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5 Wildlife Encounters You Can’t Miss in Townsville North Queensland

5 Wildlife Encounters You Can’t Miss in Townsville North Queensland

5 Wildlife Encounters You Can’t Miss in Townsville North Queensland


03 January 2024

It's hard to leave Townsville North Queensland without at least one or two incredible wildlife encounters under your belt. Whether you're interested in the furry or the scaly, the ginormous to the cute and cuddly, discover 5 different wildlife encounters you just can’t miss on your next visit to Townsville North Queensland.

1. Swim alongside Spotted Eagle Rays, Maori Wrasses and more!

Townsville North Queensland is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, so it's not surprising that if you're looking for marine wildlife, you're going to encounter them here. For the divers among us, you can't go pass S.S. Yongala. One of the world's best dive sites, this shipwreck is home to fish, sharks, eels, rays, turtles and more - making it a pinnacle for marine wildlife encounters in Townsville North Queensland. Experience it yourself with Yongala Dive, departing from Ayr, or Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive departing from Townsville and Magnetic Island. Not a diver? That's cool - don a mask and snorkel and follow the Nelly Bay Snorkel Trail located just off the beach on Magnetic Island to spot many species of fish, green sea turtles and more! It's perfect for beginner snorkelers and those who like to stay closer to shore!

2. Spot a Koala in the Wild

We couldn't publish a list of Townsville wildlife encounters without including one of the most famous Australian animals. If you're looking for koalas in the wild, then Magnetic Island is your go-to spot for a koala encounter. There are over 800 wild koalas here and, in fact, this tropical island is actually the home of Northern Australia's largest colony of wild koalas. If you're looking for the best place to spot a koala in the wild on Magnetic Island then you'll want to save 2 hours for the Forts Walk. This 4km trek meanders through the woodland, with stunning views across the region and, your best chance of spotting a fury friend or two perched within the branches of a nearby tree.

No time to hike? No worries. You can still get up close and personal with koalas on Magnetic Island by making a booking at Selina's Breakfast with the Koalas - a truly unique koala experience.

3. Say Yee-Haw to the Texas Longhorns

Swap Australia for America for a day when visiting the Texas Longhorns. Located just outside of Charters Towers, say g'day (or 'howdy!') to some of the longest horned cattle in the world. Direct descendants from the famous Texas longhorn cattle of the late 1800s, be amazed by the sheer size of these steers - some with horns that span more than 250cm across! From safari to traditional wagon tours, you'll be able to view these majestic beasts from afar and up close. It sure is an animal encounter you won't experience every day!

4. Fantastic Birdwatching Opportunities

If you enjoy birdwatching, then we know just the place for you: Horseshoe Lagoon. Found just 30 minutes north of Ayr, Horseshoe Lagoon is known for being a haven for birdwatchers. Visit the especially made birdwatch hut where you can spend an afternoon ticking off jabiru, magpie geese, yellow-billed spoonbill and other iconic birds found in Australia. While you're in the area be sure to also stop at Groper Creek, an easy 45-minute drive south from Horseshoe Lagoon. Groper Creek is known, not only for its crabbing, fishing, and laidback atmosphere, but its surrounding wetlands which are home to many different breeds of bids. Just don't forget your camera and binoculars!

5. Get Up Close and Personal with Rock Wallabies at Geoffrey Bay

You might have to hold your 'Awww!'s in for this one for we're rounding off our 5 wildlife encounters with perhaps the cutest of the lot. Visit Geoffrey Bay to hang out with the truly adorable rock wallaby colony that calls Magnetic Island home. Known as the best spot on the island to encounter rock wallabies, increase your chances by visiting at sunrise or sunset. Just remember, that while it may be tempting, these wallabies are wild animals so admire them but please don't feed them.

Want to see it all in one place? Then be sure to visit Billabong Santuary to learn about wombats, pythons, crocodiles and more.

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