Things to do in Townsville, QLD

🌴 28 Unusual Things to Do in Townsville, QLD

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We were lucky enough to stay in Townsville, the capital of North Queensland for 3 months while we were stopped for work. During our stay, we did some house-sitting and looked after four gorgeous dogs, which also helped us save money to fund the next leg of our travels.

I can honestly say that this seaside town turned out to be quite a surprise! We discovered so many unusual things to do in Townsville with plenty more that we didn’t get to and have added to our ‘next time’ list.

Townsville is a bustling hub of a city, featuring The Strand, which overlooks the tropical waters to Magnetic Island. Exploring the city and surrounds will have you discovering plenty of free and family-friendly activities amongst a mix of city culture.

Being in a tropical climate, there are lots of water-based activities, such as the free water park, swimming pools and Reef HQ Aquarium.

If mountains and rainforest are more your thing, be sure to check out Paluma Range National Park and the rare ‘Cat Poo Coffee’ at Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms.

Here are over 25 unusual things to do in Townsville!

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Townsville Stats & Map

Townsville Quick Stats

Population196,800 people (as at 2020)
Average TemperaturesSummer: 24ºC – 31ºC
Winter: 14ºC – 25ºC
Average Rainfall1143 mm per year, averaging 91 days of rain. Most of it falls in the ‘wet season’ (November to April)
Best Time to VisitBetween May and September – the days are pleasant with cooler evenings
Worst Time to VisitFrom October to April – the heat and humidity is too intense to enjoy the outdoors

Map of Things to do in Townsville

Use the map below to get an idea of where all of the unusual things to do in Townsville are in relation to the city centre or where you plan on staying.

Map Key:
🟡 Yellow Pin Drops = Unusual things to do in Townsville

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Unusual Things to do in Townsville

Strand Rockpool

The Strand, Townsville
Strand Rock Pool, Townsville QLD

At the northern end of The Strand sits The Rockpool. It’s a stinger resistant ocean-water pool where you can swim for free. There’s plenty of nice green grass and some shady spots around for a picnic or BBQ.

You’ll find that the pool gently slopes down as you walk in, making it wheelchair accessible and a good splash area for young kids. As you make your way over to the wall on the beach-side, the pool is deep enough for swimming.

Strand Rockpool Facilities:

  • Limited car parking
  • Toilets
  • BBQ
  • Picnic tables
  • Playground
  • Outdoor showers
  • Lifeguard 9am – 6pm during summer school holidays
STRAND ROCKPOOL
CostFREE
AddressThe Strand, North Ward QLD 4810
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Castle Hill

Castle Hill, Townsville
Castle Hill, Townsville QLD

No matter where you go in Townsville, you’re bound to be looking up at Castle Hill, the big pink granite mound that takes pride of place right in the centre of town. How can you possibly get lost with such a uniquely situated hill as your compass?

You can either drive right to the top or Castle Hill or walk up with the other 2,500 locals that frequent the walking tracks every single day (not even kidding)!

Once at the top, you can enjoy 360º views from way out west, right across to Magnetic Island and beyond. Take a stroll around all of the short walks across the top of the rocks to really capture the heart of Townsville.

Castle Hill Facilities:

  • Car parking
  • Toilets
  • Drinking fountain
  • Shaded seating
CASTLE HILL
CostFREE
AddressCastle Hill, Townsville QLD 4810
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The Palmetum Gardens

Palmetum, Townsville
Palmetum Gardens, Townsville QLD

Townsville has a handful of beautiful botanical gardens, but the Palmetum Gardens are a little unique.

Here you will find one of the world’s largest collections of palms, hence the name. With only about 60 species of palms native to Australia, this collection showcases 300 from here and around the world.

As well as wandering the 17-hectare expanse of palm varieties, you can also enjoy a range of different habitats, grassy areas, water features, many different species of birds and a wetland area.

Palmetum Facilities:

  • Cafe
  • Memorial to Black Hawk Disaster
  • ‘Tumbetin Lodge’ – heritage building
  • Toilets
  • Rubbish bins
  • Shade & seating
  • Drinking fountain
  • Car parking
  • Pets allowed
PALMETUM GARDENS
CostFREE
AddressUniversity Road, Townsville QLD 4810
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Hit the Beach

The Strand Beach, Townsville QLD
The Strand Beach, Townsville QLD

The beaches along the Townsville coast are just gorgeous, especially with Magnetic Island as a backdrop.

But… and this is a big but, there are crocodiles in the warm Townsville waters. Just because you might not see them, doesn’t mean they can’t come floating on by. It actually happened while we were in town and the beach was immediately closed.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the beaches though. There is a lovely patrolled and netted beach along The Strand where you can swim relatively safely from crocs and stingers.

