Explore the great outdoors

If epic views and awe-inspiring landscapes feature on your must do holiday list, then Townsville North Queensland’s nature experiences are sure to impress. Hear the roar of water rushing from Australia’s largest sheer drop waterfall, dive into a magical underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef or explore one of the many hiking or mountain biking trails the region has on offer.

Nature lovers be sure to tick these 7 natural wonders from your holiday checklist.

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Alva Beach

Alva is a relaxed Burdekin location, 15 minutes drive from Ayr. Holiday houses and permanent residences fill the township, with Alva Beach a short stroll over the sand dune. A lookout area is located to the right as you enter the township. At low tide Alva Beach makes for excellent exploring, with lots of small crabs, shells and birdlife. Outer sand bars create inshore lagoon areas popular with kite surfers on weekends. The beach is also popular for fishing, with many anglers bringing in decent catches to show off. On weekends during summer, the beach is patrolled by members of the Ayr Surf Life Saving Club. Located here since 1926, the club is one of North Queensland's oldest surf clubs. Care needs to be taken if swimming, due to changeable conditions and marine stingers. Alva's Yongala Dive operates a Dive Shop and accommodation, specialising in PADI dive courses, with day trips out to the SS Yongala wreck. This world renowned dive is one of the best on the Great Barrier Reef. Alva Beach Tourist Park has a kiosk. If you're spending the day at Alva, bring a picnic or barbecue lunch to enjoy in the park near the surf club.

Arcadia at Magnetic Island

Arcadia is perfectly situated in the smallest of the four main bays on Magnetic Island, and is surrounded by the prominent Alma Bay and Geoffrey Bay. Geoffrey Bay is a Marine National Park Zone - which means no fishing or collecting - but is great for exploring during low tide. The old barge jetty is a great spot for feeding rock wallabies at dusk. Alma Bay is a very popular swimming spot for local and visitors alike. The Arcadian Life Saving Club patrols the beach on weekends and public holidays. Public amenities include a gas barbecue, picnic tables, shaded children's playground, changing areas and toilets. Alma Bay is famous for its ANZAC Day Commemorations. Real-life soldiers from the Thirty-Fifth Field Squadron (Reservist Engineers) annually re-enact the events that took place and make a dawn landing right on the beach.

Balgal Beach

Balgal Beach forms part of the popular Northern Beaches district of Townsville North Queensland. Offering a superb sand beach and secure swimming in the stinger net from November to May, Balgal is ideal for a relaxing day by the ocean or a fun way to spend time with the whole family. The area is also a renowned river fishing location. For those wishing to explore deeper and head out to the Great Barrier Reef, Balgal Beach provides excellent boat ramp facilities and easy access to the spectacular Palm Island group. There are a number of licensed cafe and accommodation available in the area including holiday units and designated tent camping and vehicle camping areas.

Broadwater, Abergowrie State Forest

In the scenic Herbert River Valley, Abergowrie State Forest features tropical rainforest, open eucalypt forest and exotic pine plantations adjacent to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Broadwater is a large grassy clearing, shaded by tall eucalypts, beside a cool waters of Broadwater Creek. Set up camp beside the creek and relax in the peaceful surrounds. Book camping well in advance for holiday periods. Stroll along the 1.6 kilometre return Rainforest walk through endangered riparian rainforest and check out the huge old Broadwater fig. Try the longer three kilometre return Creek walk through eucalypt and riparian forest to the delightful pools along Broadwater Creek. Cool off with a swim in the pools in the creek. Birdwatch in the rainforest and look for wallabies in the open forest in the afternoons. Image credits: Qld Govt

Bushland Beach

Bushland Beach is part of the Northern Beaches area of Townsville, located 25 minutes drive from Townsville's central business district. Access to Bushland Beach is via a turnoff along the Bruce Highway. This beautiful stretch of beach is a suburban area with visitor accommodation and facilities available. Fishing, swimming and water activities permitted. At low tide, an old wooden shipwreck is uncovered. The beach is well serviced with a resort, barbecue facilities, playgrounds and a boat ramp.

Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park

Cape Pallarenda was a quarantine station in the early 1900s and a strategic defence location in World War II. Nestled in a scenic coastal location amongst open woodland and vine thickets, the historic quarantine station, established in 1915, was initially used to quarantine passengers on incoming ships. During World War II the area became a strategic defence location. Concrete structures were built on the headland in 1943 to protect Townsville and the harbour from raiding enemy ships. American and Australian armies set up camps on nearby beaches and used the Quarantine Station as a hospital. Spend time in the station's historic display centre to find out more about the quarantine days. Then set off on foot or by mountain bike to explore the shared Cape Pallarenda Trails to enjoy scenic coastal views and discover the historic World War II structures on Cape Pallarenda headland. Choose from short strolls to longer hikes or rides around the slopes of Many Peak Range. Explore picturesque beaches and forested slopes of Many Peak Range. Enjoy a picnic on the foreshore. Look for wallabies, lizards and many kinds of birds in the woodland.

Castle Hill

Just metres short of a mountain, Castle Hill is the giant pink granite monolith that stands proud in the centre of Townsville - a perfect place for visitors to orientate themselves. As well as offering vehicle access, Castle Hill provides a number of popular walking tracks, which are frequented by more than 2,500 locals a day! The 360-degree views of Townsville at the top are well worth the journey. Be sure to have a camera on hand, particularly for sunrise or sunset as these are photo opportunities which shouldn't be missed. As well as offering an iconic centre piece for the city and spectacular scenic views, Castle Hill has a significant history. The Hill's vantage was used by visiting American soldiers during World War II. According to local legend, the visitors famously offered to demolish the hill and use the rock to build a bridge to Magnetic Island. A World War II observation bunker sits on one corner of the Hill reminding visitors of Castle Hill's military history. Castle Hill facilities include car parking, public amenities, drink fountains and shaded seating to enjoy while taking in some of the best views of the city and across to Magnetic Island.

Dalrymple National Park

Ancient lava flows, fossilised limestone and the Burdekin River, the largest river in Queensland, are features of this park in the Charters Towers area. Mount Keelbottom rises 130 metres above the surrounding plain and part of the old Dalrymple township site can be found in the park. It was one of the first inland settlements in northern Australia and has links with the discovery of gold in the area in the mid-1800s. Parts of the township are privately owned. Please respect private property signs. In the dry season, bush camp along the sandy edges of the Burdekin River. Explore the undeveloped walking trails that follow the river and Fletcher Creek, and discover basalt flows and a peaceful riverside setting. Longer hikes to Mount Keelbottom should only be undertaken by well-equipped and experienced walkers. Watch waterbirds from the river's edge. Ride trail-bikes and mountain bikes on the internal roads through the park.

Fishing at Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is an angler's dream with a catch virtually guaranteed! Sit back, throw in a line and enjoy the rush of reeling in your latest bite. What a catch it can be; 22-pound Coral Trout and 44-pound Spanish Mackerel are among the trophies happy fishermen have taken home. If you want to gain some local insight, take a fishing tour. This is also a great option to explore areas only accessible by boat. Alternatively, head to one of the local stores and grab some fresh bait to try your luck at one of the beaches, rocky points and inshore waters. In these spots you are likely to discover bream, flathead, whiting, queen fish and trevally; not to mention the incredible beach views and rocky settings the environment offers. Head to Nobby Head, the rocks of Bright Point or the Picnic Bay Jetty for some of the best fishing locations. If you have a boat some of the best fishing spots around Magnetic Island include Middle Reef, West Point, Orchard Rocks and Palmosa and Argonant wrecks near Horseshoe Bay. Boats are available for hire if required and boat ramps are located in Picnic, Nelly and Horseshoe Bays.

Fishing on Hinchinbrook Island

Discover an island with a Jurassic outlook which abounds in flora, fauna, palm fringed beaches and extensive mangrove lined waterways. Hinchinbrook Island offers extensive flats and channel systems which are home to many prime tropical sportfish. This region boasts one of the few places in Australia where that much prized fly fishing adversary, the Permit (Snub Nosed Dart), can be targeted with some level of anticipation. Fishing with the majestic backdrop of Hinchinbrook Island is spectacular enough, but to be able to target good quality sportfish including barramundi, mangrove jacks, trevally, queenfish, salmon, fingermark, grunter and cod, makes this a fishing experience you'll never forget. Due to the magnificent mangrove environment, relative isolation in comparison to waters closer to Cairns and the lack of fishing pressure, this region is renowned for producing quality sportfish that are of a better average size than more heavily fished locations. The surrounding areas of Lucinda and Cardwell also offer great land based fishing with Duncan Wharf, Lucinda Wharf, Taylor's and Forrest Beaches being popular hot spots.

