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9 top things to do in Townsville and event guide for 2020

Itinerary inspiration for a trip to Townsville in Queensland

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Townsville, Australia

Townsville eyeballs the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef on the north-east coast of Australia.

The city’s to-do list is filled with water activities like diving, snorkelling and boat trips. Back on dry land, the city serves up a great sunset from its Strand area, as well as panoramic views from vantage points and a wealth of history to explore.

Top things to do in Townsville

1. Scenic helicopter tour

See Townsville from above with an unforgettable helicopter journey filled with panoramic views of the coastal town below. Your qualified pilot will give you detailed commentary about Townsville's history and and geography as you fly over popular attractions including Castle Hill, the Port of Townsville and the Casino.

  • Pocket-friendly option:
    10 Minute Townsville Scenic Helicopter Flight

    10 Minute Townsville Scenic Helicopter Flight from Experience Oz

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  • The ultimate experience:
    Magnetic Island Helicopter Flight and Horseback Riding

    Magnetic Island Helicopter Flight and Horseback Riding from RedBalloon

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2. Explore the town

Browse a large range of market stalls at Cotters Market with live entertainers. Explore Flinders Street and visit at array of stalls selling local produce, original artwork, woodwork and homemade baked goods. Pack a picnic so you can relax and enjoy the lively atmosphere, or head to The Strand and enjoy the waterfront precinct with ocean and sunset views, 2.2km of boardwalk and some of Townsville's favourite eateries.


3. History tour

There's no doubt Townsville is filled with rich history, so why not take a history tour that will give you a glimpse of the city's past? Explore the beauty of Townsville with a local tour guide who will take you on a riverside walk and up to the Thornton Gap lookout. To discover Townsville's fascinating past, take a four-hour walking tour to key attractions including Kissing Point Fort and visit the exhibitions at Royal Australian Air Force Museum or the Army Museum of North Queensland with a former Australian Army soldier.

  • Pocket-friendly option:
    Tour of Townsville from River to Mountain

    Tour of Townsville from River to Mountain from Wotif

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Fun things to do in Townsville

4. Venture out to the Great Barrier Reef

Diving in the Great Barrier Reef is bucket-list stuff. Plunge into the waters that surround this 2,300km wall of coral and you'll count more than 1,500 species of fish and 134 types of shark as your neighbours. Dive tours head to the Great Barrier Reef from Townsville daily. During these trips, dive masters will take you out in search of turtles, stingrays, white-tip reef sharks and a kaleidoscope of brightly coloured fish. If you don't like the idea of diving but want to find out more about the local marine life, you can visit Reef HQ, the coral reef aquarium and educational space that's also home to a turtle hospital.

  • Pocket-friendly option:
  • The ultimate experience:
    Townsville Great Barrier Reef Dive Tour

    Townsville Great Barrier Reef Dive Tour from Experience Oz

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5. Venture out for a city or island day trip

For first-time visitors to Townsville, a tour of the city is the ultimate way for you to get your bearings and discover popular attractions along the way. Check out the shops and cafes along Flinders Street and head to spots that offer Townsville's best views including The Strand and Castle Hill viewpoint. The ultimate day trip to Orpheus Island is an experience you're unlikely to forget. You'll be transported by helicopter from Townsville to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, where you will be treated to a 5-star boating experience before being dropped off to swim in the Coral Sea and snorkel amongst the tropical fish.

  • Pocket-friendly option:
    Two-Day Townsville and Magnetic Island tour

    Two-Day Townsville and Magnetic Island tour from RedBalloon

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Things to do in Townsville with kids

6. Wildlife experience

Head to Billabong Sanctuary, an Australian native wildlife park set in the tropical bushlands of North Queensland. The park offers an interactive experience with wildlife talks and shows so visitors can feed the animals, observe them in their natural habitat and see them up close. Day trips from Townsville to nearby islands depart daily, so make use of your close proximity to venture out and spend time with some cuddly friends. Enjoy a day surrounded by Australian wildlife with a return ferry trip from Townsville to Magnetic Island and a 2-hour tour at Bungalow Bay Koala Village. You'll have access to explore the whole island with a bus pass included in the fare.

  • Pocket-friendly option:
    Magnetic Island Shipwreck Snorkel Tour

    Magnetic Island Shipwreck Snorkel Tour from RedBalloon

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7. Take a trip to the local museum

The whole family will love a trip to one (or all) of Townsville's museums. You'll find displays of information and exhibitions, as well as see artefacts and weapons that were used during WWII. The local volunteers and war veterans are more than happy to take you around and share stories of Townsville's past at the Army Museum North Queensland. Learn more about North Queensland's environment with the Great Barrier Reef and Pandora ship display at the Museum of Tropical Queensland.

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Free things to do in Townsville

8. See panoramic vantage points

Castle Hill offers views of the city, ocean and Magnetic Island that can be reached from 10 walking tracks with varying levels of difficulty. For a more challenging experience, head to Mount Stuart to see views of Lavarack Barracks, Ross River and Magnetic Island. If you want to reach the vantage point without taking the hike up the 584-metre peak, there is car accessibility so you can drive to the top.


Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville

9. Check out the local art and music scene

If you've got an appreciation for the arts, Townsville has got an array of venues that will let you explore your creative side. Head to Perc Tucker Regional Gallery and see its City of Townsville Collection which features works in the form of narrative, creative concepts and views of Townsville's history from Indigenous Australian times to the contemporary cultural city it is today. The Australian Festival of Chamber Music gathers talented international musicians for concerts that are played in various venues around the city and surrounding areas, including a concert on Magnetic Island.



Seasonal events in Townsville

Things to do in Townsville in summer

  • Raintree Markets
  • Riverway Movie Nights
  • Aussie Gold: Summer Festival Townsville
  • Queensland Country Home Hill Harvest Festival

Things to do in Townsville in winter

  • Seniors Lifestyle Expo
  • Townsville Cultural Festival
  • Townsville Triathlon Festival
  • The North Australian Festival of Arts
  • Australian Festival of Chamber Music

Things to do in Townsville in autumn

  • Life Festival
  • Stable on the Strand
  • Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival
  • Julia Creek Dirt and Dust Festival

Things to do in Townsville in spring

  • The Brewery Oktoberfest
  • Ingham Family Race Day
  • Magnetic Island Triathlon
  • A Touch of New Zealand Festival
  • Townsville Spirit and Soul Festival

Book your flight

Feeling inspired? Book your flights to Townsville below.


See the latest activity and experience deals for Townsville

Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

Things to do in Townsville from $28

Available on select dates and activities such as Magnetic Island ferry trip, scenic helicopter flights, diving, sailings and more.

Last verified

Wotif Wotif

Things to do in Townsville from $34

Available on select dates and activities such as Magnetic Island ferry trip, scenic helicopter flights, diving, sailings and more.

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