Not to mention going for a walk along the beachside or throwing out a towel and soaking up some sun. With one eye open of course…

The Strand Beach Facilities:

  • Toilets
  • Rubbish bins
  • Car parking
  • Cafes
  • Walking paths
  • Playground
  • Lifeguard with red & yellow flags
  • Netted swimming area
THE STRAND BEACH
CostFREE
AddressThe Strand, Townsville QLD 4810
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The Big Townsville Sign

Townsville Sign, QLD

The Townsville sign is a fairly new addition to the city’s landscape, being unveiled in 2018, just in time for the Commonwealth Games.

You can find the sign sitting alongside the Ross River at Central Park with many of Townsville’s iconic sights starring in the backdrop. Castle Hill is the standout feature, with the ‘Sugar Shaker’ builder, just off to the right (not pictured).

The nighttime experience of the Townsville sign is beautiful against the river and cityscape with its colourful LED lights.

THE BIG TOWNSVILLE SIGN
CostFREE
Address11 Dean Street, South Townsville QLD 4810
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Mount Stuart

Mount Stuart, Townsville
Mount Stuart, Townsville QLD

For the most amazing views of the whole Townsville region, with views way out to Magnetic Island, head up to Mount Stuart.

Take the scenic 9km drive off the Flinders Highway, which winds through a craggy mountainside, leading you to the top of the world! Well, it’s more like 584m high, but you can literally find yourself standing in the clouds up there some days.

We went up one afternoon in the hopes of seeing a magnificent sunset, but it ended up being too cloudy. It’s also a popular place for hikers, cyclists and picnic-goers with BBQ’s onsite.

Mount Stuart Facilities:

  • Viewing platform
  • Walking trail around the top
  • Car parking
  • NO toilets, bins or drinking water
MOUNT STUART
CostFREE
AddressMount Stuart QLD 4811
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Museum of Tropical Queensland

HMS Pandora - Museum of Tropical QLD, Townsville
HMS Pandora, Museum of Tropical QLD

The Museum of Tropical Queensland is a great attraction for the whole family to enjoy. There are a range of permanent exhibitions, which are highly interactive, as well as additional exhibitions that change from time to time.

Permanent Exhibitions:

  • Pandora – Discover the story of the Pandora expedition, one of the most well-known shipwrecks in the southern hemisphere.
  • Enchanted Rainforest – Wander around the giant Quandong tree and see how many creatures you can spot in the habitat.
  • Colour – Secret Language of the Reef – Explore the Great Barrier Reef and hang out in a submarine;
  • Sciencecentre – Play around with gravity, speed, eyesight, 3D objects, puzzles and more.

Museum of Tropical QLD Facilities:

  • Toilets
  • Car parking
  • Cafe
  • Gift shop
  • Passenger lift
  • Wheelchair access
MUSEUM OF TROPICAL QLD
Entry Fees• Adult – $15
• Concession – $11
• Child (3 – 15 yrs) – $8.80
• Family (2A + 3K) – $38
• Under 3 years – FREE
Address70 – 102 Flinders Street, Townsville QLD 4810

If you want to visit the Museum of Tropical Queensland more than once, it’s worth getting an annual pass. Here’s a guide detailing plenty of things to do with the kids on school holidays in Townsville.

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Riverway Lagoons

Riverway Lagoons, Townsville
Riverway Lagoons at night, Townsville QLD

How great is this, another FREE swimming location in Townsville! Here you will find two massive pools, with varying depths up to 2 metres. The lower pool is more suited to younger children, while the upper pool has wheelchair access, handrails and deeper sections.

Lifeguards patrol the Lagoons, so you know you’re in safe hands. The pools open at dawn and close when the last Lifeguards finish their shift, which varies depending on the time of the year.

We visited for a night swim and enjoyed some fireworks that were on at the festival next door as we floated around. Does it get any better than that?

Riverway Lagoons Facilities:

  • 2 x large pools (covering an area of over 3 olympic-sized swimming pools)
  • Lots of shady trees and structures
  • BBQ’s
  • Picnic tables
  • Playground
  • Lifeguards on duty
  • River views
  • Riverway Arts Centre
  • Car parking
RIVERWAY LAGOONS
CostFREE
Address15 Sporting Drive, Thuringowa Central QLD 4817
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Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, Townsville QLD
Magnetic Island, Townsville QLD

Just a short ferry ride (20 – 40 mins) from Townsville to Magnetic Island, you can enjoy a jam-packed day trip. With lots to explore, either take your car over on the ferry, use the bus system on the island or hire a car once you get there.

