9 global destination doppelgangers found here in Townsville North Queensland
26 September 2022
The world is full of amazing faraway places and striking holiday pictures that are magnetic to people seeking a different experience. Peru, Costa Rica, Bahamas… just reading the names evokes holiday allure. But unbeknown to many, Townsville North Queensland is home to many equally - if not more stunning - natural wonders that is sure to make you do a double-take! Overseas holiday? Nah mate - it's here in Townsville North Queensland.
Unexpected spaces. New ways of looking at the world, Connecting with it and yourself as a result.
That’s the magnetic allure of travel.
Fresh perspectives. New lived experiences. Moments that become memories. The stories you take home as souvenirs. Pictures you got to put yourself into. Travel is the serendipitous part of life’s journey that ignites the free-spirited explorer within you. It’s the stuff of bucket lists, travel blogs, effusive yarns and Instagram hashtags.
WHERE WILL IT TAKE YOU NEXT?
PERU, COSTA RICA, BAHAMAS?
NAH MATE! IT'S TOWNSVILLE NORTH QUEENSLAND
1. Amazon? Nah mate - hinchinbrook channel and hinchinbrook Island
A wild comparison in every sense! This doppelganger duo is the epitome of raw nature. While Amazon takes claim to housing at least 10% of the world's known biodiversity, our very own Hinchinbrook Channel and Hinchinbrook Island are natural contenders in their own right. The Hinchinbrook Channel is one of Australia's Nationally (DIWA) and internationally important wetlands containing representative, rare or unique wetlands, or wetlands that are important for conserving biological diversity. Covering an area of over 152km², the wetlands are home to estuarine and coastal species including green turtles, dugong and saltwater crocodiles. Venturing a little further will have you step foot on the Jurassic set of Hinchinbrook Island - the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park's largest national park island. Traditional homelands of the Bandjin and Girramay people, this place is known as Munamudanamy. The island’s cloud-covered mountains support fragile heath vegetation. Rainforest and eucalypt forest descend to a mangrove-lined channel in the west with bays, beaches and rocky headlands along the east coast. Hinchinbrook Island is also home to one of the top multi-day hikes - the Thorsborne Trail.
How to visit: take a recreational vessel, or enjoy a guided day tour with Wild Hinchinbrook Adventures.
2. BALTIMORE? NAH MATE... TOWNSVILLE CITY
If art is what gets you up in the morning, and your travels take you down urban laneways to seek new styles, then there's no need to jump on a plane to indulge in this form of street art culture... you'll be surprised to find vibrant musings on many buildings throughout Townsville's city centre! While Baltimore reigns supreme on the US street art scene - with many murals and the famous Graffiti Alley - you'll be pleasantly entranced by art at every turn on the self-guided street art trail right here in Townsville. From local talents - including Indigenous artist Nicky Bidju Pryor, to internationally-renowned artists - including Belgium's ROA and French artist Mantra - take a stroll to immerse in the arts. Watch out for augmented reality stickers near the street art murals and use your smartphone to transform the artworks into a augmented reality dreamscape!
How to visit: Download your own 'Street Art Trail' map to discover your next artistic adventure!
3. CAPE TOWN? NAH MATE... TOWNSVILLE CITY
Do not adjust the screen settings...we promise you aren't seeing double! But how incredible are the similarities of these two cities... we think they could be the dictionary definition of doppelganger, don't you think? Even the tourism description of Cape Town (pictured left) could be used to describe many of the characteristics of Townsville - a modern, cosmopolitan city surrounded by nature. Centred around Table Mountain [insert Castle Hill], the city is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning biodiversity, award-winning food and wine, and sheer variety of experiences on offer. But forget the long-haul flight across the globe for this wonderous mix of urban x nature - it's all right here in Townsville North Queensland.
Dubbed the events capital of the North, the city lays claim to hosting major events in the city's new Queensland Country Bank Stadium (architecturally modelled off the local pandanus palm), nestled along the meandering Ross Creek and into the city centre. Enjoy a vibrant dining and bar scene here with three chef-hatted restaurants and an eclectic mix of street-style eateries. Refreshing brews await at the Townsville Brewery or Tiny Mountain Brewery, or for something different, tantalize the taste buds at the Osk Cocktail Bar or Buzuka.
4. COSTA RICA? NAH MATE... MAGNETIC ISLAND
Golden beaches, turquoise waters, rugged mountain ranges - the makings of the perfect holiday! And better yet, the travel times to our own Costa Rica is only 20-minutes from Townsville city - to Magnetic Island. The similarities are striking between this pair, and what's more - our local comparison finds an equal in an award winner - with this Costa Rica beauty (Playa Conchal) voted 'best beach in the world' by Big 7 Travel publication's 'The 50 Best Beaches in the World'.
Magnetic Island is beach-goers dream, with 23 beaches and bays to choose from, each boasting unique charm and seclusion. With over 75% of the island protected as National Park, the natural environment of palm-fringed beaches, large granite boulders, hoop pines and fringing coral reefs makes Magnetic Island is an island paradise of endless sunshine to do as little or as much as you want. To top it off - this island is also home to Northern Australia's largest population of wild koalas - making wildlife encounters almost a guaranteed experience!
How to visit: Jump aboard a Sealink Queensland passenger ferry for your quick 20-minute connection, or take your own vehicle to discover more of the island, onboard Magnetic Island Ferries car barge or passenger ferry.