Forrest Beach

Escape life's hustle and bustle and spend some time relaxing on Forrest Beach. Enjoy the long sandy beach front which overlooks Orpheus Island and the Palm Island group, or take a swim in the patrolled beach which also features stinger net protection during the summer months. Forrest Beach has a hotel/motel, caravan park and self-contained units. There are a small number of shops where essential items can be purchased.

Groper Creek

Groper Creek is a laidback location, where you can sit back, relax and unwind. You can launch your tinnie from the boat ramp, or fish from the jetty. The area is well known for its fantastic fishing and crabbing. Groper Creek is located towards the mouth of the Burdekin River about 15 kilometres from Home Hill. Head out along Groper Creek Road and you'll travel past sugar cane farms, and through a wetland area full of birds and wildlife. Have a look around the Groper Creek settlement, at the huts built high on stumps. The kiosk and the public phone box are also up high. Bring your camera, as these buildings have their own personality! With the caravan park on the banks of the creek, if you decide to stay longer, check in, set yourself up and enjoy the surroundings.

Historic Shipwreck Dive Guide - Gothenburg

The Gothenburg was bound from Port Darwin to Melbourne via Newcastle with 128 passengers, mail and general cargo. On 23 February 1875 during a storm and high seas, the Gothenburg ran aground on the southern edge of a detached reef, off the entrance to Flinders Channel, near Townsville. The ship's four lifeboats were lowered; however the first two accidentally came adrift and were swept away before passengers could board. A third boat with women and children capsized when others panicked and tried to board. By morning only the masts of the steamer could be seen above the water. Twenty-two passengers were rescued but 106 lives were lost including all 25 women and children and all the officers on board. Shipwreck features include: boilers, deck beams, engines, iron tanks and a winch. The wreck is a habitat for a variety of marine life. A dive guide for the Gothenburg can be downloaded from the Queensland Government website. The Gothenburg is in a protected zone and requires a free permit to dive. The protected zone helps to protect the shipwreck, and its associated relics, from interference and damage. Apply for a permit online at the website listed.

Horseshoe Bay

Horseshoe Bay is the premier location for watersports on Magnetic Island offering activities to excite the whole family. Along the shores of Horseshoe Bay is an array of equipment hire options including jet skis, kayaks, stand up paddle boards and more! The Bay also provides a great swimming enclosure as well as fantastic fishing and sailing opportunities, along with a shady foreshore with magnificent views across the rocky outcrops and blue ocean waters. If you are looking for a new way to explore the Island, why not consider a horseback ride from the bush to the beach. Swim with your horse in the cool clear waters of the Coral Sea and create a memory that will last a lifetime. After getting out on the water, sit back and relax at one of Horseshoe Bay's restaurants, cafes or bars. The selection of shops and eateries along the Horseshoe Bay beachfront is an ideal location for a meal with an ocean view. Alternatively pack a picnic and make use of the sheltered picnic tables while the kids enjoy the nearby playground facilities.

Inkerman Hill

Inkerman Hill, a 10 minute drive south of the township of Home Hill, is currently undergoing an upgrade! With funding received through the Queensland Government's Scenic Lookout Upgrade Program, the Burdekin Shire Council is busy working to bring their valued visitors a more enjoyable experience. The road up to the lookout is being widened and the carpark improved. With a new lookout platform, shelters, toilets, interpretive and directional signage, it will be worth the wait. Although access to Inkerman Hill is not possible at the moment, when the facility is officially re-opened towards the end of 2017, it will be at the top of the to-do list when visiting the region.

Jourama Falls, Paluma Range National Park

A picturesque waterfall on Waterview Creek, lush rainforest and fragrant woodlands are nestled in the foothills of the Seaview Range and protected as part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Set up camp beside Waterview Creek and head off along the Jourama Falls track to the lookout over the awe-inspiring falls. Explore the creek on the return leg and slip into the clear water to cool off before returning to camp. If just visiting for the day, set up in the shade in the picnic area and enjoy a barbecue lunch before heading off to explore the park.

Keeper Reef Dive Site

Located off Townsville, Keeper Reef offers a wonderful dive for those that love to explore healthy coral gardens. It is easy to get lost at this dive site as the coral gardens are divided by ridges and bommies, creating a coral maze. Some of the best corals at Keeper Reef are the beautiful gorgonians and spikey soft corals. Going no deeper than 16 metres divers will see schools of fusiliers, coral trout, rabbitfish, batfish, turtles, whitetip reef sharks, sweetlips and barramundi cod. There are also plenty of ledges to investigate, which are home to crayfish, rock cods, squirrelfish and shrimps.

