There’s nowhere quite like North Queensland. And Townsville is the perfect base from which to see it all: from the interior Golden Outback to the shore and beyond. Townsville is a direct access point to the Great Barrier Reef and all it has to offer. The area’s tropical climate gives rise to rainforest wonders while just miles away visitors can pan for gold in one of the Outback’s famed locations, Charters Towers. With a campervan hire in Townsville, no section of this great region is out of reach.
Located on Australia’s tropical north coast, Townsville is a modern city of roughly 200,000 residents, where visitors can enjoy outdoor adventures on land and sea.
Just off the coast of Townsville is the central section of the Great Barrier Reef, making it among the best destinations for the start of a snorkeling vacation that’s second to none. But what if you’re not the snorkeling type? What if you don’t even like to get in the water? Have no fear! There are plenty of ways to see the coral and marine wildlife without even getting your feet wet.
Settled in 1864 and declared a municipality in 1866, Townsville grew quickly. By 1891, its population had reached 13,000. Many settled in the region to farm and to work in the sugar industry.
Townsville was among the Australian cities that served as staging areas during World War II. American and Australian troops engaged in battles in the South West Pacific were quartered in Townsville. It is said that as many as 50,000 troops were stationed there during the war.
In recent times, Townsville has undergone a large amount of residential growth and its central business district is quite urban in feel. This is expected to continue. While Townsville is the administrative center for the North Queensland region, it is not a capital city.
There are so many things to do in Townsville that you’ll be able to spend your entire vacation in town, though you’d be wise to travel at least a short way to the outskirts to soak up the region’s full flavor.
Plan to spend time walking the city. There’s plenty to see, from the red granite Castle Hill to The Strand, a waterfront promenade offering beautiful views of the Coral Sea. The Riverway Complex features recreational facilities that are appropriate for all ages.
No trip to Townsville is complete without some exploration of the Great Barrier Reef. Diving and snorkeling tours abound, but if you’d rather not get wet, a stop at Reef HQ is a must. It’s the only place in the world where a living coral reef exists in captivity, which is a boon for those who want to stay on dry land. Other ways to see the reef include plane fly-overs and glass-bottom boat tours.
The Ross River, which flows through Townsville, is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, offering waterskiing, kayaking and fishing. Use the Ross River Bikeway to access the three-in-one Townsville Botanic Gardens, formed by the Palmetum, the Anderson Gardens in Mundingburra and the Queens Gardens in North Ward. The Palmetum gives visitors the chance to see one of the largest collections of palms in the world.
The Bindal and Wulgurukaba Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants and caretakers of the North Queensland area. Their stories and original artworks are on display at the Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre.
For adventures just outside the city, jump in your Townsville campervan hire and head to the Burdekin, an hour south of the city, where you can fish for barramundi and mud crabs. Get a taste of history while you’re there, since Burdekin has attained fame as Australia’s sugar capital. Ride across the Burdekin Bridge between Ayer and Home Hill.
Or hop on the ferry for a 20-minute ride out to Magnetic Island or drive west to explore Queensland’s Golden Outback, where you might hug a koala or touch a wombat when you stop at Billabong Sanctuary. Get a taste of the experiences of gold miners during the rush on Charters Towers, where you can pan for gold.
Willing to drive a little farther north? Be sure to stop at the Paluma Range National Park. You’ll see birds, butterflies and other native wildlife at this beautiful park that is surrounded by rainforest.
Townsville enjoys sun on as many as 320 days per year. December is the warmest month of the year with daily average highs and lows of 88 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. July is coldest, with highs and lows averaging 7 and 56 degrees, respectively.
The rainy season runs from November through April (summer), when most of the area’s 45-inch average rainfall falls on 91 “rain days.” It is one of only two seasons in this tropical paradise. The other is the dry season, which runs from May to October (winter).
Townsville’s climate is classified as tropical savanna.
A healthy variety of sites featuring hookups for campervans is available in the Townsville area.
They include 10 national parks, as well as private parks.
The state parks are: Blencoe Falls, Girringun National Park; Dalrymple National Park; Girramay National Park; Jourama Falls, Paluma Range National Park; Mount Spec, Paluma Range National Park; Murray Falls, Girramay National Park; Porcupine Gorge National Park; Wallaman Falls, Girramay National Park; White Mountains National Park; and Broadwater, Abergowrie State Forest.
Check with the individual park for availability and possible limitations on camping during specific months or seasons.
Campervan & Motorhome Rental Locations in Townsville