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How to Spend 3 Days in Townsville

How to Spend 3 Days in Townsville

Boasting easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, outdoor adventures, and a rich cultural scene, Townsville is an ideal destination for travelers looking to experience the best of Australia. Here’s how to explore the coastal city in 72 hours.

Day 1: See the Town’s Sights

Kick off your time in Townsville on a sightseeing tour that allows you to orient yourself and tick off some top sights at the same time. Tours typically take visitors through the Central Business District to Castle Hill viewpoint and along the beachfront promenade of The Strand. Along the way, guides provide historical and cultural background that you’re unlikely to find in the guidebook. Those with an interest in military history can take a tour focused on the Australian Army’s presence in town—key sites include Kissing Point Fort, Black Hawk Memorial, Lavarack Barracks, the Royal Australian Air Force Museum, and the Army Museum of North Queensland.

Afterward, get a different perspective of Townsville by soaring over the city on a helicopter tour. You’ll get unrivalled views of Castle Hill, the beaches of the Strand, and the lively Townsville Port—longer tours also pass over Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Day 2: Explore the Great Barrier Reef

Townsville is a great jumping off point for visiting the Great Barrier Reef, so make this your day to explore the world’s largest coral reef. Full-day boat tours from Townsville typically take you snorkeling or scuba diving, depending on your experience level, and visit places such as Lodestone Reef—home to stingrays, sea turtles, reef sharks, and tropical fish—and the well-preserved SS Yongala shipwreck, where you’ll hopefully spot sea turtles and whale sharks. Lunch, morning and afternoon tea, and use of all necessary equipment are generally included.

Back on dry land, head for the restaurant strip of Palmer Street for dinner. You’ll find restaurants serving cuisines that range from Australian and Thai to Greek and Italian.

Day 3: Visit Magnetic Island

Spend your final day exploring Magnetic Island; with ferries making the 20-minute journey more than a dozen times every day, it’s easy to get there but be sure to save your spot by booking in advance. If you have your own transport, board the ferry and explore the island at your own pace. If you’re on foot, hop on the local Magnetic Island bus service, which meets every ferry arrival and departure. You can hike almost 15 miles (24 kilometers) of walking trails, check out the bird sanctuaries, and hopefully spot some of the largest population of koalas in Northern Australia. 

Back in town, head to Palmer Street or the Strand for and a drink at one of the many restaurants and bars. If you’re keen for a bigger night out, head for the nightlife area of Flinders Street East.

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4 Tours and Activities

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Magnetic Island Round-Trip Ferry From Townsville

Magnetic Island Round-Trip Ferry From Townsville

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Explore the beaches, bays and National parks of Magnetic Island with round-trip transport by catamaran from Townsville. Your flexible ferry tickets can be used any time within a month, so you can spend as long as you want swimming and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park; hiking through the parklands; or partying at the island resorts.  
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  • 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$27.39
From
$27.39
Taking safety measures

Great Barrier Reef Cruise from Townsville or Magnetic Island

Great Barrier Reef Cruise from Townsville or Magnetic Island

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80
Check an item off your bucket list by snorkeling or scuba diving on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On this tour from either Townsville or Magnetic Island, you’ll take a custom-built boat with a professional crew to Lodestone Reef, home to stingrays, sea turtles, reef sharks, tropical fish and more. Lunch, drinks and equipment are included. You have three options when booking: snorkeling, two certified dives or an introductory dive with an experienced instructor.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$212.20
From
$212.20
Taking safety measures

Scuba Dive the S.S. Yongala Wreck on the Great Barrier Reef.

Scuba Dive the S.S. Yongala Wreck on the Great Barrier Reef.

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Looking for a new underwater challenge? Embark on an unforgettable full-day scuba diving adventure in the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, open only to certified divers. Dive amid schools of tropical fish, manta rays and sea snakes; explore the remarkably preserved SS Yongala shipwreck and spot sea turtles and whale sharks. This small-group tour has a maximum of 21 participants and includes two open-water dives, lunch on-board and transport from either Townsville or Magnetic Island.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$231.56
From
$231.56
Taking safety measures

Townsville Helicopter Tour

Townsville Helicopter Tour

Soar over the city landmarks and natural wonders of Townsville or Cleveland Bay on this exhilarating helicopter tour. Choose a 10-minute flight over the city and take in unrivalled views of Castle Hill, the beaches of the Strand and the lively Townsville Port. Alternatively, upgrade to a 30-minute flight and enjoy magnificent aerial views of Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island as you swoop over the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$301.27
From
$301.27
Taking safety measures