Townsville, QLD

Things to do in Townsville, the unofficial "Capital of North Queensland", the city was founded by "Melton Black" back in 1864. At the centre of Townsville is Mount Cootharinga, or more commonly known as Castle Hill. This distinctive red granit monolith makes an tremendous backdrop to Townsville city. There is a road up the hill which was constructed in 1935 - 1936 and during the Second World War the hill was used for communications and observations. A search light was constructed half way up the hill and a pill box was built to house a machine gun, similar to the one situated on Magnetic Island.  Here is our TOP 10 + the Bonus

Free Activities in Townsville

"Cape Pallarenda and the Town Common" Turn off to Rowes bay and head out to the picnic areas and walking tracks that take in many of the points of historical and natural interest, including the quarantine station which is now a museum and WWII gun placements.Here you can look out over the bay at Magnetic island. There are also lots of birds and wildlife and is particularly in the morning and dusk. 

Townsville Town Common Conservation Park is 6km north of the Townsville city centre. The park entrance is reached by turning off Cape Pallarenda Road towards the Rowes Bay Golf Club. The gate is open from 6.30am to 6.30pm daily. There is an information shelter at the entrance to the park. Known locally as the Town Common, the park encompasses a variety of habitats including tidal estuaries fringed with mangroves, grasslands, woodlands and vine thickets.

National Parks and wild Life have a great site on the internet and will allow you to print and plan your next walking trek, most of these are easy to moderate access.

An important wetland area that fills and dries as the seasons change is a highlight of the Town Common. Up to 280 species of birds have been recorded in the area. Magpie geese, brolgas and many other bird species flock here to feed, particularly as the wetlands dry out and food resources become concentrated.

WALKING TRACKS include short, easy walks and challenging, longer hikes. Consider your fitness level before undertaking the extended walks. Some tracks become flooded or over-grown during the wetter months (December to April).

Forest walk—1.9 km return (1 hr return) Grade: easy

Starting near Barramundi waterhole, this walk follows the edge of the billabong, which is fringed with melaleucas, eucalypts and acacias. It is a good area for viewing honeyeaters, kingfishers and other forest birds.

Many Peaks Range

Walking tracks on Many Peaks Range provide visitors with spectacular views over the Town Common and along the coastline from the Palm Islands in the north to Cape Cleveland in the south.

Many Peaks Range

Walking tracks on Many Peaks Range provide visitors with spectacular views over the Town Common and along the coastline from the Palm Islands in the north to Cape Cleveland in the south.

Bald Rock car park to Mount Marlow—2.5 km one way (1 hr return) Grade: moderate

From Bald Rock car park the track climbs along the ridge tops of Many Peaks Range to the grassy summit of Mount Marlow. Inspiring 360 degree views of the park, Townsville, Magnetic Island and the Coral Sea can be seen from the lookout. From here, either return the way you came or continue onto Pallarenda.

Bald Rock car park to Pallarenda—4.5 km one way (4–5 hrs one way) Grade: difficult (above-average fitness required)

From Bald Rock car park the track climbs along the ridge tops of Many Peaks Range to the grassy summit of Mount Marlow. Inspiring 360 degree views of the park, Townsville, Magnetic Island and the Coral Sea can be seen from the lookout. From Mount Marlow, the track weaves through open woodland and pockets of vine-thicket to the children’s playground at the end of Cape Pallarenda Road. Between Mount Marlow and Tegoora Rock the track is not well-defined in places and care should be taken to keep to the track.

Pallarenda to Tegoora Rock lookout (2 km, 1 hr return) Grade: moderate

This track begins opposite the children's playground at the end of Cape Pallarenda Road. Walk through shady vine-thicket to the lookout at Tegoora Rock. View the wetlands from above and appreciate the full extent of the Town Common.

Shelly Beach circuit track—9 km return (4–5 hrs) Grade: moderate

Follow the signs from Bald Rock car park to the Shelly Beach circuit track. Walk through flat country between the ranges, taking in scenic wetlands, to a series of isolated beaches.


The Town Common gives visitors many opportunities to spot an array of woodland and waterbird species. Six bird observation points are provided.

The Jacana and Freshwater Lagoon bird hides overlook a seasonal wetland at the end of Freshwater Lagoon Road.

An observation tower is on Freshwater Lagoon Road. Parking areas at the roadside also afford good views of the lagoon and waterbirds. The Bald Rock bird hide is at the end of Causeway Road. As well as the prolific bird life, you can see sand monitors in sunny areas—look for them lying on the road. Agile wallabies may also be seen in the park.

Read more about the natural environment of Townsville Town Common Conservation Park.

Essentials to bring and things to know.

Preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable visit. Make sure you bring: 

  1.  Townsville Town Common map (PDF, 144K)*
  2. Enough drinking water for your visit + a bit more than you think.
  3. Snacks or food to keep you going. (A couple of energy bars are a good idea)
  4. Appropriate clothing, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  5. Good walking shoes.
  6. Insect repellent to avoid mosquitoes and sandflies 
  7. Rubbish bag, as there are no bins. 
  8.  and beware of SNAKES. Leave them alone and they will do like wise.

 Opening hours - Townsville Town Common Conservation Park gates are open 6.30am to 6.30pm daily.

"Castle Hill" is a great walk, either by the road or the walking track which is pretty hard going and is aptly called the Goat Track. The view from the top is spectacular from the lookout. It will take about 45mins to walk up from Reeflodge. Check the the Goat Track for a great hour of walking, but take pleanty of water.

