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By Hill and Sea


Townsville as viewed from Castle Hill Lookout

Townsville as viewed from Castle Hill Lookout

© Tourism Queensland

If you were driving north to Cairns along Queensland's coastal Bruce Highway, arguably the last major city before Cairns is Townsville, just about halfway between Mackay and Cairns.

Considered the capital of the north Queensland region, Townsville, the state's fourth largest city, is some 1370 kilometres north of Brisbane.

The city combines the lure of the tropics in a seaside location with the advantages and amenities of urban life. It is a jump-off point to the Great Barrier Reef.

Water activities

For those holidaying on Magnetic Island, Townsville is the only departure point, by ferry.

Being on the edge of the Pacific, Townsville is rich in water activities which include cruises not only to Magnetic Island but also to Hinchinbrook and Dunk Islands, and a number of sailing, diving and snorkeling adventures.

City lookout

Castle Hill, rising 290 metres just southwest of the city centre, provides a panoramic view of the city, its harbour and the ocean.

Main attraction

The city's main attraction is an area at the end of Flinders St East which includes a coral reef aquarium, theatre, museum, shops, and the ferry terminal to Magnetic Island.

Parks and gardens

The Queens Gardens, which includes the original Townsville botanic gardens, are a kilometre from the city centre. The new botanic gardens, Anderson Park, are six kilometres southwest of the city centre.

Billabong Sanctuary, 17 kilometres south of the city on the Bruce Highway, is a wildlife park with various shows throughout the day.

Getting there

By air: Daily flights are available from almost all major Australian cities.

By train: The Brisbane-Cairns Sunlander travels through Townsville.

By bus: Long-distance buses operate between Brisbane and Cairns along the Bruce Highway.

By car: If traveling on your own or rented vehicle, following the Bruce Highway south from Cairns or north from Brisbane should get your there with all the stops and side excursions you desire.

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