8 natural wonders you should experience in Townsville
There’s more to Townsville than first meets the eye. It’s home to a food and wine scene of serious note, 320 days of sunshine a year and enough outdoor activities in Townsville to help you make the most of them.
From lush rainforest and crystal-clear streams to red outback plains, there’s so much more to this tropical city than high-rise buildings.
With the title of Australia’s sunniest city, there’s no excuse for wiling away the weekend indoors. Fill your days with these outdoor activities in Townsville.
1. Wallaman Falls
Hit the road 160kms north-west of Townsville to visit the Niagara Falls of Queensland – Wallaman Falls.
This wonderful waterfall is Australia’s highest single drop waterfall, cascading 268m in a show of raw, rugged energy. Don’t believe us? We’ve got these pictures that will convince you to go waterfall chasing here.
Depending on how fit you feel, you can choose to take on an 800m stroll down to the banks of Stony Creek, a 3.2km hike into the gorge, or go the whole hog with the 56.5km Wet Tropics Great Walk.
Regardless of which one you choose, pack swimmers for a dip in the large pool that collects Wallaman’s thunderous spray.
Why? The water at Wallaman Falls is said to be THE purest in the world (at least, according to scientists at James Cook University).
2. Paluma Range National Park
It only takes an hour’s drive north of Townsville to find Paluma Range National Park.
These ‘misty mountains’ as they are translated from the local Aboriginal language, are home to the Wet Tropics National Park, rainforest and waterfalls for exploring.
It goes without saying, bushwalking and waterfall chasing are the order of business for your hinterland day out.
When it comes to outdoor activities in Townsville, Paluma has two of the best – Little Crystal Creek and Big Crystal Creek.
Pack your swimmers for rock-hopping and a dip in their crystal-clear water. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for platypus who paddle up and down these rainforest streams.
3. Magnetic Island
If you’ve read this post, you’ll know Magnetic Island is magnetic by name and nature. But don’t just take our word for it. Test its forces for yourself visiting “Maggie” as she’s known by locals, by land, air or sea.
One minute you’re in the city, 20 minutes later you are standing on Magnetic Island in all its hilly, granite and eucalyptus forest glory.
If spotting Australian wildlife is high on your to-do list, this island promises wild koalas, rock-wallabies and all the colourful creatures of the Great Barrier Reef.
Sure, you could sit under a palm tree and read a book, but you’re not that kind of traveller, are you? If you like outdoor activities, start working your way through these must-dos.
Don’t miss the Forts Walk to see two WWII military bases and the most spectacular views of Magnetic Island’s 23 bays and beaches.
4. Tyto Wetlands
What was once a wetland, is now a twitcher’s paradise and a trip to Tyto Wetlands promises nest-loads of feathered fun.
We’re not exaggerating. There’s the equivalent of two different species of bird found for every hectare of parkland.
If you’ve got your binoculars and bird book out, keep your eyes peeled for the Tyto Wetlands’ own namesake – the eastern grass owl.
We’d recommend spending a morning traipsing around the four kilometres of walkways, interpretive signs and information centre filled with regional art.
Need another excuse? You’re only two minutes away from Queensland’s own Little Italy, Ingham. Pack your appetite because we wrote this guide.
5. Castle Hill
Townsville’s mini mountain Castle Hill is the pinnacle (pun intended) of outdoor adventure in Townsville.
This granite monolith, which falls only metres short of being technically a mountain, is not short of fans. You only need to see the steady stream of active-wear clad locals who run and walk to the summit (286m) each day to get a sense-check on its popularity.
If the walk to the top doesn’t take your breath away, the 360-degree vista of Townsville and out to Magnetic Island will.
Naturally, the best time to soak it all in is sunrise or sunset.
6. Hinchinbrook Island
If they were handing out crowns for outdoor activities in Townsville, the city’s largest national park, Hinchinbrook Island, would definitely be coronated.
This 393km2 island separated from the mainland over 100,000 years ago and thanks to Queensland Parks who cap visitors to 40 people at any one time, the landscape has been preserved in time.
Hinchinbrook attracts hardcore hikers who sign up for the 32-kilometre Thorsborne Trail chasing both fitness and a wilderness adventure.
If you’re more of a kayaker than a walker, you can paddle Hinchy with Coral Sea Kayaking. Before you go, compare the two with this guide.
7. Charters Towers
You don’t have to travel far to taste the outback from Townsville.
Charters Towers is Queensland’s accessible outback, 138km west of Townsville City, complete with red dirt and full bars of 4G phone reception.
Gold put this small town on the map, but golden sunsets, outback colours and these things to do have kept Charters Towers popular with visitors.
For a true outback experience, head to Leahton Park to meet JR, the Texas Longhorn with the longest horns in the world.
We challenge you to find another destination where you can don your cowboy boots by day and be back in the CBD sipping cocktails by the coastline for sunset.
Just because you’re looking for outdoor activities in Townsville doesn’t mean you can’t do them in style.
Enter Orpheus Island, 24km from the shore of the mainland and home to Orpheus Island Lodge.
On Orpheus’ 12km you’ll find eucalypt forests for bushwalking, palm trees for relaxing and coral reefs that are perfect for snorkelling.
Unlike the other outdoor activities on this list, Orpheus Island is only accessible by helicopter or private charter, so you know you’ll be only one of a handful of guests staying in the 14 suites on the island.