Population 143329

Townsville is a bustling and vibrant tropical city boasting an enviable lifestyle, diverse landscapes, activities for all ages and a certain charm that comes with a long-standing history. Established in 1864, Townsville was set up to service a new cattle industry. The many historic buildings found around the city are a reminder of this heritage. These days, the city is better known for its cosmopolitan tastes and fast growth. Its iconic foreshore, The Strand, offers an excellent choice of cafes and restaurants, combined with tropical parks and spectacular views to Magnetic Island.

Visitor Information

Flinders Square Visitor Information Centre, 334A Flinders St, (07) 4721 3660

Nearby national parks

  • Paluma Range National Park National Park

    Lying within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Paluma Range National Park offers mountain-top views and picturesque waterfalls. The Mount...more

  • Girringun National Park

    Girringun National Park, part of the traditional lands of the Warrgamaygan people, comprises four sections: Blencoe Falls, Dalrymple Gap,...more

  • Wooroonooran National Park

    Part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Wooroonooran National Park boasts the two highest mountains in Queensland, along with wild...more

Nearby towns

  • Ayr

    This busy town south-east of Townsville is surrounded by sugarcane fields – the most productive in Australia – and is the largest...more

  • Ravenswood

    Once a boom town in the 1860s, today Ravenswood is home to a modest population and a range of historic buildings and ruins that recall the...more

  • Ingham

    Ingham is a major sugar town near the Hinchinbrook Channel. Originally, Kanaka labourers were employed in the surrounding sugarcane fields,...more

In Town

Reef HQ Home to the headquarters for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Read More

Museum of Tropical Queensland: featuring artefacts from HMAS Pandora, a British vessel wrecked on the reef in 1791; open 9.30am–5pm daily; 70-102 Flinders St; (07) 4726 0600.

Maritime Museum: maritime items of historical significance; open Mon-Fri 10am–4pm, Sat–Sun 12–4pm; 42–68 Palmer St; South Townsville; (07) 4721 5759.

Rock Pool Baths: year-round swimming; The Strand.

Perc Tucker Regional Art Gallery: local and touring exhibitions; open Mon–Fri 10am–5pm, Sat–Sun 10am–2pm; Flinders Mall; (07) 4727 9000.

Botanic Gardens: Anderson Park, Kings Rd.

Imax Dome Theatre: excellent viewing experience in this theatre, the 1st of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere; call for viewing times; Reef HQ Building, Flinders St East; (07) 4721 1481.

Town Common Conservation Park: a coastline park with prolific birdlife, Aboriginal Plant Trail and forest walks; Cape Pallarenda Rd.

Castle Hill Lookout: off Stanley St.

Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino: Sir Leslie Thiess Dr; (07) 4722 2333.

Ferry Terminal: for Magnetic Island, and daytrips and dive cruises to the Great Barrier Reef as well as extended cruises to the Whitsundays; Sir Leslie Thiess Dr.

Coral Princess: cruise to Cairns via resort islands and reef on a luxury catamaran; contact visitor centre for details.

Adventure activities: numerous tour operators offer scuba diving, jetskiing, waterskiing, abseiling, whitewater rafting and more; contact visitor centre for details.


Magnetic Island More than half of this beautiful island is covered by the Magnetic Island National Park. The sandy beaches, granite headlands and hoop pine rainforest make this an attractive daytrip; or stay overnight in the private accommodation on offer, which ranges from budget to deluxe. See the natural attractions by taking some of the many walks around the island or hire a bike for a different view. Snorkel and swim at Alma Bay and see spectacular views from the old WW II forts. Access from Townsville by fast cat, passenger ferry or vehicle barge; 8 km NE.

Bowling Green Bay National Park This coastal park offers much for the self-sufficient visitor. Granite mountains blend with a variety of landscapes including saltpans and mangrove country. Walk along Alligator Creek to see cascades and waterfalls. Stay overnight at the Alligator Creek campsite and go spotlighting to glimpse brush-tail possums and sugar gliders; call 13 74 68 for camping bookings; turn-off Bruce Hwy 28 km SE; park is further 6 km.

Billabong Sanctuary: covering 10 ha of rainforest, eucalypt forest and wetlands. See koala feeding and crocodile shows. Bruce Hwy, Nome; (07) 4778 8344; 17 km SE.

