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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Townsville

Townsville is a coastal city in northeastern Queensland, well-known for its beautiful landscape and tropical climate. It also receives 300 days of sunshine a year – how amazing is that?

But did you know Townsville also has a world-class education institution and is a great study destination for international students?

Aloka Benaragama is a Sri Lankan student at James Cook University (JCU). After completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Aquatic Resources Technology in her home country, Aloka moved to Townsville to complete her Master of Science (Professional) in Aquaculture Science and Technology at JCU.

Speaking to Insider Guides, Aloka shared what she wishes she knew about moving to Townsville as an international student. 

1. Townsville is warm year-round

According to Aloka, she was unprepared for just how hot the summers would be in Townsville. 

“I knew that Townsville has a tropical climate, but I didn’t expect it would be this hot,” she says. 

Day temperatures in summer average around 30°C, but there is little relief from the heat and humidity at night. 

“On the other hand, Townsville’s climate is refreshingly cool from July to September, but never freezing cold,” says Aloka. 

When she packed for her move to Australia, Aloka brought winter clothes with her. 

“I wish I knew that I would never need those kinds of clothes here in Townsville, and brought more lightweight, comfortable clothes suited to the hot and humid climate,” she shares. 

2. Townsville is very community-oriented

One of Aloka’s favourite things about Townsville is its community vibe. She didn’t know just how welcoming the town would be until she got here.

“The people here in Townsville are really friendly and always welcome international students with a big heart,” she says. 

Aloka had a similar welcoming experience at her university. 

“Similar to the Townsville community, the people I met at JCU were really helpful and friendly. The university organises different activities for international students to bond with each other and feel part of the Aussie culture,” she explains.

3. Townsville is the perfect size and has everything you need

Even though Townsville is a city, Aloka explains that you will find everything you need within a 15–20 minute drive. There are hospital and healthcare services, shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, bars and even fresh food markets!

In Townsville, you’ll experience city living whilst being surrounded by beautiful beaches, rainforests and wetlands, making it an incredibly laidback, peaceful and relaxing place to live.  

“I think [all these attractions are] what make Townsville so unique,” says Aloka.

In cities like Brisbane and Sydney, you might need to drive an hour or more to find a forest, mountain or beach. But Townsville is different – it’s the perfect size to get around easily, no matter what you’re up to! 

“Townsville is also one of the least stressful cities in Australia to live in,” says Aloka. “I’ve never experienced a traffic jam once in the whole time I’ve lived here!” 

4. Townsville has so many things to see and do 

Not only is Townsville the perfect size, but there are also so many things to see and do! 

With the Great Barrier Reef, tropical islands, outback and rainforests situated right on its doorstep, there’s no shortage of activities for outdoor enthusiasts.

“If you are a nature lover, you can go chasing waterfalls around Townsville. There are plenty of natural freshwater creeks and swimming spots to spend a leisurely day with friends,” says Aloka.

Some of Aloka’s favourite outdoor spots include Magnetic Island, a beautiful destination for enjoying water activities with friends, and Castle Hill, a great hiking spot. 

However, if you’re not into outdoor activities, there are plenty of other things for you to do in the region. 

There are breweries to visit, incredible dining experiences to savour and shopping precincts to explore. Townsville also has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with museums, galleries and even an aquarium!

Check out our list of the top 10 day trips and fun things to do in Townsville.

5. Townsville is very multicultural

Even though Townsville is a small city compared to others in Australia, it’s very multicultural – Aloka explains that there are communities representing many different countries and regions from all over the world in Townsville. 

“They organise different cultural events and festivals, such as the African food festival and the Indian food festival. I love to participate in those events and taste different foods and experience different cultures,” she says. 

The Townsville community also proudly celebrates its multicultural communities and is home to two not-for-profit multicultural support organisations – the Townsville Multicultural Support Group and the Townsville Intercultural Centre.

Read more: How to Find Student Jobs in Townsville: An International Student’s Guide