Maggie Island is not huge, only coming in at 11 kilometres long, but with permanent residents and plenty of tourists, you’ll find everything you need over there.

Things to do on Magnetic Island:

  • Horse Riding from beach to bush (Horseshoe Bay Ranch)
  • Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
  • Walking Trails (25 kms worth) – the 1.5 hr Forts Walk is the most popular
  • Koala spotting (over 800 koalas on the island) – early morning or late afternoon
  • Water sports at Horseshoe Bay – kayak, jet ski, tube rides etc.
  • Play golf at Picnic Bay
  • Rock Wallaby spotting at Geoffrey Bay
  • Rent a topless Barbie car
  • Scuba Dive a shipwreck
  • Swim at the many beaches
  • Take a boat tour
  • Enjoy lunch and a drink at one of the pubs, cafes or restaurants
MAGNETIC ISLAND
CostSee Magnetic Island Ferries for all ticket pricing
AddressFerries leave from Ross Street, Townsville QLD 4810
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The Strand

The Strand, Townsville QLD
The Strand, Townsville QLD

Okay, so you’ve probably noticed The Strand popping up throughout this post. That’s because it’s one of the number one things to do in Townsville!

I was blown away with everything that The Strand has to offer tourists and locals alike. If you only do one thing while passing through Townsville, make this is the one! Go for a tropical walk along the beach, take the kids to the Splash Park or dunk yourself in the Rock Pools (all free).

Maybe you’re looking for somewhere to have a drink or a meal with an Island view? There’s an array of restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from. Take a dip in one of the two beaches and wear the kids out on one or all of the parks along the way.

The Strand Features:

  • Water park
  • Rock pool
  • 2 x Beaches (one is patrolled)
  • Multiple playgrounds
  • Exercise equipment
  • Ride, scoot or walk along the 2.5km of walkways
  • Go fishing off the Jetty
  • Relax under the shade of a palm tree with a picnic lunch
  • Soak up the views to Magnetic Island with a drink at the bar
THE STRAND
CostFREE
Address37 – 43 The Strand, North Ward QLD 4810
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Billabong Sanctuary

Koalas
Mum & baby koalas

Just 20 minutes south of Townsville is the well-known Billabong Sanctuary. It’s been around since 1985 and is the passion project of Bob and Del. What began as 18-hour work days and living in a tent, resulted in their dream of a native animal sanctuary becoming a reality.

These days, the Billabong Sanctuary is a well-established wildlife park, housing a variety of Australian mammals, birds and reptiles. You’ll find different interpretive shows happening throughout the day as you explore the park and you can even feed a croc… if you’re game!

It’s well worth adding the Billabong Sanctuary to your list of unusual things to do in Townsville.

Things to do at the Billabong Sanctuary:

  • Wander the park and visit all the mammals, birds and reptiles
  • Koala feeding show
  • Cassowary feeding show
  • Wombat show
  • Koala experience & photo opportunity (FREE)
  • Dingo walkabout
  • Reptile show
  • Crocodile feeding show
  • Feed a croc experience!
  • Free flight bird show
  • Turtle feeding experience
  • Grab some lunch from Blinky Bill’s Cafe
  • BYO esky and have a picnic or use the BBQs
BILLABONG SANCTUARY
Entry Fees• Adult – $46
• Child (4 – 16 years) – $31
• Family (2A + 3C) – $140
• Additional Child – $25
• Pensioner/ Student – $42
Address11 Country Road, Nome QLD 4816
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Strand Jetty

The Strand Jetty, Townsville QLD
Strand Jetty, Townsville QLD

If fishing is your thing, check out the purpose-built Strand Jetty (sometimes called Strand Pier). As you may have guessed, it’s located along The Strand waterfront with front row seats looking across to Magnetic Island.

Even if you’re not into fishing, grab some fish & chips or an ice cream and take a wander along the jetty to take in the views. See what sea creatures you can spot from above. On the rare occasion, you may even spot a crocodile floating on by – it’s happened before!

Strand Jetty Facilities:

  • Fish cleaning table with tap
  • Partially covered area
  • Fishing rod holders
  • Rubbish bin
STRAND JETTY
CostFREE
Address90 The Strand, North Ward QLD 4810
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Paluma Range National Park

Crystal Creek, Paluma Range National Park, QLD
Stone Arch Bridge, Little Crystal Creek, Paluma Range National Park QLD

If you take a drive north of Townsville for about 80 km, you’ll find the turn off into Paluma Range National Park. It’s known as the southern gateway to the Wet Tropics Heritage Area as is a popular tropical escape for Townsville residents and tourists alike.