Giru: small community with waterfalls, bushwalks and swimming nearby; 50 km SE.

Eco-friendly activities around town

Bushwalking on Magnetic Island 16 km

Magnetic Island has about 25 kilometres of walking tracks, many with outstanding views of the coast, or ending at isolated beaches. Do not miss the 2-kilometre Forts Walk, with a good chance of seeing a koala or two, and... Find out more

Swimming around Townsville and Cairns 66 km

Not far from Townsville there are a couple of popular swimming holes: Big Crystal Creek near Mutarnee, the icy Little Crystal Creek on the road to Paluma, and under the Rollingstone Bridge. Near Tully, you can cool off... Find out more

Birdwatching - Townsville to Cairns 97 km

You do not need to be a bird nerd to appreciate Tyto Wetlands near Ingham. It is a beautiful, peaceful spot for a picnic, a pleasant walk or a pre-dinner drink. But if you stop at one of the benches or bird hides and... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Michel’s Cafe & Bar

Michel’s has been in Palmer Street for more than a decade, well before it became the city’s food precinct. Despite the onrush of newcomers it remains a favourite with locals and regular visitors, and is still... Find out more


Enjoy the sea views and if you really want a feast, order the seafood platter. It has steamed and barbecued Queensland prawns, red claw, a half crayfish, Sichuan pepper calamari, beer-battered red emperor, grilled... Find out more

Campsites around town

Magnetic Gateway Holiday Village 7 km

Situated on the Bruce Hwy at Cluden, just 8 km from Townsville, this tourist park has plenty of shady tent sites and an excellent range of facilities. Visitors can enjoy the swimming pool, spa, TV room and book exchange,... Find out more

Alligator Creek camping area 49 km

Just 600 m from the main access gate, near the day-use picnic area, this site is a great base to explore around the creek area, hike along the Alligator Falls track, or go fishing – all the while keeping an eye out... Find out more

Big Crystal Creek camping area 66 km

This popular swimming and picnic area is off the Old Bruce Hwy; the 4 km road to the campground is partially unsealed. Bring a gas/fuel stove and drinking water, or treat the creek water before drinking. The summit of Mt... Find out more

South Beach camping area (boat-based camping) 75 km

This campground on the south-east coast has no facilities and suits self-sufficient campers only. Generators and open fires are not permitted: bring everything necessary. Note: the reefs and waters surrounding Orpheus... Find out more

Yanks Jetty camping area (boat-based camping) 76 km

Yanks Jetty campground is just north of Harrier Point on the south-west coast of the island. The gas BBQ is free but open fires are prohibited; bring a gas/fuel stove and drinking water. The campground has space for up... Find out more

Lake Paluma camping area 77 km

Surrounded by World Heritage rainforest, Lake Paluma (12 km north-west of Paluma) is a popular spot for swimming, canoeing and kayaking, so bookings are essential. The lake is a well-known wildlife-watching area, with... Find out more

Pioneer Bay camping area (boat-based camping) 82 km

This small campground on the north-west coast has a clearing for up to 12 people. Composting toilets and picnic tables are the only facilities, so bring all self-sufficient supplies, including drinking water and a... Find out more

Pelorus Island camping area (boat-based camping) 86 km

No permits or bookings are required for this free camping ground, known as a great jumping-off point to fantastic snorkelling around the coral reefs of Pelorus Island’s west coast. The island is in the Great... Find out more

Jourama Falls camping area 86 km

This campground, beside Waterview Creek, is about 300 m from the entrance to the national park. Nearby Jourama Falls Lookout Walk (3 km return, 1 hr) leads through dry open forest of poplar gum, bloodwood and Moreton Bay... Find out more

Burdekin River camping area (bush camping) 96 km

Camp on the banks of the Burdekin River here, just 700 m from the entrance to the park. This site suits self-sufficient campers only; there are no facilities. Open fires are prohibited and generators are not permitted.... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Rowes Bay Caravan Park 3 km

This good-quality, owner-operated park is in a quiet off-highway location on the waterfront, ideal for a longer stay.... Find out more

BIG4 Walkabout Palms Holiday Park 6 km

This is a good quality park with extensive facilities. Easy to find, it is adjacent to the roadhouse near the junction of the Bruce and Flinders Highways. There are a couple of dining opportunities within walking... Find out more

