The ultimate Townsville and Magnetic Island accommodation guide
Anytime is a good time to visit the sunshine capital of Queensland – especially when the average temps in winter are a balmy 25° C – but new direct flights from Melbourne with Tigerair are now also making it even cheaper to get there for a dose of Vitamin D.
We’ve done the groundwork to match your desired holiday experience with the right stay.
Whether you’re planning a quick weekend jaunt or an extended vacay to tick off the many awesome things to see and do here, we’ve got your city digs sorted with these options all within a 10-minute radius from the CBD.
Palm Springs vibes: Beach House Motel
There’s nothing like a humble motel to deliver in the accommodation stakes and the Beach House Motel has the added bonus of cracking waterfront views to add to its recently renovated interiors.
There’s plenty of room to spread out and get comfy during your stay in queen, double or family rooms, breakfast can be ordered the night before for delivery to your room (along with your daily newspaper), and a selection of beers and wines are available to purchase from reception.
Magic hour is best spent in the pool facing the Strand with views over Magnetic Island. Off-street parking is provided but you’ll barely have need for the car with a supermarket and plenty of restaurants within five minute’s walk, and the free Strand Water Park a 10-minute stroll away. Owners Julie and Jeff can help you book day tours if you’re looking to go further afield.
Family getaway: Quest Townsville
It’s all about location when travelling with your brood in Townsville because, with an average of 320 days of sunshine per year plus a heap of family-friendly activities on offer, we can guarantee you’ll be spending more time outdoors than in.
Stay close to the action with Quest Townsville, which has two central locations: one on Palmer Street just a 13-minute stroll from the Museum of Tropical Queensland and Reef HQ Aquarium (and a 20-minute walk to the ferry terminal if a day trip to Magnetic Island is on the cards), or Quest on Eyre just a hop and skip down the street from The Strand and its bustling cafe scene, waterpark and golden sands, and backed by Townsville most famous attraction, the butt-burning Castle Hill.
Date night: The Ville Resort-Casino (formerly Jupiters Hotel and Casino)
Townsville’s most iconic hotel is having a (much-needed) makeover, people, and boy is it impressive.
Although the new $35 million redevelopment is underway up until January 2018 – which will see an infinity-edge pool with a swim-up bar and private cabanas added, as well as new restaurants and bars – you can still treat your lover to a night out in one of the recently spruced resort rooms or suites (we’d HIGHLY recommend the latter because, spa bath).
As well as the casino to keep you entertained, you’ll also find a regular lineup of free live music plus concerts and shows year-round.
Old school romance: Classique Bed and Breakfast
If your idea of a romance is a little less glitz and a little more old-world charm, try Classique Bed and Breakfast.
Set in a historic Federation Queenslander with high ceilings, French doors and hoop timber pine floors, this gorgeous B&B mixes old-fashioned hospitality with modern convenience, boasting an outdoor spa, complimentary tropical breakfast, and a games room featuring classic ‘date night’ activities like snooker and darts.
When you want to venture out of your little love bubble, you’re only a 4-minute drive from the city centre.
Out of the box: Rambutan
Setting the benchmark as Australia’s first ‘glam-packers’ resort, Rambutan is a backpackers hostel on steroids offering style and quality to travellers of all budgets.
Staying true to the nomadic nature of backpacking, you’ll find bedroom dorms for those happy to bunk with new friends, but for a little more luxury and privacy, there’s the affordable yet oh-so-chic boutique hotel rooms. If you’re in the ‘Ville with a group of mates or family, set your sights on their self-contained beach house villas, complete with four bedrooms and an open plan kitchenette, lounge and dining area.
Need more convincing? Take a photo tour of the resort (and its rooftop pool and restaurant) here.
Business with a side of leisure: Allure Hotel and Apartments
Four words: Complimentary high-speed WiFi. Music to any business travellers ears, right?
Aside from the practical lures (which include daily laundry and dry cleaning services, wake up calls and Business Centre support for things like printing and copying), Allure Hotel and Apartments is a treat regardless of the purpose of your stay, with sophisticated studio rooms, an outdoor pool and fitness centre, and the spot-on location steps from the city’s fine-dining precinct on Palmer Street.
Extended vacay: Oaks on Palmer
While tempting to eat out every night considering the location (as we mentioned above, Palmer Street is the crème de la crème of eating-out in Townsville), if you’re planning an extended holiday, you’ll probably want to be self-sufficient at times to save on mula.
