Planning a tropical weekend break? Try Townsville

This North Queensland destination offers the best of both worlds - city and tropics.
Bike rider on The Stand promenade in Townsville, Queensland.

If you’re wondering whether it is worth visiting Townsville in North Queensland, wonder no more. Townsville combines the relaxation of a tropical getaway with the convenience of a city stay, boasting sunny weather for more than 320 days every year. It’s a summer holiday any time of year!

Here are the best things to do during a trip to Townsville.

Walk along The Strand

View of the beach from The Strand, Townsville

A paved 2.2km promenade meanders along the beachfront facing Magnetic Island, with cafes and restaurants dotted along it. There are parks and picnic areas for families – including Strand Water Park, perfect for young ones – and two enclosed ocean pools where you can swim during stinger season. If you’re game, hop on an e-scooter and zoom along the walkway to Jezzine Barracks at Kissing Point, a coastal parkland showcasing the Indigenous Bindal and Wulgurukaba, and the military history of the area. 

Catch the sunset at sea 

Woman on a sailboat at sunset.

Treat yourself to something special and watch the sunset from the water. Operators such as Big Mama Sailing offer sunset sails from Townsville out towards Magnetic Island. The rock and sway of the boat makes for moments of serenity as you watch the sun slip below the horizon and paint the endless sky in pinks, purples and oranges. And if boats aren’t your thing, sunsets are equally breathtaking from along The Strand, especially near Strand Park, where you can also check out the 4m-tall, illuminated sculpture Ocean Siren, part of the Great Barrier Reef’s Museum of Underwater Art.

Go on a day trip to Magnetic Island 

Aerial shot of a beach on Magnetic Island, Townsville.

Catch the Magnetic Island Ferry to Magnetic Island, or ‘Maggie’ as the locals call it. Its ragged topography is home to plenty of native Australian wildlife. Swim or snorkel in the tempting blue waters of the bays or immerse yourself in the beauty of nature on a bushwalk. The most memorable is The Forts Walk. The view at the peak is spectacular – rocky peaks and lush vegetation cascade down to the sparkling sea – and you may even see a wild koala or two. 

Shop at the local Cotters Market

Every Sunday morning, Cotters Market takes over Flinders Street in the centre of the CBD. Local vendors sell everything from jewellery and clothes to hand-crafted wooden creations and homewares. There are baked goods and honeys and jams to buy, as well as a large farmers’ market stall selling fresh fruit and vegetables.  

Sun protection: The UV index stays high in Townsville throughout the year, so wear sunscreen and sun protection, including a hat and sunglasses, even during winter.

Beach safety: Stinger season is between November and May. During these months, only swim in areas enclosed with stinger nets.

Need to know:

Related stories