Pack a picnic lunch, plenty of water, plus your togs and towels to explore all that is Little Crystal Creek and Big Crystal Creek.

Big Crystal Creek is just a short drive in from the highway. There you’ll find Paradise Waterhole, perfect for swimming and kayaking, plus a nice picnic ground with toilets for a lunch break.

Once you’re finished there, jump back in the car and drive a little further up the road to the carpark for the Natural Rock Slides. There is a short walk into the Rock Slides, so make sure you take a hat and water bottle.

Little Crystal Creek is further up the range, where you’ll find fresh water flowing down the creek and under the heritage-listed stone arch bridge (built sometime in the 1930s). You can swim there if you want to, but if you’re like me and hate freezing cold water, you might decide to give it a miss. Go for a wander and explore the boulders and waterfalls underneath and around the gorgeous old bridge.

If bushwalking is your thing, there are plenty of tracks to explore throughout Paluma Range National Park.

*Be aware that Paluma National Park may be closed during the wet season when the waters are overflowing.

Big & Little Crystal Creek Facilities:

  • BBQ
  • Picnic tables
  • Toilets
  • Swimming
  • Walking tracks
  • Camping ground
  • Showers
PALUMA RANGE NATIONAL PARK
CostFREE (camping fees apply)
Address80km north of Townsville, turn off from the Bruce Highway, QLD
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Townsville BIG Things

BIG Spider, Townsville QLD
BIG Spider, Townsville QLD

While you’re in Townsville, check out some of the iconic Big Things that are spotted around. Some people tick off the Bigs in every town they travel through as a road trip activity. The Big Brolga and the Big Spiders are well-known Townsville Bigs, but what other ones are there?

Big Things in Townsville:

  • BIG Aboriginal Elder King Bundawal
  • BIG Aussie Swagman
  • BIG Brolga
  • BIG Chair
  • BIG Crocodile
  • BIG Johnathan Thurston
  • BIG Mother Earth
  • BIG Ned Kelly
  • BIG Slim Dusty
  • BIG Spiders x 2
  • BIG Termite

For the entire list (with full street addresses) of Queensland Big Things, download the checklist below.

QLD Big Things Checklist

QLD Big Things Checklist

Collect over 150 Big Things as you travel Queensland!

  • 17-page checklist
  • Pre-filled with 150+ items
  • Categorised into 6 regions
  • QLD Regional Map
  • Full street addresses
  • Record finds & dates
  • DIGITAL & PRINTABLE
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Reef HQ Aquarium

NOTE: Since December 2019, the Reef HQ has received $40.1 million in Government funding to upgrade the facility. Unfortunately, the aquarium will be closed during the overhaul. At this stage it’s set to reopen in 2023. Keep an eye on the Reef HQ refurb works.

Turtle, Great Barrier Reef

To experience the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium, head to the Reef HQ. The large aquarium is home to 130 coral species, 120 fish species and hundreds of other species, such as sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, feather stars, snails, worms and sponges. You’ll get the chance to see a real coral reef in living action without even getting wet!

Coral Reef Exhibit:

  • Water motion created with a pneumatic wave machine
  • Open to the weather including rain, sunlight and moonlight, no different to a natural reef
  • Tank holds 2.5 million litres of water

Predator Exhibit:

  • Underwater tunnel
  • Open on one side to view the reef exhibit
  • Other side displays larger predatory species, such as potato cod, blacktip reef sharks and leopard shark
  • Included is a ship wreck exhibit
REEF AQUARIUM
Entry FeesAdult – $28
Concession – $22
Child (5 – 16 years) – $14
Child (under 5) – FREE
Family (2A + 3K) – $70
Address2/ 68 Flinders Street, Townsville QLD 4810
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Jezzine Barracks

The Jezzine Barracks are particularly significant for both the local Aboriginal people and the Australian military.

The traditional owners of Garabarra are the Wulgurukaba people and the Bindal people. Their connection to the land remains even through the impact of non-Aboriginal settlement throughout the area. Garabarra was a central food foraging area for thousands of years.

In 1870, the Fort was established after the British withdrew from the colonies. The military continued to use the Fort from 1885 to 2006. Come 2007, a community trust was created to keep the land in public hands.

What you’ll find at Jezzine Barracks:

  • Coastal boardwalks connecting Rowes Bay to The Strand
  • Observation decks at Kissing Point Fort
  • 32 commissioned public artworks
  • Traditional plantings along the ethno-botanical walk
  • Norman and Brigadier North parklands
  • Crossed Boomerang Amphitheatre
  • Interpretive signage
  • Restored elements of Kissing Point Fort complex

Jezzine Barracks Facilities:

  • Car parking
  • Pet friendly
  • BBQ
JEZZINE BARRACKS
CostFREE
Address38 – 40 Howitt Street, North Ward QLD 4810
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Dive/ Snorkel the Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef, Coral & Fish

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the world. This amazing living ecosystem stretches from the tip of Cape York to Bundaberg, a span of 2,300 km down the Queensland coast.