Lake Paluma

Lake Paluma is an attractive lake surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest. It provides a water supply for approximately one third of the year. Access is via a 12 kilometres gravel road just past the Paluma township. There are weather proof shelters for day use with barbecues and camping sites for longer stays. All rubbish taken in must be removed, and no domestic animals are allowed. Swimming and non-motorised vessels are allowed. If you are lucky you may see a platypus, peregrine falcon or eastern water dragon. Due to the popularity of Lake Paluma as a camping destination, there are a limited number of camp sites available and you must pre-book a permit.

Lodestone Reef

Lodestone Reef is a popular dive site off Townsville visited by day boats that both snorkelers and divers will enjoy. This lovely reef has pretty hard coral gardens in the shallows that are overflowing with reef fish. This is a good location to see anemonefish, butterflyfish, angelfish and blue tangs. If you can look pass all the colourful fish you will also see octopus, nudibranchs, sea stars and many other invertebrate species. In deeper water at Lodestone Reef are coral canyons and bommies to explore in depths to 25 metres. In this area are wonderful soft corals, gorgonians and sea whips, plus larger reef residents like reef sharks, stingrays, sweetlips, gropers, trevally, barracuda and the occasional turtle.

Lucinda

Directly opposite the southern tip of World Heritage listed Hinchinbrook Island is the sleepy seaside hamlet of Lucinda. The eye-popping pride of Lucinda is a six kilometre jetty stretching far out into the Coral Sea. The jetty is the world's largest bulk sugar loading facility and is so long it actually curves with the earth. When conditions are right, you can sometimes see the dugongs and sea turtles at play. With the fertile Hinchinbrook Channel to the north and Coral Sea to the east, Lucinda is Shangri-La for keen anglers. Mangrove jack, coral trout, big juicy mud crabs and the fighting barramundi are all in plentiful supply. Hire a boat and head out to sea or try your luck in the estuary, mangroves, off the beach, or over the side of the jetty. Looming large off the coast, breathtaking Hinchinbrook Island is a pristine natural wilderness, home to the famous Thorsborne Trail, internationally rated one of the top 10 walks on the planet. From Lucinda you can embark on a Hinchinbrook safari and explore the Island's mist-shrouded mountains, waterfalls and freshwater pools. Accommodation in the area includes motels, hotels, caravans and self-contained cabins.

Magnetic Island Dive Site

Magnetic Island is a popular destination off Townsville for day trips or an extended stay. The island has many sheltered bays that are great to snorkel or dive, as they have a surprising amount of coral and some great marine life. Florence Bay, Arthur Bay, Alma Bay, Nelly Bay and Geoffrey Bay are all popular dive sites with a good variety of hard and soft corals in depths to 10 metres. The coral gardens in these bays are home to a wide range of reef fish and also a good place to see stingrays, crayfish, moray eels, nudibranchs, wobbegong sharks and the occasional epaulette shark. In Geoffrey Bay divers can also explore the wreck of the Moltke, a 50 metre long three-mast barque scuttled in 1911. The wreck rests in 8 metres, 100 metres off the beach, and is covered in corals and fish.

Magnetic Island National Park

Rocky granite headlands and towering hoop pines stand sentinel over tranquil sandy bays on this rugged, mountainous island covered with open eucalypt woodlands and surrounded by coral reefs. The island is easily accessible from Townsville and is noted for its abundant wildlife and varied history. Explore Magnetic Island's most picturesque spots via a 36 kilometre network of walking tracks. Look for koalas, rock-wallabies, possums and a variety of birds. Swim or snorkel in secluded sandy bays and explore diverse reef and fish life. Discover the island's rich cultural heritage. Learn about the Wulgurukaba Aboriginal people's strong island connections. Visit historic sites linked to World War II.

Mount Elliot, Bowling Green Bay National Park

Rugged mountains rise abruptly from the wetlands, saltpans and mangroves of the coastal plain, south of Townsville, in the Mount Eliot section of Bowling Green Bay National Park. Mount Elliot reaches a height of 1,210 metres, jutting out of the surrounding coastal plain and dominating the landscape, and Alligator Creek descends in a series of cascades, deep pools and waterfalls. The park's wetlands are an important habitat for migratory wading birds. Camp amongst the gum trees at Alligator Creek camping area. Go birdwatching near the wetlands. Look for wallabies in the later afternoon and spotlight for possums around the camping area at night. Enjoy a short stroll along the boardwalk through riparian vegetation to the creek or tackle the 17 kilometre return Alligator Falls track. Have a picnic by the picturesque Alligator Creek. Take care near the creek as water levels can rise rapidly.

