Townsville

Last Updated: 16th Feb 2011

Townsville is the largest city in the Australian region of North Queensland on the East Coast and is home to just over 150,000 people. Home to many of the Tropical North’s professional sporting clubs and businesses, it is widely recognized as the unofficial capital of the region.

History

Originally established as a port city in the mid 1800’s, it grew on the back of the sugar and meat industries and the discovery of gold and is today the biggest city in North Queensland and the administrative and business centre for the entire region.

The city is also home to the biggest University in the region, James Cook University and has one of the biggest army bases in the country.

Castle Hill

Castle Hill is the ‘Rock’ around which Townsville is built sits in the middle of the city. The short drive up the Hill provides a great lookout for views over the whole city and region as well as nearby Mt Stuart and Magnetic Island.

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, (fondly known to the locals as ‘Maggie’) is one of the largest islands in the Great Barrier Reef and only 20 minutes from Townsville on the fast catamarans that leave from the main port. Home to only 1000 people it is yet another Queensland landmark named by Captain James Cook whose ship’s compass did not work well when he passed by the island.

Beaches and Swimming

Swimming not only in Townsville, but all of North Queensland is dangerous in the summer months due to the abundance of Box Jellyfish (commonly known as ‘stingers’) in the warm, tropical waters. This however is overcome in many regions by placing ‘singer nets’ in the water. The fine mesh walls cannot be infiltrated by the stingers tentacles and make it safe to swim inside their confines. The Strand in Townsville is also home to a popular rock pool, filtered to keep stingers out.

Townsville is a lunch stop on may Contiki Tours in Australia heading north from the Whitsundays or south from Cairns.

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