If you’re travelling solo or as a couple, the Oaks M has kitchenettes in all of their self-contained studio apartments. For those travelling in a group or wanting a bit more space, the Oaks Gateway’s one and two-bedroom apartments should do the trick, complete with full kitchen and laundry.
Camp ‘n’ Caravan: Rowes Bay Beachfront Holiday Park
‘Round the corner from The Strand and Jezzine Barracks, on the beachfront of – you guessed it – Rowes Bay, this holiday park feels worlds away in its lush tropical setting with views out to Magnetic Island, even though you’re only a 7-minute drive from the city.
Offering both powered and unpowered sites for caravans, campervans, camper trailers, motor homes, and camping enthusiasts, it boasts all the mod cons you’d expect from a holiday park, including three laundries, a camp kitchen, free BBQs, shower and toilet blocks, plus a pool, playground and outdoor movie set up for kids.
For more homely conveniences, nab one of their cute ‘n’ cosy villas or cabins available for holidaymakers and short-term rentals.
Just 20 minutes from the city via ferry, Magnetic Island (or Maggie as she’s known by the locals) is the cherry on top of Townsville’s delicious natural assets, home to 23 palm-fringed beaches and bays, and the largest wild koala population in northern Australia.
If you’ve only got 48 hours up your sleeve, try this weekend itinerary on for size. If you plan to stay for as long as your annual leave allows, make sure you tick off these six must-dos while you’re there.
Family getaway: Island Leisure Resort
Just a 3-minute drive from the ferry terminal, with cafes, restaurants, and shops within easy walking distance, the Island Leisure Resort was practically designed with families in mind, with their roomy self-contained Polynesian bure-styled units in the heart of Maggie’s main residential spot, Nelly Bay.
Onsite you’ll find everything you need to make your family holiday as relaxed (and stress-free) as possible, including a guest laundry, huge lagoon pool and spa, BBQ area, plus a full-sized tennis court, games room, giant chess and library to keep the youngins entertained.
When it comes to venturing out, complimentary WiFi and a tour desk at reception will make organising your brood’s Maggie activities list a cinch.
Young, wild and free: Base Magnetic Island
Looking more like a Bali resort than a backpackers hostel, choose between shared dorms or private rooms in a beachfront bungalow, or BYO tent and camp out under the stars.
After a day spent exploring the island, kick back with drinks on the deck at the Island Bar, watching the sun melt into the horizon, before the party scene comes alive with funky tunes and bar games.
Couple’s getaway: Peppers Blue on Blue Resort
Cocktails at sunset, couples massages, room service, bubble baths… if this sounds like your idea of a romantic island escape, book into Peppers Blue on Blue Resort, stat.
You’ll be torn trying to divide your time between exploring the island or staying put, especially if you splurge one of the resort’s aptly named plunge apartments, which come with their own private plunge pools overlooking the marina.
When you want to unwind even further, the endota day spa has you blissfully sorted with all-Australian organic body treatments in their Couples Indulgence package.
Out of the box: Bungalow Bay Koala Village
Yep, the Bungalow Bay Koala Village is the only resort in Australia that can boast its own onsite wildlife park, and no matter if you’re camping out or staying in one of their hostel dorms, ensuite double rooms or timber bungalows, all guests have the chance to learn about our beloved cuddly native and friends (which includes lorikeets, pythons, saltwater crocs and lizards) on a guided tour of the park.
Better still, upgrade your stay to include a buffet breakfast with the koalas for a little more quality time with your new furry (and scaly) pals.
Extended vacay: Beachside Magnetic Harbour Apartments
Stay on island time a little longer at Beachside Magnetic Harbour Apartments.
Their self-contained one, two and three-bedroom luxury apartments are ideally positioned in Nelly Bay, offering a central island location but with enough apartment space to make it feel like home.
Kitted out with a full kitchen, large spa bath and plenty of room to move about in with private courtyards and balconies, it’s perfect for families and groups of friends, or couples who just need to escape from reality for a while.
Holiday home: Best of Magnetic
Love the place so much you want to call it home? Best of Magnetic is the go-to for anyone wanting an entire abode for their island vacay.
From peaceful retreats backed by national park in Horseshoe Bay to grand vistas from a three-bedroom home nestled high on the ridge of a granite range, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect holiday casa for your Maggie stay here, folks.
Good luck deciding which one, though, because your options are ridiculously good.