Throughout the largest coral reef system in the world, you’ll find an array of gorgeous colours and the fish and marine species are plentiful.

If you’re keen to explore a piece of the Great Barrier Reef, Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive offers a great experience that leaves from Townsville and caters for a full day trip. Here’s a great read on what a liveaboard Great Barrier Reef experience is like.

What you can experience on a Reef Trip:

  • Snorkelling (instructions & equipment included)
  • Introductory/ certified diving
  • Learn about the reef eco system
  • Mooring fees
  • Experienced crew members
  • Beverages (tea, coffee, cold water, cordial)
  • Food (morning tea, lunch & afternoon tea) – may offer a BYO option
ADRENALINE SNORKEL & DIVE
Cost• Adult Snorkeler – $295
• Child Snorkeler – $245

• Certified Diver with tanks and weights – $335
• Certified Diver with full equipment hire – $390
AddressDeparts from Breakwater Marina – 26 Mariners Drive, The Strand, Townsville QLD 4810
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Street Art Trail

For more of a cultural experience while visiting Townsville, grab your camera and head out to the Street Art Trail. There are fifteen works hidden in alleys, laneways and on warehouse walls.

Indeed the oldest piece of Townsville guerrilla art is the ‘Saint,’ which is painted on the side of Castle Hill. Go for a drive around the bottom of Castle Hill and look up, you can’t miss it! Apparently it was painted by a bunch of local students 50 years ago in the wee hours of St Patrick’s Day.

Some places to find the street art:

  • City Lane precinct
  • A carpark behind a suburban skate shop
  • Denham Lane (multiple works)
  • Inner-city carparks
  • The back of Umbrella Studio Gallery
  • Ogden Street

To see lots of images of the street art, head to the Queensland.com website. If you want to pick up a Street Art Walking Trail map, head to the Visitor Information Centre on Flinders Street.

STREET ART TRAIL
CostFREE
AddressFREE Street Art Walking Trail Map – Flinders Street, Townsville QLD 4810
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Markets

Horseshoe Bay Markets, Magnetic Island QLD
Horseshoe Bay Markets, Magnetic Island QLD

Wandering the markets in different towns along your travels is a nice way to get involved in the local culture and support local small businesses. Here are a range of regular markets to add to your unusual things to do in Townsville, North Queensland.

Willows Rotary Markets

  • Farmers & general market
  • Fruits, vegetables, handmade preserves & food
  • Gifts, souvenirs, clothes, art & jewellery
WILLOWS ROTARY MARKETS
Every Sunday
7.30 am – 11.30 am
Willows Shopping Centre Car Park
13 Hervey Range Road,
Thuringowa Central QLD 4817

Cotters Market

  • Farmers Market
  • Fresh food & herbs
  • Handmade & exotic goods
  • Live music
COTTERS MARKET
Every Sunday
8.00 am – 1.00 pm
Flinders Square
334 Flinders Street,
Townsville City QLD 4810

Magnetic Island Markets

  • Island market at Horseshoe Bay
  • Jewellery, clothing, art, food & treasures
MAGNETIC ISLAND MARKETS
Every Sunday
9.00 am – 2.00 pm
Horseshoe Bay Foreshore
Horseshoe Bay QLD 4819

Strand Night Markets

  • Food, fashion, craft, jewellery
  • Home and leisure displays
STRAND NIGHT MARKETS
1st Friday of every month
5.30 pm – 9.30 pm
Strand Park
Strand Park, North Ward QLD 4810

Bushland Beach Market

  • Local community markets
  • Over 40 vendors with a range of products
BUSHLAND BEACH MARKET
1st & 3rd Sunday each month
8.00 am – 12.00 pm
Bushland Beach Park
Mount Low Parkway,
Mount Low QLD 4818
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Frosty Mango

BIG Frosty Mango, Mutarnee QLD
BIG Frosty Mango, Mutarnee QLD

Frosty Mango began back in 1989 and has continued to be a popular tourist stop along the Bruce Highway, as people travel north and south between Townsville and Cairns. Locals also enjoy escaping the heat to the cool air conditioning with an ice cream or fresh fruit sorbet, while exploring the well-established orchards.

