Since I have lived in Queensland I have started to realise there really is so much to this huge state. It has these amazing winters that feel more like perfect summer days and endless breathtaking sceneries. From the bush to the coast, I always feel as though there is so much more to explore. Recently I took another opportunity to explore Queensland as I headed North again to Townsville.
I’ve been to Townsville before, or so I’ve been told. When your parents travel when you are young they tell you stories about the places you have been but the memories are not there for yourself. I was ready to create my own memories of the place.
Townsville is really just one big country town with a few unique characteristics. My visit was way too short as you really need more than one day in town to explore, however if you do only have a short stay, here are some of the highlights!
Take the ferry out to Magnetic Island
Heading out to Magnetic Island was something I really wanted to do but didn’t think I could fit into my short trip. However when I realised it was only a 20 minute ferry ride from Townsville, I made sure to squeeze in a quick trip. Heading straight from the airport to the ferry terminal, we managed to fit in a good few hours on the island to get a taste of its relaxed vibe. There is so much to do out here, and it really deserves more time as it is such a beautiful location. You could easily spend days out here soaking up the sun, just enjoying getting away from it all. I expected some picturesque island scenes and that is exactly what I got at Horseshoe Bay, however the bus around the island showed me there was much more to be explored in more remote areas including a few walking tracks. I will be back for sure!
Eat & Drink at City Lane
Food is such an important part of experiencing a new destination so I was eager to check out the foodie scene in Townsville. Sporting serious laid back laneway vibes, City Lane is exactly the kind of place you want to go to after a long day of wandering around town. I am pretty sure I would have been happy to eat anywhere here, but the first priority was to cool down with an ice cold beer after being exposed to the harsh North Queensland sun, so we chose Shaw & Co – The Bar With Balls! As I always want to try all the food, we grabbed a few share plates, sampling a selection of cured meats, dumplings and of course the meatballs! It was seriously delicious and I was pleasantly surprised as I wasn’t expecting this sort of dining experience in Townsville.
Find Nemo at Reef HQ Aquarium
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to go snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef, and finding myself again so close I was a little sad I wouldn’t have time to see the reef again. I didn’t want to miss out on the wonder of the reef completely though so the next best thing is a visit to Reef HQ. Being very passionate about the conservation of the reef, I loved the opportunity to learn more about the different species and how they work together to form such complex ecosystems. With an enormous coral reef display you can really be amazed by the different colours and shapes of the fish and I could easily get lost just watching them swim around the beautiful coral. You can also join a tour of the Sea Turtle Hospital that takes place twice a day and is included in the price of your entry ticket. I love these animals and found it interesting to learn more about them and see what is being done to ensure their numbers do not decrease.
Wander along The Strand
The Strand is the foreshore in Townsville and is a popular place for just about everything. Walking down the pavement past the harbour you will find many parks, shops and all sorts of things going on. We even came across two weddings! It is a great place to relax and soak up the vibe of Townsville as you people watch and admire the view all the way out to Magnetic Island.
I really enjoyed my short visit to Townsville and it certainly showed me that there is still so much of this state that I am yet to see! The one thing I really wish I had time to do was make my way to the top of Castle Hill (the big mountain in the middle of town) to gain those magnificent views, but hey, now I have a reason to go back!
Have you been to Townsville? What did you think or would you like to visit?