No matter if you’re just planning on stopping into Townsville as part of a road trip up (or down) the east coast of Australia, or visiting it as a destination all on its own, I’ve got plenty of information that you should know before you get there.
Fun Fact: Townsville is the fourth largest population for any Queensland city. So it might be bigger than you think.
Nestled between a World Heritage Listed rainforest and reef, Townsville averages 300 days of sunshine a year making it a popular destination year-round.
Here’s a bunch of information that I’ve worked out from my trips to Townsville that will help you make the most of your time as soon as you arrive.
Where To Stay In Townsville?
Much like most of the towns and cities along the northeastern coast of Queensland, Townsville is very much a tourist town.
It’s well set up with a good variety of accommodation options from backpacker through to luxury spread out all over the city. That said there are a couple of areas that are better suited to help you make the most of your time in Townsville.
It stands to reason that the hotels near the water, particularly on the beach and along the river are going to be your nicer, yet more expensive options. Along Palmer Street, there is a tourist hub with a good selection of mid to high-end hotels, as well as restaurants etc.
If you are looking for something a little cheaper, on the northern edge of the CBD you’ll find your more reasonably priced options including a couple of backpacker hostels.
That said, a lot of people choose to stay on Magnetic Island instead in the city itself.
Based on my stays in Townsville, I have a couple of accommodation recommendations for you.
Starting at the pricing end of town, if you are looking for something a little nicer and the price isn’t such an issue, then I would suggest that you look at the Rydges Southbank Townsville. It’s centrally located within walking distance of the CBD and most rooms either have a view over the city or the marina.
If you are a little more price-conscious, then the Summit Motel is a good comfortable quiet option closer to the city. While Q Express on the outskirts is often bit cheaper again, but you will need your own transport.
Alternatively, if you are looking at staying over on Magnetic Island then Grand Mercure Apartments Magnetic Island is a very nice option. For a cheaper, yet resort-style feel then the Arcadia Village Motel is also reasonable.
Getting To The City From Townsville Airport
Townsville is one of those places that quite easy to get around within the heart of the city as well as on Magnetic Island.
Once you start looking beyond that, having your own transport is going to make your time there so much easier, but we’ll get to all that shortly. With that in mind, my first recommendation is that you consider renting a car to get to and from the airport. It’ll also allow you to hit the ground running when you arrive in Townsville.
That said, if you are staying on Magnetic Island just looking to spend time within the city, then your cheapest option will be Townsville Shuttle Services which for just $10 (each way) will take you to several hotels in and around the city as well as the Sealink/Magnetic Island Ferry terminal.
Alternatively, Townsville Airport is really well set up for both taxi and ride-sharing services including Uber.
If you are looking for a taxi, there is a taxi rank located at the arrivals end of the terminal. While there is also a dedicated ride-sharing collection point next to the rental car parking.
Obviously prices vary depending on where you are staying in or around Townsville, but expect to spend about $20 on either a taxi/Uber ride each way from the airport.
Getting Around Townsville
Getting around Townsville is pretty simple. The main CBD area and The Strand are really good to just walk around with some good footpaths, pedestrian bridges and alike to make the most of the cities traditionally very good weather.
Townsville also offers a public bus service, run by Sunbus/TransLink, that operates across both the city and Magnetic Island as a cheap alternative.
Getting Beyond The City
Once you start to look at things beyond the CBD and the waterfront area of Townsville, then I would suggest that you start to look at renting a car.
The suburbs spread out around Townsville and some of the key attractions, particularly the natural ones, are a fair distance away from the center of the city. So I would really recommend that you rent a car while you are there.
The good thing about Townsville is that parking is free almost everywhere, so you can avoid any surprise costs.
Getting over to Magnetic Island is also straight forward with the regular SeaLink ferry service across to the island.
And for more information where the bus services go visit the TransLink website.
What Should You Do In Townsville?
There is plenty for you to see and do in Townsville, so much so that I’ve dedicated a whole blog post to it.
Where To Find Food/What To Do In The Evenings?
Being a military and tourist city, Townsville has plenty going on to keep you feed and entertained into the evenings. Especially on the weekends!
If you are looking for something a little more low-key, your best bet will be to head towards The Strand, particularly around Gregory Street. You’ll find a variety of cafes, restaurants, (including takeaways) and casual pubs. Ideal for either a quick bite to eat of a quieter night.
With in the CBD especially around Flinders and Sturt streets is another good place to restaurants and pubs as well as Cowboys Leagues Club (the local football team) with its own bar and restaurant options.
If you are looking for something a little more unique, keep an eye out City Lane and City Arcade (which run parallel to each other between Flinders and Sturt) for some smaller boutique-style bars and restaurants.
While further down Flinders Street, towards the beach, will be where you head if you are looking for either cheaper backpacker style food options as well as the bars and nightclubs to kick on into the evening.
To put it simply, if there is a concentration of accommodation options then there will be a similar concentration of bars and restaurants targeted towards the same sort of budgets.
If you’d like to get some more information to help in planning your trip to and around Australia… I’ve got a whole series of blog posts with all sorts of tips and advice to you.
Feel free to share this post with your friends and if you’d like some more general travel tips, head on over to my travel tips page for plenty more tips and tricks.
And if you have a travel-related question you would like me to answer, head on over to my contact page to get in touch and let me know.