you'll end up with an adventure that is one of Townsville's true must-do's that's a great way to fill half a day.

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Take a Townsville Military Tour

For an alternative and more intimate look at Townsiville, spare some time to take a detailed exploration of the large role the military has played in the city's history and the lasting impact it's had on the town's layout and economy.

The city doubles as the home of Australia's largest army barracks and has played a large part in military duties for over 130 years, and visitors have the chance to experience all of this and more with a Townsville Military History tour that fills an afternoon with entertaining, passionate insight into Townsville.

Townsville Itineraries Military Barracks Tours

Blending history, culture and scenery into a single informative and entertaining package, the tours showcase the various defense sites, museums, memorials, barracks and more that combine to form the backbone of this military heritage.

Travelling from point to point, you'll get a detailed commentary outlining the various trials and tribulations our servicemen and women faced over the course of Townsville's history all conducted with a combination of professionalism, pride and respect.

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Day 4

Take an Outer Great Barrier Reef Day Trip

The Great Barrier Reef is the undisputed star of Tropical North Queensland and one of Australia's true natural gems, and has played a large role in Townsville's increasing popularity as a tourist destination.

It's considered one of the world's natural wonders for a reason, and travelling to the reef from Townsville provides a less-commercialised way to explore its wonders than the likes of Cairns or Port Douglas.

Townsville's slightly more southern location also comes with milder trade winds that can assist with both smoother waters (good for those who suffer from seasickness) and in granting higher levels of water visibility for snorkellers and divers alike.

Townsville Itineraries Outer Great Barrier Reef Tour

Day trips to the Outer Reef from Townsville typically focus on a smaller number of great dive sites rather than purely scenic cruising. The likes of popular spots Lodestone Reef and the SS Yongala wreck require more lengthy trips out than some other just-off-shore options in other destinations, but they're typically well worth the effort due to both quality and uniqueness of their dive experiences

A full day is required to get the most out of Townsville's reef adventures, so be sure to allocate enough time to soak in amazing corals, graceful sea turtles and everything else that calls the region their home.

Tours depart from the Breakwater Ferry Terminal, which is easily accessible from most Townsville accommodation.

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Day 5

Visit the Town Common Conservation Park

Day 5 on the itinerary aims to keep you sticking around Townsville itself in preparation for departure in the evening, and the city's wildlife haven of Town Common Conservation Park just to the north of the city centre is a wonderful wetland environment to explore that requires a minimal travel time.

A spacious, lush area that's one of Australia's best spots for bird watching. The park is home to over 280 species of birds that can be seen either during a stroll down any of its numerous walking tracks or one of the specialised viewing platforms that offer not only a great chance to see the birds, but panoramic views over the land.

It's rare to have such an untouched showcase of nature so close to a large city's CBD, and thus taking advantage of Town Common Conservation Park's combination of scenery and convenience makes for an easy and enjoyable way to start your last morning here.

Enjoy Jupiters Casino Townsville

Cap off your Townsville experience with a flutter and a bite to eat at Jupiters Casino, which sits just along the waterfront and has great views of its own facing Magnetic Island.

The Casino is home to the expected wide array of poker machines and gaming tables – blackjack, roulette, poker et al – which is a fun way to pass the time (although can be stressful on the wallet if you're not careful!), and also offers several restaurants and bars as well as theatre shows and live entertainment.

There's plenty to see and do here regardless of if you're interesting in gambling or not, and as an added bonus Jupiters Townsville Casino is only a 10 minute drive from Townsville Airport – making it an excellent choice for passing the last few hours on your final day before returning home from your Tropical North QLD adventure.

In addition, if you are looking for further ideas on things to do in Townsville and surrounding areas, don't hesitate to check out our main Townsville region page for an extended range of activities, attractions, tours, transport options and much more!

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