North Queensland’s city of Townsville has been living in the shadow of its more glamourous neighbours – Cairns and Port Douglas – for many years, but there is plenty more to Townsville that meets the eye, The dining scene in Townsville has come alive recently with a plethora of cafes and restaurants to complement its picturesque Esplanade and spectacular natural landscape and attractions. It’s also the major getaway to explore the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics and some of Australia’s most beautiful islands. And with 300 plus days of sunshine per year, we can’t argue with that!
Here’s a guide to making the most of your visit.
7.00pm: Arrive in Townsville Airport via Jetstar Australia and check in to beach front accommodation at Aquarius on the Beach. Jetstar provides affordable and accessible flights direct to Townsville.
7.30pm: Once checked in, head to the buzzing dining precinct of Palmer Street, located on the city’s south bank. Have a stroll and admire dozens of historical buildings and boutique shops. Take a seat on the alfresco balcony at A Touch of Salt, one of Townsville’s leading fine dining restaurants, and ogle at the spectacular views beyond. Continue bar hopping into the evening at the many bars and clubs along Palmer Street and Flinders Street East.
5.30am: Set your alarm early and head to Townsville’s most famous landmark, Castle Rock – a pink granite monolith which looms over Townsville from every angle. There’s no better spot to watch the sunrise over the city. Join the throng of super fit Townsville locals and hike up, or save time and park your car at the lookout for spectacular 360 degree views. Castle Hill also has a number of popular walking tracks if you’re looking to go on a longer hike.
6.30am: Once you have worked up an appetite, visit the Jam Corner Cafe for one of the best breakfasts in Townsville. Here you can feast on contemporary classics like French toast pumpkin bread paired with poached apple, strawberries, fresh honeycomb and toasted coconut or a crumbed fior di latte with poached egg, tomato, basil shallot, herb oil and ciabatta. They also serve some of the best coffee in Townsville.
7.30am: Experience Townsville like a local and go shopping for fresh produce at Otto’s Fresh Food Markets. Have a chat to local farmers and producers about what’s in season and stock up for a beach picnic later in the day.
8.30am: If you need another caffeine hit, stop for a coffee at one of Townsville’s best speciality roasters including Coffee Dominion and Speciality Coffee Trader for some of the best brews in town.
9.00am: Spend the morning exploring the city of Townsville and taking in the sights and attractions including the Museum of Tropical Queensland, the Cultural Centre and Art Gallery. The Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium is a must visit and is the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium, home to 130 coral and 120 fish species.
12.00pm: Enjoy a long lazy lunch at Longboard Bar and Grill, one of the local’s favourite eating spots. The cuisine is a reflection of great Australian fusion where the extensive menu offers something for everyone.
1.30pm: Go for a walk along Townsville’s rejuvenated esplanade, The Strand, which is full of picnic goers and fitness enthusiasts. There are plenty of activities to enjoy along the foreshore including swimming, paddleboarding, cycling and fishing. Or just relax under a palm tree and read a book. If you’re lucky you may be able to spot a turtle on your visit.
3.30pm :Walk to the end of the Strand and explore Jezzine Barracks and uncover the stories of Townsville’s settlement. Learn of the region’s significant military and indigenous history and enjoy the outdoor art.
4.30pm: There’s no better place to end a hot day than the Riverway Lagoons. Check out the Olympic sized pools for some hot laps, or if you are looking to relax, venture to the lower lagoon which has plenty of sandy banks for some rest and rejuvenation.
6.00pm: Grab an early dinner on Palmer Street before jetting off to the airport for your Jetstar flight.
How to extend your stay
- Take a 20 minute boat trip to Magenetic Island
- Visit the luxurious Orpheus Island, one of Queensland’s best kept secrets
- Explore the ‘food bowl’ of Queensland and chase the waterfall circuit in the Atherton Tablelands
- Spend a day at the Jezzine Barracks and the Army Museum. There’s a scenic coastal boardwalk which winds its way from The Strand to Rowes Bay.
- Visit Australia’s highest permanent single drop waterfall at Wallaman Falls (two hours north west of Townsville)
- Venture north and explore the Great Barrier Reef, one of the 7 Wonders of the World
- Dive to see the SS Yongala, Australia’s largest intact shipwreck
- Get close to nature at the picturesque Paluma Range National Park.
- Go panning through Charters Towers’ gold mining history
- Take part in preparing a traditional Aboriginal kup mari feast at Mungalla Station.
HOW TO GET THERE
I love flying Jetstar since they have affordable, accessible and quick flights direct to Townsville and many other locations throughout the world.To check out Jetstar’s everyday low fares or to book your next Jetstar getaway visit www.jetstar.com.
I partnered with Jetstar for this trip to Townsville.