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The Ultimate Guide To Townsville, Australia’s Most Underrated Tropical Destination

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When looking for a tropical getaway, heading to Queensland is a bit of a no-brainer – everyone knows by now that it’s where you’ll find the goods. But if you’re on the hunt for the absolute best it has to offer, look no further than the Sunshine Capital of the Sunshine State, Townsville.

No, seriously, it cops more than 320 days of sun every year.

Townsville is one of those often-overlooked destinations which, once you’re in it, leaves you completely gobsmacked. Not only by its insane charm, but by the fact it has always existed just a short flight from any one of Australia’s capital cities. You’ll kick yourself for not visiting sooner – I know I did.

Whether you’re keen to get away for a few weeks or just a day or two, here’s your ultimate guide, complete with all the Townsville bucket list items you simply must tick off.

What To Do

Castle Hill Lookout

 

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One of the first things you’ll notice on your drive into town from the airport is the giant, pink rock that stands in the centre of Townsville. Before you cast it off as what it appears to be, well, a big ol’ rock, you might want to get a little closer.

Here is the perfect place to acquaint yourself with the city – not only because it’s arguably Townsville’s most iconic landmark, but because its peak boasts a lookout with next-level panoramic views over the city and across Magnetic Island.

There are 15 different walking trails at Castle Hill Lookout, but the most popular is the Cudtheringa Track – accessible from opposite the first car park at the bottom of Castle Hill Road.

The track is only 1.1km long, but don’t be fooled and be sure to pack your active wear – the stairs at the beginning and end of the trail are pretty ruthless. My quads still have nightmares to this very day.

Magnetic Island

 

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If you find yourself in Townsville, you’d be a straight-up fool not to visit Magnetic Island.

Home to a bunch of drool-worthy beaches, Magnetic Island – or Maggie, as it’s known to the locals – is just a short, 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville’s SeaLink terminal.

I’m not playing when I say it has some of the most breathtaking beaches I’ve ever laid eyes on, so don’t forget to pack your swimmers.

Spend the day exploring Maggie’s many bays and adventuring along its hiking tracks. Remember to take a breath at the summits and enjoy the killer 360-degree views of the island.

Townsville and Magnetic Island – like Cairns – is considered the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, meaning there are some incredible ways to get up-close and personal with Aussie marine life. Visit the team at Pro Dive Magnetic Island to be hooked up with some underwater adventures.

Best of all, you won’t need a car – buses operate frequently to run you around the island as you please.

Cotters Markets

 

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If you go on holidays without hitting up the local Sunday markets, did you really go on holidays? Of course not!

And what better one to hit up than North Queensland’s largest arts and crafts market? Head on down to Flinders Street on Sunday between 8:30am and 1pm, and explore the many market stalls, slinging everything arts, crafts and fresh produce.

If you love some good souvenir shopping, Cotters Market is just the ticket.


Where To Stay

The Ville Resort & Casino

 

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Townsville’s glossiest attraction is the dreamy Ville Resort & Casino.

Just a short drive from Townsville’s CBD, the resort recently underwent an enormous $43 million redevelopment, which saw the inclusion of three brand-new dining options, a totally re-vamped reception, fully tropical-aesthetic rooms, and a sexy new infinity pool with a swim-up bar to end all swim-up bars.

I don’t care who you ask, nothing puts you in holiday mode quite like a cold, boozy drink and a hotel pool.

If you’re not a guest but still want to get in on the pool action, day passes are available from $55. It’s a bit exxy, but totally worth it if you want to treat yourself.

 

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With a bunch of different dining options, The Ville is also the perfect spot to get your food fix. The star, however, is Miss Songs – a modern take on classic Chinese cuisine fused with South East Asian influences.

Hot tip: save room for dessert. The deep-fried ice-cream and maple syrup is oh-my-god-out-of-this-world amazing. It still haunts me at night.


The Verdict

If you’re looking for somewhere in Australia to completely unwind – a tropical paradise you won’t soon forget – Townsville is just the ticket.

What are you waiting for?

(Lead image: Tourism & Events Queensland)

Book your next tropical escape to Townsville with Qantas, where your baggage, meal and entertainment are all included – so you can get into relaxation mode even faster.