5. FIJI? NAH MATE.... MAGNETIC ISLAND
It's all in the angle - and we don't think there is a bad angle of our beachy backyard. But when you can do a double-take with international favourites like Fiji - we think these snaps are too good not to share! We weren't kidding when we said you would be spoiled for choice for a beach adventure, when this island gem is only 20-minutes from Townsville city, we think Magnetic Island can rival any worldly beach destination. This particularly fine example is Radical Bay - one of the more remote bays on the island, that you can only visit by walking in on-foot, or arriving by boat. There are many wonderous ways to explore Magnetic Island. Here are a few of our favourites:
By sea: Being an island, this has to be at the top of the list. Of course, having made your way by ferry, you would have seen this boulderous palm-fringed spectacle from the sea, but there are even more ways to enjoy the coral-fringed shores! For an educational experience, you can't go past Aquascene Charters - ranked #7 in the Best of the Best TripAdvisor experiences in the world. The Master Reef Guides on board, will have you exploring secluded bays to meet the marine life and learn about the importance of caring for this special aquatic environment. However, if you would prefer a more refined view of the world - we recommend a sunset cruise with either Big Mama Sailing or Pilgrim Sailing - both stunning yacht vessels to soak in the watercolour skies that dance above the island's horizon each evening.
On foot: The National Park trails on the island are ripe for discovery, so lace up those boots, and get to adventuring! One of the most popular tracks is the Forts Walk - a meandering 4km return walk that will take you to the top of the island - and greet you with 360 views, military fortifications, and is also a favourite for the island's resident koala population. Check them all out here.
From above: To get the best seat in the house, you really need to go up in the world - and we mean way up! A scenic heli-flight with Townsville Helicopters or Nautilus Aviation gives you a birds-eye view of this island paradise, to witness its natural beauty in all its glory. Transfers are also available with these operators, if you want to arrange a rockstar arrival to kick-start your holiday.
6. MEXICO? NAH MATE... YONGALA SHIPWRECK
This ancient mariner would have to be better than any TripAdvisor review, with repeat visits to their favourite reef destinations right around the globe. And to the untrained marine science eye - a reef could mistaken for any other - but this well-travelled turtle doesn't make the journey to just any collection of coral; only to some of the world's best diving destinations! Of avid divers have their 'bucket list dives' and Mexico (pictured right) features quite frequently on this list, but for the ultimate shipwreck dive - you can't pass up (or rather down) a journey to the SS Yongala Shipwreck, off the coast of the Burdekin in Townsville North Queensland. The 100+ year-old shipwreck is ranked as one of the top 10 wreck dives in the world, and renowned for its mega marine fauna that frequent this -30m artificial reef oasis.
If diving is a must-do on your holiday adventure list, then add this and others to the list, with Townsville also located in the Central Section of the Great Barrier Reef, and home to the Southern Hemisphere's first underwater museum - the Coral Greenhouse!
How to visit: Take a guided tour to experiences these underwater wonders - from Alva Beach with Yongala Dive, from Townsville/Magnetic Island with Adrenalin Snorkel & Dive or from Magnetic Island with Pro Dive.
7. PERU? NAH MATE... WALLAMAN FALLS
Oh-wow, water are we looking at here? Doppelganger cliff hanger moment! Each of these stunning natural wonders hold claim to being the 'tallest' in different categories. And while you'll have to travel quite a way to get to Peru (pictured right) for one of the world's tallest waterfalls (Gocta Falls), Australia's tallest waterfall - Wallaman Falls - is just a 2-hour drive from Townsville, and stands at a staggering 268m (that's 5x higher than Niagara Falls). The highest, permanent, single-drop waterfall in Australia, Wallaman Falls is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and home to some of the oldest rainforests on earth!
Not only is the waterfall itself a jaw-dropper, its National Park surroundings boasts spectacular scenery and an array of plant and animal life, so go on - take a hike (and we mean that in the nicest possible way!) on one of the two short walks, each named in the language of the Traditional Owners - the Warrgamaygan People.
Banggurru walk - 800m return - The Banggurru (pronounced 'Bun-gu-roo' and meaning turtle) walk provides an opportunity for the whole family to experience some of the beauty of the Wet Tropics World Heritage rainforest along the banks of Stony Creek. Be sure to spend a moment peering into the rock pools—you could be rewarded with a glimpse of a playtpus, or hear the plop of a water dragon seeking refuge in the creek. Saw-shelled turtles can also be seen basking on logs or peeking through the surface of the water.
Djyinda walk - 3.2km return - The Djyinda (pronounced 'Yin-da' and meaning falls) walk begins 300m from Wallaman Falls lookout and ends at the base of the falls. The track weaves through open forest along the escarpment and offers amazing views of the Herbert River Valley. As the track goes into the gorge, open forest gives way to vine-thicket rainforest. At the base of the falls look up, the mist from the falls creates a rainbow of colour. Be prepared for a steep descent and ascent on unstable surfaces. A moderate level of fitness is required.
8. SEYCHELLES? NAH MATE... MAGNETIC ISLAND
When she sells Seychelles by the seashore, we think the best view would be from our own doppelganger double - Magnetic Island. We know this island paradise has made the list a few times, but with some many wonderful locations on this island, we had to share another!
9. TEXAS? NAH MATE.... CHARTERS TOWERS
Moooove over Texas - we think everything is bigger in North Queensland! And even these bovines agree that 'The World' (nowadays known as Charters Towers) is the best way to experience the vastness of the Australian Outback - and better yet, it's only a 90-minute drive from Townsville.
Be you a 'paddock art' aficionado, or lover of all things Cowboy, Charters Towers should be on your list for this and so much more! Steeped in military and mining history, this country town held claim to being the second largest township in Queensland during the Gold Rush era, and become affectionately known as 'The World'. With many of the architecture features of yesteryear standing proud in the town's main street, and country charm to boot - discovering the laidback casual ambience of Charters Towers will astound you.
How to visit: To meet these Texas Longhorn beauties for yourself, take a Texas Longhorn Tour or safari - complete with a traditional Aussie smoko of Aussie Billy Tea or Campfire Cowboy Coffee.