[2023] Top 10 Best Activities to Do in Townsville

Townsville, an energetic city in Queensland, Australia, provides a wide variety of activities to residents and visitors alike. Townsville offers a variety of chances for exploration and indulging in remarkable experiences thanks to its gorgeous coastline backdrop, rich history, and abundance of natural beauty.

This tropical destination has something to enchant every traveler, from the sun-drenched beaches and majestic Great Barrier Reef to the cultural attractions and exhilarating outdoor excursions. Townsville offers everything you’re looking for, whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion. Join us as we explore the best activities to do in Townsville and learn about the countless opportunities that this alluring location has to offer.

10 Best Activities to Do in Townsville

1. Check out Australia’s first underwater museum

Best Activities to Do in Townsville

The brand-new Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) in Townsville is the sole institution of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The mission of MOUA, which consists of four fascinating installations created by internationally acclaimed underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, is to promote reef protection, restoration, and education while also sharing the First Nations people of the area’s tales.

On Townsville’s seafront, near The Strand, is where its debut installation, Ocean Siren, is situated. Modeled after Takoda Johnson, a young Indigenous woman from the Wulgurukaba tribe, it rises from the water and changes color in reaction to real-time changes in water temperature. Two hours by boat from Townsville is where the second installation, the Coral Greenhouse, is situated: on the John Brewer Reef. Visitors are welcome to snorkel alongside its 20 “reef guardians,” who encourage coral growth.

Australia’s first underwater museum Near me

Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, the day we traveled to MOUA and the reef to scuba dive, the weather conditions weren’t perfect but we made the most of it. (Luckily we took seasick tablets). Our first dive was a bit of a mash-up, we hired gear so not everything gelled together, so our MOUA dive was rushed. The second dive was much better after a few adjustments. The reef was spectacular and we even got to see black-tip reef sharks and swim between two giant walls of corral. The staff were friendly and the captain Paul did a good job getting us home in the rough conditions. Hope to return in a couple of years when MOUA has matured some more.

2. Take the ferry to a tropical island paradise

Best Activities to Do in Townsville

Without taking the quick 20-minute ferry ride to the enchanted Magnetic Island (Yunbenun), a visit to Townsville would not be complete. This small piece of tropical paradise is home to a vibrant community of 2500 people, and the tranquil, carefree way of life there is apparent the moment you step ashore.

The island is renowned for its stunning bays and beaches, snorkeling trails on fringing coral, and a wealth of hiking trails through a mountainous interior of eucalypt woodland and granite boulders (you’ll learn some fascinating Second World War history via the well-liked Forts Walk). The island is situated within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and is rich in Indigenous heritage. Not to add that it is also the location of the biggest wild koala population in northern Australia.

You may get up close and personal with these cuddly companions by going to Bungalow Bay Koala Park (where you can also camp). Horseback riding, jet skiing, fishing, participating in water sports, and embarking on a sailing or diving excursion are additional Best Unusual things you may do while visiting (check out Big Mama Sailing and Pleasure Divers).

One of the finest ways to experience everything Magnetic Island has to offer is through an Aquascene tour or by renting a fun ‘topless’ vehicle from Isle Hire. If a single day is simply insufficient, make arrangements for an overnight stay. There are many different places to stay, from the relaxed CStay Guest House to the cozy Island Leisure boutique resort.

Customer Reviews

What a wonderful experience! I traveled to Magnetic Island with my family for a well-deserved holiday. From start to finish we had the time of our lives. The ferry was fast, clean, and fun! Special mention must go to Tom on the vessel Coolgaree Cat. He went above and beyond providing us with exceptional customer service. Great tips about North Queensland and some real comedic flair to top it off. Highly recommend Sealink. We cannot wait to be back!!

3. Explore the Museum of Tropical Queensland

Best Activities to Do in Townsville

For a glimpse of the dazzlingly diverse North Queensland region and its rich cultural and ecological legacy, visit the internationally acclaimed Museum of Tropical Queensland in the center of town.

You may discover all about life in the tropics, from prehistory to the present, through family-friendly exhibitions and displays.

Key exhibit highlights include the nearby World Heritage-listed reefs and rainforests as well as the gripping tale of the HMS Pandora shipwreck. The ship, which had been sent to Tahiti to apprehend the Bounty mutineers, ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef and went down in 1791.

Customer Reviews

We visited the museum with 3 adults and 2 children aged 8 and 11. There are lots of wonderful exhibitions and areas for the children to touch, play with and explore! The children enjoyed the shipwreck area, as well as the science and rainforest areas. It was really wonderful to see and explore this well-maintained museum – lots for kids and adults to do and learn about!

4. Take a sunset hike for jaw-dropping views

Take a sunset hike for jaw-dropping views

The pink granite inselberg known as Castle Hill, which also goes by the same name for a nearby suburb, dominates the city skyline and is recognized as a national historic landmark.

One of the most gratifying activities you can do in Townsville is to walk it just before dusk. It offers stunning panoramic views of the city, the ocean, and Magnetic Island.

There are various routes that you can use to ascend to the top, including the Goat Track, which starts from Hillside Crescent just outside of the CBD and is brief, sweet, and quite steep.