What you’ll find at Frosty Mango:

  • Pancakes
  • Wraps
  • Sandwiches
  • Jams
  • Build-your-own Pizza
  • Ice Cream (flavours include – macadamia, hazelnut, tiramisu)
  • Fruit Sorbet (flavours include – cappuccino, rum ‘n’ raisin, dragonfruit, rock melon, lychee)

Frosty Mango Facilities:

  • Air conditioning
  • Alfresco dining
  • Bush views
  • Breakfast & lunch
  • Disabled access
  • Gluten Free options
  • Vegan options
  • Vegetarian options
  • Car parking
  • Pet friendly
FROSTY MANGO
CostFREE entry
Address1 Bruce Highway, Mutarnee QLD 4816
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Townsville Brewery

The Townsville Brewery offers unique and original craft beers and has been serving people since 2001. Head to the brewery for a beverage in the tavern, then move into the restaurant for a nice, hearty meal.

Carey Ramm bought the old Townsville Post Office building, which is filled with nostalgic Victorian charm and situated right in the heart of the city. Since he had no brewing experience, he enlisted the help of Irishman Brendan Flanagan to create beers that the locals would accept.

These days, it’s a bustling local hub, where locals can kick back with a brew and enjoy some delicious local food.

Townsville Brewery Facilities:

  • Tavern
  • Restaurant
  • Banquet Hall
  • Disabled access
  • Toilets
  • Indoor/ outdoor dining
TOWNSVILLE BREWERY
CostFREE entry
Address252 Flinders Street, Townsville QLD 4810
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Townsville Heritage Walks

Buildings, Townsville QLD
Buildings, Townsville QLD

The Townsville Heritage Trail Walks are a perfect activity for those who are interested in historical architecture and stories, as well as tropical gardens and natural attractions. If you’re into history, be sure to add the heritage walks to your things to do in Townsville list.

SELF-GUIDED WALKS

You can download the self-guided walking tour maps onto your smart phone and explore Townsville’s history at your own leisure. Some of the buildings in the App no longer exist, so it’s interesting to see how far the town has come over the years. You’ll have the chance to engage in stories from wartime folk and day-to-day life as it was.

Self-guided Heritage Walking Trails:

  • Civic Pride (through the CBD and iconic Flinders Street)
  • Early Townsville
  • South Townsville & Port
  • West End Cemetery Trails 1 – Life, death & memorialisation in early Townsville
  • West End Cemetery Trails 2 – Townsville women
  • West End Cemetery Trails 3 – Publican’s trail
SELF-GUIDED WALKS
CostFREE
AddressVarious – download the Townsville Tours & Trails App
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Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms

Kopi Luwak Coffee
Kopi Luwak Coffee

The history of Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms is a colourful one. The property began as Eureka Hotel built by an early pioneer in 1865, which was one year after Townsville, the seaside township, was settled.

The Heritage Tea Rooms sit in Thornton’s Gap on top of Hervey Range. It lies on Georgetown Road, which was once the main road leading from the Port of Townsville out to the goldfields to the north and west.

Over the years, the property has been through a range of different identities, such as Sanitarium, Rolfe’s Hotel, the Range Hotel and Eureka.

Getting to the Tea Rooms is a scenic 30-minute drive along Hervey Range Road from Townsville. Be sure to stop at Piper’s Lookout on the way up or down, to take in the panoramic views.

What you can enjoy at the Heritage Tea Rooms:

  • All Day Breakfast (9 am – 1 pm)
  • Scones & sweets
  • Hot drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate)
  • Cold drinks (milk shakes, iced coffee/ chocolate/ tea)
  • Beer, wine & spirits (after 10 am)
  • Kopi Luwak – most expensive coffee in the world at $50 a cup!

Kopi Luwak (Cat Poo Coffee!)

Kopi Luwak is said to be the ‘rarest beverage on earth’ and was brought to the Heritage Tea Rooms menu in 2006. So, what makes this coffee so special? It’s all in the way it’s been produced… and let’s just say it’s not going to be everyones cup of coffee.

The coffee beans are eaten and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet (an Indonesian cat-like creature). As the coffee beans sit in the cat’s stomach, the digestive juices leech out much of the proteins that cause bitterness in coffee. The result is a much smoother and sweeter flavour.

Extracted from the forest floor are the whole arabica beans found in the Asian Palm Civet’s droppings. These coffee beans are roasted and ground to apparently make the perfect cup of coffee.

One cup of Kopi Luwak coffee will set you back $50 in the tea rooms. Are you game enough to try it?

You also have the option to take home a gift pack of 30g, 50g or 90g to enjoy later.

HERITAGE TEA ROOMS
CostFree entry
$50 for a cup of Kopi Luwak coffee
Various drinks & meals on the menu
Address37 Thornton Gap Road,
Herveys Range QLD 4817

Have a look at the Hervey Range Heritage Tea Rooms website for full details, opening hours and menu options.

