Hinchinbrook Island is Australia’s largest National Park Island, surrounded by 11 beautiful beaches and home to magnificent mountain terrain, lush rainforests and freshwater melaleuca swamps and forests.
The waters surrounding Hinchinbrook are teeming with life. Sea turtles and dugong feed on seagrasses in the bays, dolphins play and fringing reefs support a wealth of colourful marine life. You can even get up close and personal on a sea kayak tour.
One of the world’s most renowned wilderness walks, the 32 km Thorsborne Trail, opens up the eastern side of the island. Over a recommended minimum four day trek you will find an island stacked with native flora and fauna and be treated to spectacular headland views. As you crawl over rocks and boulders and cross tidal creeks, take the time to watch armies of small blue soldier crabs scuttle along the beach and listen to the island’s many birds.
Permits are issued for a maximum of 40 people on the trail at one time so book early to avoid disappointment. The best time to walk the trail is in the cooler months from April to September.
Those looking for a more relaxing island getaway can stay in the award winning eco-tourism resort, which offers island activities and accommodation ranging from budget beach cabins to luxurious tree houses.
Directions: Lucinda is located 1,490 km north of Brisbane and 28 km from Ingham.
Equipped with fishing rod and all the right bait and tackle, you won’t have any problem finding a good spot on the Lucinda jetty to wet your line.
Whole families gather along the jetty in the early morning and late afternoons to try their luck at hauling in the big ones, or just simply to look, learn and listen.
Fishermen swap stories of big bites, bait and pound lines while trying to snare trevally, dart, flathead, queenfish, barramundi, fingermark and mackerel (to name a few!).
While you're waiting for the bites, a sight not to be missed is Lucinda's acclaimed engineering feature the 5.76km sugar conveying jetty and off-shore loading facility. The jetty follows the curvature of the earth and is the longest of its kind in the world. It's a big jetty and attracts big fish.
"The Moltke" is a wreck dive accessible from the shore on Magnetic Island. The old cargo Boat has been here for over 70 years. The structure is fairly broken up providing many corners and holes for marine life to hide in. Batfish, Grouper, Squirrelfish, Butterflyfish and Damselfish make this home. Crayfish and Nudibranchs can often also be found.
Anderson Park Botanic Gardens Townsville is one of the three separate gardens which together form the Townsville Botanic Gardens being developed by the Metropolitan Council. Being a garden of international repute, Anderson Park is often crowded by plant enthusiasts and unfussy visitors.
Planned under the Botanic Gardens Masterplan of Australia, Anderson Park perfectly caters to a wide variety of public activities and expectations. The arboretum inside contains fine varieties of tropical tree ferns, palms, pandanus, tropical fruit and economic plants. The specimen flora in the botanic garden represents collections from the Cape York Peninsula tropical rain forest plants. The plant gathering from North Queensland territory is another star attraction of the park.
Anderson Park is a quiescent beauty amongst Townsville's abundant natural attractions. With extensive botanic credentials, the garden in Townsville spreads over 20 hectare, today, is a ground-breaking botanic accomplishment and magnificent public asset.
Visit the picturesque Anderson Park Botanic Gardens in Townsville and explore the exotic species of plants there.
Seafood lovers take note, Aqua restaurant, within the Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino has you covered. Offering a value-for-money buffet with plenty of North Queensland seafood, guests can enjoy a casual meal with great views of the hotel pool and Magnetic Island from the dining room. Be sure to save room for the dessert buffet.
Arcadia is the smallest of the four main bays around Magnetic Island. Arcadia surrounds two of the Island’s prominent bays: 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, which is situated on the left side, 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. There are also public amenities such as a gas barbecue, picnic tables, shaded children's play ground, changing areas and toilets.
Alma Bay is also 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 onto the beach.
Balgal Beach is a beachside community popular as a day and overnight trip destination for locals and tourists to Townsville. Just a few minutes from Rollingstone, Balgal Beach features a stinger net, which is installed and patrolled from November to May, and an excellent boat ramp facility with easy access to the Palm Island group. It boasts a superb sand beach as well as a wide creek mouth and is a renowned beach and river fishing location.
Other activities include visiting the Anzac memorial, viewing the interpretive historic signage, having a picnic and barbecue at the park, bird watching and fishing.
There is also a licensed cafe and a variety of accommodation which includes Holiday Units and Townsville City Councils two designated limited tent camping and vehicle camping areas. Download the flyer from their website for more information on free camping.
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.
Castle Hill is a red rock monolith in the heart of Townsville offering panoramic views, and a slice of military history. There is a popular walking track for fitness focused locals, with a rocky “goat track” a favourite for shedding those unwanted kilos. A road offers access for vehicles and pedestrians. The hill is just metres short of being classified as a mountain.
