Townsville the secret holiday gem

Queensland’s second largest city is blessed with over 320 days of sunshine a year, making it the perfect year-round holiday destination. Savvy families are quickly discovering that this beautiful city, home of the famous North Queensland Cowboys, boasts not only a wealth of natural beauty, but also presents as a family friendly break with plenty of activities on offer! Oaks Gateway on Palmer or Oaks M on Palmer are the perfect accommodation choices when in town.

A day at the Barracks - Pack the picnic lunch and head for Jezzine Barracks where you can explore the 15-hectare heritage precinct commemorating Townsville’s rich military and Aboriginal heritage of the Kissing Point headland – which is also one of the best vantage points to take in Townsville’s stunning coastal views. A recent $40 million facelift has added a scenic coastal boardwalk that winds it way from The Strand to Rowes Bay, an ethno-botanical trail and home to 32 specially commissioned art installations that pay homage to Aboriginal heritage and the important role the site played for the Australian Army. Also worth a visit is the Army Museum onsite complete with historical artifacts, photographic records and many untold stories of war. Run by dedicated volunteers whose knowledge and passion to remember comrades fallen will make any Australian proud. Entry is free but a gold coin donation is gratefully accepted.

Climb Castle Hill - Townsville’s most iconic landmark is a giant pink granite monolith called Castle Hill and is a must to include on any visit to tropical Townsville. Dominating the city, Castle Hill rises 938 feet above sea level and is a popular climb, with many walking tracks designed to challenge various fitness levels or, for those less adventurous, opt for an easy car drive to the summit which will deliver breathtaking, 360-degree views of the city, surrounding landscapes and across the sparkling waters of Cleveland Bay to another popular Townsville landmark – Magnetic Island. The most popular times to visit are naturally sunrise and sunset, so don’t forget to pack the camera!

Swim at Riverway Lagoons - When Townsville’s temperatures start to rise, the best place to cool down is alongside the shady banks of the Ross River at Riverway Lagoons. This water wonderland will delight parents and kids alike with a water playground comprising two giant lagoons that are the size of three Olympic swimming pools combined. Shade is provided year round with a combination of artful roof overhang from Riverway Art Centre, shade sails and the beautiful native Raintrees that flank the banks of the Ross River. Serious swimmers can complete their laps in the more formal lagoon area, while the little ones can splash and play in the shallow toddler section complete with a sandy beach and plenty of seating for the whole family. Entry to the lagoons, boardwalk access, art trail and Pinnacle’s Art Centre are free, and the café serves great coffee and tasty bites if you would prefer to treat yourself than pack your own lunch.

Wallaman Falls - Two hours by road north of Townsville you will find Australia’s highest permanent single drop waterfall – Wallaman Falls. The main lookout at the top of the falls is close to car parking; so all fitness levels can enjoy the spectacular sight of water cascading down 268 metres to Stony Creek below without much effort. But for those that enjoy a challenge, take the Djyinda track to descend through ancient rainforest to the falls base. Be engulfed in the mist as the sheer power of the water falling catapults droplets of water into the light infused air, creating beautiful rainbow colours in every direction. Caution is recommended at the base as it is very slippery, but worth the effort to take in such a breathtaking experience. The only way out is back up, so allow two hours at least to complete the 3.2 kilometre round trip hike and give yourself a reward with a dip in the nearby watering hole (near the camping grounds) when you return. Swimming is not recommended at the falls themselves.

Magnetic Island - Only 20 minutes from Townsville, Magnetic has a number of incredible experiences including native wildlife, beaches, diving, walking trails and horse riding to name a few. Magnetic Island is home to northern Australia’s largest colony of koalas living in the wild and if you are lucky you just might spot one. The island has around 25kms of walking tracks and you'll be sure to stumble on a number of secluded beaches, perfect for a dip & sun bathe. It costs around $32 for a return adult ticket and ferries run throughout the day. You can easily conquer Magnetic Island in a day trip. 

Oaks M on Palmer and Oaks Gateway on Palmer are the perfect accommodation choices when in town. 

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