The nightlife is thriving, Magnetic Island’s on its doorstep, museums are aplenty, and its waterfront stretches for miles and miles. Townsville, the unofficial capital of North Queensland, has got it all. The heart of the tropics, it’s the perfect place to unwind and relax, especially in The Strand, a section of shoreline that is perfectly positioned right across from the amazing Magnetic Island, packed full with koalas, many species of birds, rocky outcrops, and beautiful bays. For a great look at Townsville, head on up to the Castle Hill lookout and see a great view. Back in town, you’ll be able to enjoy some fantastic cuisine and Zen-inspired waterfront dining, and even some great cheap-eats on Flinders St near the nightclubs. You’ll also be able to see some great stuff by heading out of Townsville to the west, visiting places such as the mining town of Charters Towers and the amazing Paluma Range National Park, part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area. This growing city can only move forward, and it would be a shame if you missed out on such a great place.
Maggie, as the locals know her by, is a fantastic island escape, and is only a short ferry ride away from the heart of Townsville. Day tripping to the island is a fantastic thing to do for hikers, and afterwards there are some fantastic places for unwinding and calling it a night. It’s pretty easy to get around the island as well; local buses run up and down the main road pretty frequently. There are a variety of activities available all throughout the island, from hiking in the National Park all the way up to Mt Cook, to visiting the wreck of the HMS City of Adelaide at Cockle Bay.
From where the ferry puts you down at Nelly Bay, where you’ll be able to enjoy some of the great nightlife that the island has to offer. Head south to visit Picnic Bay, a quiet corner of Maggie that offers a stinger enclosure in the summer months, a chance to see the wreck nearby, and a trip to West Point with its beautiful secluded beach. North of Nelly Bay is Arcadia, a great spot to get great Indonesian food and to see cute rock wallabies. Even further are the forts complex and an unofficial nudist beach at Balding Bay, with the end of the road at Horseshoe Bay, the largest of them all, with a museum dedicated to solar power and a place where you can eat breakfast surrounded by koalas, Australia’s friendliest marsupials.
Seeing Magnetic Island’s National and Marine Parks by kayak is a great and eco-friendly way to see this fantastic ecosystem. Paddle within meters of granite boulders and enjoy the rugged beauty of its coastline.
This amazing aquarium has the best sights of the reef without actually having to go down to it, instead seeing animals live in reconstructed reefs. This collection of sharks, turtles, and rays is also home to an IMAX theatre.
There are a few places to stay right on Magnetic Island, and there are also great properties available in Townsville as well, many of which are located right in the city centre.
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