Mount Fox

Located south-west of Ingham, Mount Fox was created by a violent volcanic explosion about 100000 years ago. In the explosion, a lava flow 10 metres thick spewed from the southern end of the crater and chunks of molten magma were thrown out of the volcano's vent. Today, the well formed crater, about 10 metres deep, is covered with sparse grasses and stunted trees amongst the eucalypt woodland environment. The pink and long-fruited bloodwoods are common in this area and vine thicket is found in a steep gully on the southern slopes. Mount Fox's tussock grass slopes shelter a number of small animals. On a cool day in the winter months, skinks and other reptiles can be seen basking on the volcanic bombs. During the hot summer months, the grass provides protection from the sun and are ideal nesting places for ground-dwelling birds like the little button quail. After sunset, rufous bettongs (small wallaby-type mammals) emerge to feed on herbs and grasses. The large wing span of a wedge-tailed eagle can also be seen, as this bird of prey soars above the Mount Fox crater.

Mount Spec, Paluma Range National Park

Paluma Range National Park, the southern gateway for the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Mount Spec straddles the summit and escarpment of the Paluma Range, rising 1,000 metres above the Big Crystal Creek floodplain. The upland rainforests are crisscrossed by a maze of streams and cascades. Open eucalypt forests dominate the lower slopes and casuarinas fringe the clear creeks. Set up camp at Big Crystal Creek and explore the surrounding tracks and waterways. Take in the views from McClellands lookout, and admire the 1930s stone bridge over Little Crystal Creek. Escape he summer heat by picnicking near the creek before slipping into the one of the many cool waterholes.

Nelly Bay

A holiday on Magnetic Island is likely to start on Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island's main residential bay. Nelly Bay is the first point of access for the passenger and car ferries and is an easy location to access bus transfers, taxis, hire vehicles or jump on board a guided tour. Most of the Magnetic Island's shopping and amenities are located in Nelly Bay, and it's also a great place to go for that early morning run or a leisurely walk. It is a fantastic spot to go swimming or snorkelling on the fringing coral reef. Towards the northern end of the beach, you will find a children's playground and a coin-operated barbecue area and, further along, sheltered picnic tables and toilets.

Paluma and Crystal Creek Rainforest

Embrace the natural beauty of the Paluma Range National Park, the southern gateway to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Here you can escape the coastal lowland heat and relax in the cool mountain air of the Paluma Range. Experience the thrill of spotting the rare golden bowerbird, and take a step back in history at Paluma village. Enjoy a rainforest walk and marvel at the breathtaking views from McClellands Lookout. Along the Paluma Range highway you'll come across Little Crystal Creek and Big Crystal Creek, both ideal locations to stop for a picnic lunch, swim, bushwalk, barbecue or pitch a tent and spend the night in the designated camping areas (permit required). Big Crystal Creek, features a large swimming hole and a large picnic area. Little Crystal Creek is well known for its historic stone arch bridge built in the 1930s and the cascading waterfalls which feed into one of the best freshwater swimming holes in the north. Past the Paluma village the diversity of flora and fauna changes dramatically as you enter the dry open woodlands. The small township of Hidden Valley is home to Hidden Valley Cabins, an eco-retreat offering home cooked meals and daily platypus tours.

Pelorus and Orpheus Islands

Pelorus and Orpheus Islands are a popular location for day trips off Townsville. Part of the Palm Island Group, 80 kilometres north of Townsville, access to these continental island is from Lucinda. All around Pelorus and Orpheus Islands are rocky reefs covered in hard coral, soft coral, gorgonians and sea whips in depths from 12 metres to 25 metres. The coral coverage on these sites is surprisingly good, considering how close these islands are to the mainland. Popular dive sites around the islands include Bat Caves, The Maze, Moon Pools, Trenches and Black Coral Wall. At these sites divers can explore ledges, gutters, bommies and walls. Typical marine life in the area includes turtles, reef sharks, gropers, barramundi cod, batfish, stingrays and a good range of reef fish and invertebrates.

Pelorus Island

Pelorus Island, located 800 metres north of Orpheus Island in the Palms Island group, is an untouched, pristine environment accessible by private boat or on a dive tour. Pelorus Island offers spectacular fringing reefs accessible straight off the beach, which make for a remarkable snorkel or dive experience on the Great Barrier Reef. For outdoor explorers camping is permitted on Pelorus Island, however all equipment must be carried with you as there is no access to fresh water and camping facilities are not available. No permit is required.

Picnic Bay

With a sweeping beach, tranquil setting and the iconic jetty, Picnic Bay on Magnetic Island is a spectacular location to enjoy a relaxing swim, beachside dining or a spot of fishing on the jetty. Snorkel and explore the abundant marine life of Picnic Bay or see what you can spot from above while taking a stroll along the jetty. If you are lucky, you might spot a turtle or a shy dugong. With a number of shopping, dining and accommodation options, Picnic Bay is well suited to meet everyone's holiday desires and budgets. Enjoy a meal along the beachfront at one of the dining outlets or pack a picnic and find a shady spot to take in the picturesque views! Picnic Bay is also home to Magnetic Island's only golf course. With breathtaking views and curious wildlife including koalas, wallabies and birdlife, a game of golf on Magnetic Island will be one you never forget. The two bays either side of Picnic Bay are well worth visiting. Cockle Bay is where you will find the wrecked City Of Adelaide, and Rocky Bay is a local hot spot for sun-lovers and one of the Island's top beaches for swimming and snorkelling.

Pipers Lookout

Embrace magnificent views of vast blue skies and boundless green scenery from Pipers Lookout. Travel up Hervey Range Road from Thuringowa Central, past the suburbs of Rangewood and Rupertswood to find Piper's Lookout near the top of the Range. You will be rewarded with stunning views over the bushland below Hervey Range and out to the ocean.

Queens Gardens

Established in 1870, Queens Gardens are the oldest botanic gardens in Townsville. Covering four hectares, the gardens are a lush green oasis set against the dramatic pink granite monolith of Castle Hill, offering a quiet, cool retreat from the nearby city centre. The garden is divided into quadrants, each with a central fountain. Special areas include a formal rose garden, the Herb Society's garden, the annuals garden beds, the two small hedge mazes, a rainforest walk and the black bean (also known as Moreton Bay chestnuts) avenue. There is also a small aviary featuring peacocks, lorikeets and sulfur-crested cockatoos.

Rollingstone Park

Pitch your tent and relax by the freshwater creek at Rollingstone Park. With a free designated tent and vehicle camping area, this is a great spot for a weekend getaway and cool down in the freshwater swimming area. Regular community markets are also held there, on the first Saturday of each month from April to September from 8am to noon. Rollingstone also boasts a Museum, the restored Rollingstone Railway Station filled with historical mementos of the area, as well as a network of interpretive historic signage. Contact the Rollingstone Historical Society for more information on the history of the area, and the markets. Other facilities include the local pub which is a community landmark and a popular stopover for day visitors to enjoy local bands and arts and crafts markets. Rollingstone also has a beach caravan resort a little further down the Highway.

Ross River

The Ross River hosts a wide range of sporting and leisure activities. Riverwalk, a three metre wide pathway which overlooks the beautiful Ross River, runs along the river and provides numerous opportunities to enjoy its natural beauty. The Riverway, Loam Island and Pioneer Park developments offer a dynamic combination of residential, commercial, cultural, sports and leisure activities. With two huge swimming lagoons, Riverway Arts Centre, Pinnacles Gallery, the Riverwalk, public art, village spine, restaurant and parklands there are plenty of activities here for everyone. The area is a year round visitor destination with an annual calendar of events including festivals, Christmas festivities, New Year's Eve, Australia Day Celebrations, as well as food, wine, art and sporting events. The precinct provides an excellent environment to enjoy a variety of water-based and waterfront activities. Skiing, wakeboarding and fishing are all popular activities on the water. Ross River also offers some excellent bird watching opportunities, particularly from Pioneer Park, Loam Island, Apex Park and Dam Park.

SS Yongala Dive Site

Situated near Cape Bowling Green off the coast between Townsville and Ayr, the SS Yongala is possibly the best wreck dive in the world. The ship, at 110 metres long, is one of the largest, most intact historic shipwrecks, as well as one of the most intriguing maritime mysteries - after sinking in 1911, the SS Yongala lay undiscovered for more than half a century. Due to being the only reef formation in the region, the ship attracts a much higher amount of sea life than other dive sites. Everything about the SS Yongala is massive: huge fish, enormous structures of coral and with so much of the ship still intact, it makes for a stunning sight and one that won’t compare to anything else. You will find eagle rays, turtles, giant Queensland gropers, schooling barracuda, sea snakes and much more living on board the SS Yongala.

Strand, The

Immerse yourself in the Townsville way of life and discover The Strand, Townsville's thriving beach foreshore! With a relaxed, yet energetic vibe, The Strand is bursting with activities to excite the whole family. The two and a half kilometre walkway offers spectacular views across to Magnetic Island and is popular for runners, walkers and kids with bikes and scooters. Enjoy the ocean breezes with a meal at one of the restaurants or cafes there. Alternatively treat the whole family to a barbecue or beach picnic. With a number of fantastic playgrounds and the popular Strand Water Park, The Strand will keep the kids entertained for hours. Take a swim in the ocean or the rock pool, test your balance on a Stand-Up Paddle Board or land on the beach after the adrenalin rush of skydiving! Enjoy the shade of the palm trees with a good book or grab a gelato and just enjoy the stunning views. For fishing enthusiasts, the jetty is a great spot to cast a line. At the end of The Strand, discover Jezzine Barracks and uncover the stories of Townsville's settlement. Learn of the regions significant military and indigenous history and enjoy the outdoor art.

Taylors Beach

Taylors Beach is a quiet beachside community centrally located between Forrest Beach and Lucinda and known by locals as an angler's paradise. With Orpheus Island and fringing reefs only a short distance away, Taylors Beach offers a wide variety of fish. Grab a fishing rod and prepare for some serious relaxation when you head to Taylors Beach.

Townsville Town Common Conservation Park

Enjoy the secluded beaches framed by rocky headlands, coastal woodlands bordering seasonal wetlands, and deep-water lagoons that make this park special. Summer rains transform the park into an immense wetland, attracting large flocks of waterbirds The walking and mountain biking trails, ranging from short easy walks to cross-country mountain bike rides, are a popular nature escape—and lots of heart-pumping fun—close to the city of Townsville Hike across Many Peak Range, enjoy expansive island views while riding the Under the Radar mountain bike trail or walk the trail to enjoy a picnic on secluded Shelley Beach. This park is a birdwatcher's paradise! From bird hides and observation points, spy comb-crested jacanas and plumed whistling ducks in the wetlands, and double-barred finches and red-backed fairy-wrens in the grasslands. Keep you eye on the skies and you might see brahminy kites and white-bellied sea-eagles scanning for prey.

TYTO Wetlands

Experience the natural beauty and tranquil environment of TYTO Wetlands, a unique 90-hectare natural wetland which is home to over 230 species of birds, native Australian wildlife and numerous tropical plant species. Take a leisurely stroll along the four kilometres of walkways and stop along the way to enjoy the lookouts and viewing platforms. TYTO Wetlands is located just 500 metres from the township of Ingham and situated just a few hundred metres off the Bruce Highway down Cooper Street; TYTO Wetlands is a carefully preserved natural environment that integrates lagoons, walking tracks and native flora. The area is named after the endangered Eastern Grass Owl (TYTO Capensis) TYTO meaning monkey faced owl that can be found in the Hinchinbrook Shire, one of the few places in the world where this owl can be spotted regularly. These owl can be seen leaving their grassy habitat just on dusk. The TYTO Centre also features an interactive and informative Visitor Information Centre as well as a regional art gallery.

Wallaman Falls, Girringun National Park

Discover Wallaman Falls, Australia's highest permanent single drop waterfall, in Girringun National Park, west of Ingham. Surrounded by World Heritage rainforest, Stony Creek plunges 268 metres in a clear single-drop, often through a rainbow-fringed cloud of mist. Gaze at Wallaman Falls from the main lookout then walk to the second lookout which provides stunning views of the gorge and the Herbert River Valley. Explore rainforest and enjoy spectacular gorge views on one of the short walking tracks near the falls. Wallaman Falls is within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Girringun National Park is also the gateway to the Wet Tropics Great Walks. Discover plunging waterfalls, lush gorges and inspirational views as you tackle one of the two day walks that start from Wallaman Falls and trek down the Herbert River valley. Visit for a day to view the falls and relax over a picnic in the day use area near the falls lookout, or stay longer with an overnight camp beside Stony Creek.