Magnetic Gateway Holiday Village 7 km

This park is alongside the Bruce Highway on the southern approaches to Townsville. Access is a little complicated but worthwhile (follow the blue caravan signs). The park is well laid out and has good facilities.... Find out more

BIG4 Townsville Woodlands Holiday Park 15 km

This is a spacious park located about 15 km north of the city alongside the Bruce Highway. We find it a convenient friendly place to stop, and often stay here overnight. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Rollingstone Beach Caravan Resort 52 km

This is a newer park with a fabulous beachfront outlook. It has a wide range of facilities, a selection of sites and a camping area. It does lack shade, but would be a great winter destination. Bookings are required in... Find out more

BIG4 Ayr Silver Link Caravan Village 73 km

Easily accessible from the highway, this park is in a quiet, off-the-road position not far from the main shopping area. It has good facilities, and sites under numerous mango trees. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Wanderers Holiday Village 96 km

Close to the centre of town, this park is a popular holiday destination for those keen on fishing. There are covered barbecues and a boat parking area. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Jupiters Townsville 
Hotel and Casino

On the Breakwater Marina overlooking Magnetic Island, this hotel has 177 rooms, 15 executive suites, a one-bedroom apartment and a presidential suite. It is in walking distance of the Magnetic Island ferry and Great... Find out more

Balgal Beach Holiday Units

If you are looking for a friendly, low-key place to stay in a quiet and pretty seaside village with an 8-kilometre beach and a stinger-netted swimming enclosure, then this could be for you. Owners Terry and Roslyn... Find out more

Hidden Valley Cabins

Australia’s first carbon-neutral resort runs on 100 per cent solar power. On the western slope of the spectacular Paluma Range, its mountain elevation provides a welcome relief from the heat and humidity of the... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Bungalow Bay Koala Village 17 km

Declared Australia’s best backpacker accommodation, this low-key eco-accredited resort, with pool and family-style restaurant, has 2.8 hectares of camping area and 30 A-frame bungalows, 25 of which are... Find out more

Hidden Valley Cabins, Hidden Valley 87 km

Acclaimed as being Australia’s first completely solar-powered resort, with a restaurant, pool and room for 31 guests, this serious environmental resort is in secluded dry forest well off the Bruce Highway. It is... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Alligator Creek camping area 24 km

T/O 64km N of Ayr (L) or 23km S of Townsville (R)

Small secluded camping area located 6km west of the highway in a pleasant bush setting in Bowling Green Bay National Park. Permit required.

Saunders Beach camping area 25 km

T/O to Saunders Beach

Small camping area on the foreshore. Located 7km east of the highway at the northern end of Saunders Beach via Reef St.

Bluewater rest area 29 km

At Bluewater

Well off the highway under shady trees.

Toomulla Beach camping area 40 km

T/O to Toomulla Beach

Small grassy camping area on the foreshore. Located 2km east of the highway at the south end of Toomulla Beach via Herald St.

Rollingstone rest area 50 km

At Rollingstone

Well off the highway under shady trees via the service road on the south side of town.

Balgal Beach camping area 51 km

T/O to Balgal

Small foreshore campground located 5km east of the highway at the northern end of Balgal via The Esplanade.

Sandy Corner rest area 65 km

8km N of Ayr (L) or 79km S of Townsville (R)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

Plantation Creek park area 72 km

At Ayr

Shady area just off the highway. On the south side of town.

Home Hill rest area 78 km

At Home Hill

Near the tourist information centre on Eighth Ave (west of the main street).

Jourama Falls camping area 85 km

T/O 88km N of Townsville (L) or 23km S of Ingham (R)

Secluded in the forest of Paluma Range National Park 6km (partly unsealed) east of the highway via Jourama Rd. Permit required.

Frances Creek rest area 91 km

100km N of Townsville (L) or 11km S of Ingham (R)

Just off the road among a few trees.

What's on around town

Showground Market:Ingham Rd, West End; Sun 6am–2pm.

Cotters Market: Flinders Mall; Sun 8.30am–1pm.

Horseshoe Bay Market: Beachside Park, Magnetic Island; last Sun each month, 9am–1pm.

Opal Fashion Bash: Apr. 

Italian Festival: May.

Townsville Show: Jul. 

Australian Festival of Chamber Music: July/Aug.

Townsville Cup: horseracing; July.

Magnetic Island Race Week: sailing; Sep.

Greek Festival: Oct.

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