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Kingpin Bowling & Laser Tag

Bowling

If you find yourself stuck for ideas on things to do in Townsville on a rainy day, why not head to Kingpin Bowling. The Alley was fully renovated and upgraded in mid 2019, giving it a super modern and energetic feel.

Alongside tenpin bowling, you can enjoy the arcade with over 100 games, including the old school classics, plus the high-tech games of today. A new cocktail and food menu has been added, as well as offering laser tag, karaoke and pool tables.

Kingpin Bowling Facilities:

  • Bowling – 18 lanes
  • Laser Tag – 25 person arena
  • Playtime arcade – over 100 games + prizes
  • Pool tables
  • Karaoke
  • Table tennis
  • Fully licensed bar & cocktails
  • Variety of foods
KINGPIN BOWLING
Activity CostsFrom $17 pp – Kingpin bookings here
Address16 High Range Drive, Thuringowa Central QLD 4817
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Laneway Dining Precinct

Laneway Food

For a metropolitan dining experience, head to the Laneway Dining Precinct – the only one of it’s kind in Townsville. The New York inspired laneway is complete with street art and quirky decor. The mishmash of seemingly clashing restaurants actually work really well.

There’s something for everyone, whether it be a lunch catch-up or a night on the town. Add the Laneway Dining Precinct to your list of unusual things to do in Townsville.

Donna Bionda
A modern industrial dining experience as you sit around the wood fired oven. Italian and seafood, share platters, nutella and caramelised banana calzone with wine and cocktails.

Born Wild Wholefood + Expresso
Enjoy a healthy lifestyle cafe serving whole food meals, drinks and snacks, available for dine in or take away.

Harri Dumpling
Renowned for delicious dumplings from 11 am daily. Wander down the laneway and give them a try.

Shaw & Co.
For a good mix of sport and great steak, head to Shaw & Co. Beef is handpicked from local farmers and butchers by Lyndsey and Matt. Together they boast over 20 years experience in the culinary scene and cattle industry, bringing their guests the best.

Sakana
For a taste of Japan, give Sakana a try. They do freshly prepared sushi, sashimi and other Japanese dishes. Try some of Japan’s finest beers and sake.

Syros Greek Street Food
Traditional Greek street food such as greek filo, quiche, sandwiches, wraps, salami rolls with feta, smoked salmon rolls, croissants, chicken schnitzels, baklava and loaded cronuts.

The Courtyard
Funky street art exterior with a retro beer garden. Inside will have you feeling like you’re in a Mexican cantina. On offer is a range of beers, ciders and American style street food.

The TapHouse
If you’re all about good food, craft beer and a great atmosphere, head to The TapHouse. The ten taps in house are on constant rotation, having served over 500 different beers since opening in 2015. Order share plates, tapas, bottled and tin craft beer, cider and wine.

Zizigo Korean Cuisine
For an authentic Korean taste, Zizigo is your place. Some of the dishes include Korean spiced pork, bibimbap and Korean style deep fried chicken.

LANEWAY DINING PRECINCT
CostFREE entry, various menu prices
Address373/ 401 Flinders Street, Townsville QLD 4810
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Cape Pallarenda

With the discovery of gold in 1851, the population in the area grew exponentially. With people flocking in from different parts of the world, the introduction of diseases became an issue.

Initially, Magnetic Island was used for quarantining, but it eventually became apparent that it was too far away from the Townsville Port. Hence, it was relocated to Pallarenda and opened around 1916.

The former quarantine station is now heritage-listed and was built in 1915 – 1916 using the materials that were brought over from the quarantine station on Magnetic Island.

Today you can find the Cape Pallarenda Quarantine Station as you drive through the gates after the park at Pallarenda and head into the Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park.

Things to do at Cape Pallarenda:

  • Walking & mountain biking – 15 trails of varying lengths and difficulty
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Explore WW2 history
  • Shell collecting
  • Bird watching

Cape Pallarenda Facilities:

  • BBQs
  • Picnic tables
  • Toilets
  • Car parking
  • Playgrounds
  • Naturalist Beach
  • NO pets allowed
  • NO rubbish bins (take it home with you)
CAPE PALLARENDA
CostFREE
AddressCape Pallarenda Road, Graves Circuit, Pallarenda QLD 4810
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Ross River Parkway

Aplin's Weir, Ross River, Townsville QLD
Aplin’s Weir, Ross River, Townsville QLD

The beautiful Ross River Parkway is made up of continuous open community spaces linking over 30 km of cycling and walking pathways. There are footbridges and road bridges along the way, which link up both sides of the river, so that you can pass from one side to the other as you go.