The rock face is home to Townsville’s iconic “saint” – a graffiti rendition of the popular television show’s stick figure emblem. 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, which also boasts public amenities, a function centre and car parking to those wanting to enjoy the best view of Magnetic Island.
Davies Reef, off Townsville on the Great Barrier Reef, is home to a number of dive sites from large pinnacles with small caves to prolific coral gardens and drop-offs. Deep gutters cut through the reef where the walls are decorated with soft corals and gorgonians. Small tropicals and large numbers of pelagics congregate in the area. Dive sites include the Sisters, Coral Gardens and Atlantis.
Magnetic Island fishing just has to be seen to be believed. A catch is virtually guaranteed, and what a catch it can be; 22 pound Coral Trout and 44 pound Spanish Mackerel are among the trophies happy fishermen have taken home.
From the beaches, rocky points and inshore waters, you can also catch species such as bream, flathead, whiting, queen fish and trevally. Fresh bait is best, using prawns, pilchards, squid or herring.
Fishing tackle and bait can be purchased from many places on the Island, also boat with outboard motors can be hired. There are boat ramps located in Picnic, Nelly and Horseshoe bay.
Some of the best fishing spots are Middle Reef, West Point, Orchard Rocks, the wrecks; Palmosa and Argonant in Horseshoe Bay, the rocks off Bright Point, Nobby Head and the Picnic Bay Jetty.
Local Fishing trips can be booked for a few hours or more, with a professional fishing guide who knows the “right spots”, so good results are assured.
Horseshoe Bay is the largest bay on Magnetic Island. Ideal for watersports, almost every watercraft imaginable is available for hire as well as being a departure point for sailing, cruising, fishing and kayak trips. Here too, you can experience swimming on horseback. There is also a new safe swimming enclosure.
Normally several fishing boats can be seen anchored at the eastern end of the bay making ready for their trip out to the Great Barrier Reef.
Also, just a few hundred metres from the main roads, in the Horseshoe Bay Lagoon Environmental Park. If you approach quietly you may see some of the many water birds which frequent this fresh water lagoon especially after a wet season.
Horseshoe Bay Beachfront is considered the tourist strip of the Island, with a substantial array of restaurants, cafes, and bars with live entertainment. The area is also great for families with playground facilities and sheltered picnic tables.
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. It lies within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
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. Look out to sea and imagine what it must have been like for those who watched the sea in less peaceful times.
Nelly Bay is Magnetic Island's main residential bay. It is the first point of access to the island, as both the passenger and car ferries terminate here. Most transport facilities, from bicycles to car hire, are available for collection near the terminal. Tour operators also meet with corresponding ferries here. The local bus services and taxi rank are conveniently located just outside the terminal.
Most of the Magnetic Island's shopping and amenities are located in Nelly Bay. Nelly Bay is a great place to go for that early morning run or a leisurely walk. It's also the perfect place to go swimming or snorkeling on the fringing coral reef. And 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 Range is a rainforest haven located approximately 60 minutes drive north of the city of Townsville. Paluma village is located on the mountain-top - a quaint rainforest township offering tea and craft rooms. Along the Paluma Range highway is Little Crystal Creek and Big Crystal Creek, both of which are ideal for swimming, camping (permit required), bushwalking, picnicking or barbecue. Magnificent panoramic views from various lookouts along the Paluma range. Paluma and Crystal Creek is an eco-tourism paradise with a wide array of wildlife and birdlife in this rainforest habitat.
Little Crystal Creek is located seven kilometres along the scenic road to Paluma and features a giant Roman Arch stone bridge which was constructed manually in the early 1930's during the depression. Big Crystal Creek leaves the highway two kilometres north of the Paluma turn off.
Camping is permitted and day visitors are welcomed. Camping sites can be booked online.
Pelorus Island is located just north of Orpheus Island in the Palm Island Group. Pelorus is surrounded by spectacular fringing reefs that can be accessed by snorkelling right off the beach. Camping is permitted on Pelorus Island, however there are no camping facilities or freshwater on the island. All camping equipment must be taken with you. No permit is required.
The SS "Yongala" off Cape Bowling Green near Townsville, is one of the best wreck dives in the world. At 110 metres long she is one of the largest, most intact historic shipwrecks and intriguing maritime mysteries.
Sinking in 1911 with loss of all aboard, she lay undiscovered for more than half a century. An exciting dive adventure with its coral encrusted structure and incredible array of marine life, including eagle rays, turtles, giant Queensland gropers, schooling barracuda, sea snakes and much more.
At Wheeler Reef, On the Great Barrier Reef off Townsville, you can enjoy diving or snorkelling on some of the most pristine reefs. Wheeler Reef is an ideal location for certified divers, the novice diver or snorkellers. The maximum depth is 18m and the lagoon is abundant with an exciting array of marine life. Explore the myriad of gullies, canyons, caves and swim-throughs that this reef is famous for.