"The Strand" go for a walk or have FREE BBQ along the beautiful beachfront, which is about 2.4 kilometres long. It has a bike and walking track and an exercise circuit all the way down "The Strand" for those who are looking for some exercise. "The strand " takes approximately 45 minutes to walk from Reeflodge and starts about 400 meters around the corner. It is a very nice early morning or late afternoon stroll and you can have a swim at the other end in the "Rock Pool" before you return back.

The "Rock Pool" is situated at the end of "The Strand" and is free to use. It is a salt water pool and fresh salt water from the ocean is pumped in continually. Speaking of swimming and free, there is also "The Strand Water park" and also for the summer month there are two stinger nets in place to protect against the box jelly stinger. Organise a BBQ on "The Strand"

"Townsville heritage trail" which will give you great insight into Townsville diverse historical architecture lush tropical gardens and a vast array of natural attractions. There are two heritage trails that you can take the first being the "civic pride" which traces Townsville central business districts growth from its beginning to what it is now. The second of these trails "early Townsville" takes a look at the development of the C.B.D. from the early humble beginnings as timber buildings to the masonry buildings that are here today. You can get a free brochure on these trails at the Townsville Information center just a short walk from the Reeflodge.

"Go fishing" there are a number of places along "The Strand" and around breakwater that cater for the fisherman, including a jetty about half way along "The Strand". There is also "The Rock Pool", "The Breakwater" or even the harbor, all of which have an abundant supply of fish. We sell basic fishing gear and can have you out there looking for dinner for under $10-00.

"Parks and Gardens" There are a number of parks and gardens in the city which include "Queens Park", "ANZAC Park", "Anderson Park", "Strand Park", and the "Palmetum". All of these are open to the public 7 days a week.

"The Cotters Markets" If you are here on a Sunday then you can check out the "The Cotters Markets" which is North Queenslands's largest arts and crafts market. They start at 8.30am and finish around 12.30 pm. There is a vast array of souvenirs and handmade products available to purchase. There is also a large selection of fruit, vegetables and other food products available.

"Night Markets" are held on the first Friday of the month in "The Strand Park" on the "The Strand" which makes for a very pleasant evening. There are arts and crafts, as well as food. These markets start in the early evening.

"The Perc Tucker Regional Art gallery" is open 7 days a week and is free admission

"Swimming enclosure" nets are situated on "The Strand" and "The Rock pool" at the end of "The Strand"

"Paluma and Crystal creek" A short drive from "Townsville" there are a number of places of natural beauty which include "Mt. Elliot National Park", "Crystal Creek" where you can jump in for a swim and "Paluma National Park".

Breakfast / Lunch or Dinner. Check out this for an idea "A really cheap breakfast / lunch /dinner" alternative   with the backdrop of the beautiful "Strand"

"Wallaman Falls"  A great day trip where you should organise a picnic lunch and have a great day out. Wallaman falls is part of UNESCO World Heritage–listing.

Townsville, also known as the capital of north Queensland, was founded by Melton Black back in 1864. Here is a very short history.

Things that are not free in Townsville:

"Billabong Sanctuary" is an Australian wildlife park which has a full time park ranger on location. The park enables you to explore rainforest, eucalyptus forest and wetland habitats, all in the one location. There are transfers available daily at approximately 9.15am and 1.30 pm. Some of the thing you can do include holding a Snake or even a Crocodile and seeing a Koala. More information is available on their website.

“ The Cultural Center” The Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre will delight and inform visitors Phone (07) 4772 7679

“AIMS” AIMS' headquarters, about 50km from Townsville's CBD, is an international landmark in tropical marine science. Phone (07) 4753 4409

"Reef H.Q." is where you can come to see one of the worlds largest salt water aquariums. Get up close and see the reef without getting wet and remember it's a giant fish tank. That in itself is amazing. More information is available on their website

"Museum of tropical Queensland" shows a host of displays from the final story of the mutiny on the "HMS Bounty" and the pursuit by the "HMS Pandora" or take a look at what was roaming around 100 million years ago in North Queensland. More information is available on their website

“Red Baron” Truly it’s a unique experience that’s guaranteed to please! Phone 0412896770

“Nautilus Aviation” Helicopters and seaplanes, showcasing an aerial view of the vast and contrasting beauty of the Townsville region. Phone (07) 47256056

"Sealinks" do 15 transfers to Magnetic island a day, which take only 20 minutes. They also do day trips to the Great Barrier Reef where you can snorkel, dive or take a ride in their glass bottom boat. This includes your lunch, morning and afternoon tea. You can also do "discover SCUBA" while you're out there, to see if you like it. More information is available on their website

"Fantasea Cruising Magnetic" There are regular departures daily to take your car and passengers over to the island. There is also a bar and cafe on board. Phone (07) 4796 9300 and website

"Skydive Townsville" Experience the adrenalin of skydiving and skydive onto the beaches of Magnetic Island, 12,000 ft Tandem
with Skydive Townsville. We will take you for the most thrilling ride of your life.  Ph. (07) 4721 4721

SCUBA or snorkel on the reef and the Yongala wreck are two of the great diving attraction in Townsville and there are a few companies that will take you out to them.

"One Day Cattle Muster" You can experience a life style from a working cattle station point of view. Suitable for beginners to experienced riders. Phone (07) 47788888 and website

"Townsville Mini Golf" There are 2 x 18 hole courses and they are open 7days a week. They have a licensed bar and BBQ area. Phone (07) 47713999

"Currajong Super Bowl" If you enjoy bowling, try here it is situated only 5 minutes out of city center and open 7 days a week. Phone (07) 47797804

"Jezzine Barrecks at "Kissing Piont" has the Miltary Museum which displays memorabilia associated with the army in  North Queensland. This will cost you a Gold Coin donation.