Along the way you’ll find beautiful shady trees, toilets, playgrounds, picnic tables, BBQ areas and lookouts. For a beautiful nature walk that follows the river, add Ross River to your list of things to do in Townsville.

Ross River Circuits:

  • Wetlands Circuit – 5.9 kms
  • Aplin’s Weir Circuit – 5.3 km
  • Federation Circuit – 7.2 km
  • Riverway Circuit – 3.7 km
  • Bicentennial Park Section – 4.6 km one way
  • Fairfield Waters Section – 1.6 km one way
ROSS RIVER PARKWAY
CostFREE
AddressVarious, see Townsville walking & cycling trail maps
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Alligator Creek

Just 29 km south of Townsville is the most beautiful forest with waterholes and waterfalls. Bowling Green Bay National Park is home to Alligator Creek, which flows between two mountains – Mount Elliot and Saddle Mountain.

You’ll find cool relief from the North Queensland heat at Alligator Creek about 5 km along Alligator Creek Road. The swimming area is right near the car park, so access is easy.

If you’re wanting more of an adventure, you can take the long hike into Alligator Creek Falls and enjoy a private infinity pool overlooking the landscape. This walk is 17 km return and you’ll need to allow 4 – 6 hours. Be sure to pack sun protection, plenty of food and water plus a First Aid Kit.

First Aid Kit Checklist →

Alligator Creek Facilities:

  • Toilets
  • Picnic grounds
  • Camping ground
  • Car parking
ALLIGATOR CREEK
CostFREE
AddressAlligator Creek, QLD 4816
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Townsville Accommodation

Bluewater Rest Area (FREE Camping)

As we headed south from Tully towards Townsville, we pulled into the Bluewater Rest Area, which is a Free Camping space for up to 48 hours. You have the opportunity to camp amongst beautiful big, shady trees and have all of the facilities you need on hand (dump point, water, toilets, bins, playground).

Bluewater Rest Area is a fantastic base if you’re only planning a short stint in Townsville. The commute from camp into the CBD is about 30 minutes south.

Bluewater Rest Area, Townsville QLD
Bluewater Rest Area, Bluewater QLD

Bluewater Facilities:

💲 FREE (48 hours)
🐶 Pet friendly
🚻 Toilets
🚿 Outdoor shower (cold)
🚰 Drinking water taps
🍞 Picnic tables
🗑️ Rubbish bins
⬇️ Dump point
🎡 Playground
🌳 Shade
📶 Telstra reception
📺 TV reception
⛺ Tent & camper friendly
🚗 2WD access
🚌 Big Rig access

Bluewater Rest Area – FULL REVIEW →

Townsville Caravan Parks

Once we realised we’d be staying in Townsville for a few months work, we moved to the Discovery Parks in Cluden, Townsville. Being right on the outskirts of town meant that exploring was much easier. We were able to set up for a comfortable stay with the jumping pillow and pool for the kids, plus power (air con!) and water for us all in the van.

During our search for the perfect base camp, we checked out just about every caravan park in Townsville. If you’re planning your own Townsville trip and are looking for a caravan park, check out the complete list below.

15 Caravan Parks in Townsville →
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10 thoughts on “🌴 28 Unusual Things to Do in Townsville, QLD”

  1. Wow, there is definitely TONS of options for Queensland! My hubby has wanted to get over to that corner of the world, I can see the appeal. I would definitely stop by the Big Frosty!

  2. Wonderful compilation of the various possible things to do in Townsville. This should require at least a month to experience them all. Kopi Luwak is a very Bali thing I thought, good to know it is popular here too. Panoramic view spots are high in my list.

    1. You could easily spend a month exploring Townsville and it’s surrounds, although you don’t need that long. I imagine Kopi Luwak would be a Balinese thing. It’s very much a rare delicacy over here.

  3. It looks like there are plenty of things to do in Townsville. If you’re someone who is keen on water activities, this definitely looks like the place to enjoy numerous water sports. The ocean-water pool sounds fantastic and I love that it’s free 🙂

  4. There is certainly a lot to do in Townsville. We would normally be drawn to the water activities. And would love to go back and scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef again. But there is much to do for when we are finished diving. I love that there are a few spots to head high for a panoramic view. Fun that there are so many “Big Things” in this one spot.

  5. This is on the ocean, yes? I never knew crocodiles would be in saltwater. Knowing you have to be worried about them and stingers seem scary, but good to know they put up netting for safety!

    1. Yes, this is the ocean. Saltwater crocodiles are very much alive and dangerous in Australia. Freshwater crocs are fairly harmless if they’re left alone.

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