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10 Day Trips and Fun Things to do in Townsville

Whether you’re planning a Townsville holiday or you’ve moved to the region to study, there is so much to see and do. From tourist attractions to historical sites to wildlife interactions, check out this list of fun things to do in Townsville and incredible day trips to take in the area.

7 fun things to do in Townsville

1. Visit the Museum of Tropical Queensland

One of the most renowned Townsville tourist attractions, the Museum of Tropical Queensland is the perfect place to find out more about the state’s natural and cultural heritage. Here, you can also learn more about the rich cultures and histories of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Pacific peoples.  

The museum is open daily from 9.30am to 4pm. Residents of Townsville get half-price entry – and free entry on the second Tuesday of each month! Otherwise, a concession ticket is only $11.

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2. Stroll through the Palmetum

The Palmetum is one of the most stunning things to see in Townsville. This beautiful botanical garden features roughly 300 different species of palms, including some rare and endangered species. It’s a great place for a picnic with friends, with tables, shade shelters and plenty of drinking water available. 

The gardens are open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset, and entry is free.

3. Meet Australian animals at Billabong Sanctuary

Another favourite Townsville tourist attraction is Billabong Sanctuary. In a lush tropical bushland setting on the edge of a billabong, you’ll get the chance to meet a range of Australian animals, from kangaroos and koalas to crocodiles and snakes.

The sanctuary is open from 9am to 4pm every day (except Christmas Day), and student entry is $39.

4. Climb Castle Hill for the stunning views

Castle Hill is a 938-foot (286-metre) pink granite, heritage-listed hill located near central Townsville. Hike or drive up to check out the sweeping views of Townsville, the ocean and Magnetic Island. 

No matter your fitness level, there’s a hike here for you, thanks to the hill’s 15 hiking trails of varying difficulty.

5. Soak up some sun on the local beaches

Townsville is home to several beautiful beaches, including The Strand, Balgal Beach and Saunders Beach

Head to one (or several!) with your friends to enjoy the sun, go for a swim or try kitesurfing! If you’re in the mood for a more laid-back outing, take a speaker and a picnic to settle in for the afternoon. 

6. Catch your dinner

Townsville is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts due to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and numerous waterways. Some popular fishing spots include Alligator Creek, Crocodile Creek, the Ross River, the Bohle River and the Hinchinbrook Channel. 

If you fancy organising a boat with a local guide, try North Cardinal, an overlooked offshore fishing spot 10 nautical miles from the Townsville Harbour boat ramp.

7. Visit the Jezzine Barracks / Kissing Point Fort / Garabarra redevelopment

A super-unique thing to see in Townsville is the 15-hectare heritage Jezzine Barracks precinct, which commemorates the military and Aboriginal heritage of the Kissing Point headland. 

Significant elements of the Kissing Point Fort complex have been restored, and 34 specially commissioned public artworks have been installed. Take a stroll through the area to learn all about the Fort’s history.

3 day trips to take from Townsville

1. Immerse yourself in the Great Barrier Reef

Townsville is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, which is the world’s largest coral reef system and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It’s a favourite destination for snorkelling, diving and interacting with Australia’s incredible marine life. 

You can book a day tour of the Great Barrier Reef by boat from Townsville, which includes a boat ride to the reef, snorkelling or diving equipment, and a guided tour of the reef.

2. Take the ferry to Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is another nearby gem and popular Townsville holiday spot. This untouched paradise boasts stunning beaches and gorgeous scenery, as well as great snorkelling and diving spots – and it’s only a 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville! 

While you’re there, explore Forts Walk to learn more about the area’s military history or check out Northern Australia’s largest colony of koalas!

3. Explore Paluma Range National Park

The Paluma Range National Park is the southern gateway to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Two of its most impressive features are Jourama Falls, a stunning waterfall cloaked in a rainforest, and Mount Spec, which rises almost 1,000 metres above the floodplain. 

Here you can hike, swim, bring a picnic or even camp overnight to get an authentic Australian outdoor experience.

Access to Jourama Falls and Mount Spec is 91 kilometres and 61 kilometres north of Townsville, respectively, so it takes an hour or so to drive there.

Image courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland.