While exploring Townsville North Queensland you might be surprised by some of the local creatures you can meet along the way. Hand feed the cute and extremely photogenic rock wallabies on Magnetic Island’s Geoffrey Bay, spot Koala’s lazing amongst the eucalyptus trees along the historic Forts Walk, meet JR the Texas Long Horn with the world record for having the longest horns and have a truly magical encounter with Nemo and his mates on a trip to the Great Barrier Reef.
The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is Australia’s tropical marine research agency. AIMS plays a pivotal role in providing large-scale, long-term and world-class research that helps governments, industry and the wider community to make informed decisions about the management of Australia’s marine estate. The Australian Institute of Marine Science's National Sea Simulator (SeaSim) is a world-class marine research aquarium facility for tropical marine organisms in which scientists can conduct cutting-edge research not previously possible in Australia. Members of the public are invited to join a free tour of their Cape Ferguson facility every Friday between March and November. Tours begin at 9.30am and end at approximately 11.45am. They include presentations on AIMS’ current research and a guided walk around the facilities, including a tour of the ‘world’s smartest aquarium’, the National Sea Simulator. Numbers are limited. Bookings are essential and close at 4pm on the Wednesday before the tour. Sturdy, closed footwear and a hat to protect against the sun are required. They also advise you to bring drinking water. A lunch is available for guests to purchase at the cafe after the tour. Please inform reception if you intend on staying for lunch when booking.
Billabong Sanctuary offers Australia’s Best Interactive Wildlife Experience! Located just 20 minutes south of Townsville on Highway 1A , Queensland, it features native animals in natural habitats of eucalypt forest, rainforest and wetlands. As a small boutique park, it specialises in memorable personal experiences. Get up close to a koala, pat a wombat, pose with a python, pat a dingo, and feed the cassowaries. You could even hold a baby saltwater crocodile! Free-ranging kangaroos will hop up for a pat. Most interactive experiences are free-of-charge and you can use your own camera to capture the moment. Throughout the day friendly Rangers present dynamic and impassioned wildlife talks, which are both inspiring and entertaining. Twice-daily croc-feeding shows are thrilling to watch, as these mighty reptiles power out of the water to snatch their food. The focus on conservation has earned Billabong Sanctuary Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation.
Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium is the the world's largest living coral reef aquarium and the Australian Government's national education centre for the Great Barrier Reef. Immerse yourself in the underwater viewing tunnel offering magical views of a living coral reef and the predators that prowl the water depths. Discover beauty and wonder of the Great Barrier Reef. Home to the world's largest living coral reef aquarium, the 2.5 million litre coral reef exhibition will open your eyes to an amazing world filled with thousands of charismatic marine creatures. Appreciate the challenges faced by Reef HQ Aquarium's Turtle Hospital patients and how you can play a role in protecting marine turtles in the Great Barrier Reef. The turtle hospital operates and promotes the C.A.R.E (Conserve. Act. Rehabilitate. Education) philosophy playing a key role in raising community awareness. Join their experienced and friendly interpretation staff on one of Reef HQ Aquarium's premier visitor experiences. Let their volunteers inspire you as they share their passion for the Great Barrier Reef.
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.
Witness the majestic and historic Texas Longhorns on a horse drawn wagon ride or Safari - an experience like no other. Take a traditional horse drawn wagon ride or Ranger Safari and a trip back in time, back to the 'Old West' to the time of the legendary Texas Longhorns. Situated 10 kilometres from Charters Towers, North Queensland, is Leahton Park, home to one of the largest full-blood herds of Texas Longhorns in Australia. These cattle are direct descendants of the millions of Longhorns that walked the great trail herds from Texas in the late 1800s. It is also home to JR -the 2013 Guinness World Record Texas Longhorn steer. JR was born and raised at Leahton Park and was certified in 2013 to have the longest horns of all cattle in the world. His horns now exceed 3.1 metres from tip to tip. Listen to the yarns and learn the history of this magnificent breed of cattle while enjoying the canvas covered wagon ride or Safari in the bush on the one and only experience of its kind. Asian Water Buffalo, Scottish Highlanders, American Bison, African Watusi and Indian Gyr cattle and native Aussie wildlife are all at Leahton Park. Due to current health advice on social distancing, please contact them for the most up to date information regarding opening times and services.