From the foot of Castle Hill Road in North Ward, you may access the Cudtheringa Track which is the most well-known. This 1.1-kilometer one-way trail features steep and difficult starting and finish sections but has a decent middle segment with magnificent views.

Customer Reviews

We drove to the top of the hill late afternoon. Along the way, there were lots of people hiking up the pretty steep hill! At various lookouts, there are different angles where you can have panoramic views of Townsville and surrounding suburbs. Sunsets give different shades of colors looking across the horizon. It is worth a visit.

5. Take an e-Bike tour around the city, island, or rainforest

Take an e-Bike tour around the city, island, or rainforest

NQ Cycle Journeys, which also offers guided e-Bike excursions across Townsville and Magnetic Island, is another opportunity to discover the treasure trove that is Paluma Range National Park.

The Paluma Range National Park tour includes three km of walking and 20 kilometers of comfortable riding, stopping along the way to explore historical WWII locations, locate cascading waterfalls, and swim in waterholes.

While the Magnetic Island tour will take you to coves, lookouts, and swimming locations inaccessible by cars, the Townsville tour also includes seeing colonial and indigenous landmarks, the coastline, and wetlands. A maximum of five individuals can be on any given tour.

Customer Reviews

My wife and I toured in May 2017. There were only 3 of us in the group plus Jamie. We had tons of fun, saw some beautiful scenery in a quiet, very natural area, and had a very nice lunch afterward. Jamie was a great tour guide; he is super friendly, grew up in the area, and clearly loves what he’s doing.

6. Get underneath the Great Barrier Reef

Get underneath the Great Barrier Reef

The world’s largest living coral reef aquarium, Reef HQ Aquarium, is located right next to the Museum of Tropical Queensland. It is currently undergoing a significant $80-million renovation that will modernize the facilities, add new immersive and interactive exhibits, increase the size of the display windows for uninterrupted views, use more sophisticated technology, and emphasize the relationship between traditional owners and the reef. In 2024, a reopening is planned.

Customer Reviews

A really diverse range of sea life is available in most large to enormous aquariums. A great afternoon.
One of the best aquariums we have ever been to.
Lots of hand sanitizer is available at the touch displays.

7. Hit up Townsville’s thriving beach foreshore

Hit up Townsville’s thriving beach foreshore

The Strand, a 2.2-kilometer parkway where palm palms almost touch the ocean, is Townsville’s bustling beachfront. This is a great place to relax at any time of day with magnificent views of Magnetic Island and shady areas galore. Eat a Mediterranean-style lunch at Odyssey on the Strand, gelato on the grass from Juliette’s Gelateria, a fish and chips dinner on the beach (get up some takeaway from Tobin Fish Tales only a few blocks back in North Ward), and morning with a view at Strand View Cafe. The Strand also offers family-friendly activities like playgrounds, the well-known Strand Waterpark, swimming in rock pools, and a water park for children.

Customer Reviews

I took my Daughters to The Strand today and they had a blast in the waterpark and playground. there was food and an ATM in walking distance and the views were really nice. Bravo to the Townsville council who have done an amazing job and providing a community focal point that is beautiful swell and functional

8. SS Yongala Dive Site

SS Yongala Dive Site

Due to its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, Townsville has become a popular destination for scuba divers. Here, tourists from all over the world congregate to don wetsuits and oxygen tanks in quest of some of the most breathtaking deep-sea vistas on the planet.

The SS Yongala is one of the most well-known dives ever. It transports tourists deep underneath and more than a century back to 1911, when this infamous ship and her 122 passengers perished in a severe ocean storm. Today, divers may take in the usual stingrays, tropical fish, and sea turtles while exploring the coral-covered ruins of this magnificent ship.

This is a genuinely unforgettable experience because of the abundant marine life and the opportunity to see the wreckage of one of Australia’s most illustrious maritime catastrophes up close.

Customer Reviews

Visited SS Yongala to complete our advance open water and it was simply magical. All the staff from Yongala Dive were friendly, approachable, and professional. Had such a great time that we signed up for a second trip.

9. Jet Ski Hire and Tours

Jet Ski Hire and Tours

Discover our amazing selection of jet ski rental and tour experiences in breathtaking destinations all around Australia, including the Gold Coast, Perth, Sydney, and more. Watersports enthusiasts will appreciate speeding across the waterways and seeing some of the best coastline vistas this nation has to offer. It’s difficult to match the thrill of these trips. 

Customer Reviews

Had a great day out on the water, touring Magnetic Island. Luke was an amazing tour guide with great local knowledge. The jet skis looked brand new and were super fun! Would recommend it to anyone traveling to Townsville.

10. Enjoy a Platypus Safari

Enjoy a Platypus Safari

Make sure you reserve a spot on a platypus safari at Hidden Valley Cabins if you want to see one in the wild.

Stay the night to unwind and unwind in this tropical paradise in Queensland, then wake up refreshed to spend a few hours seeing the bubbles of submerged platypi and learning more about these lovely animals.

This is the ideal location to learn more about our billed friends in their natural habitat with a 98% success rate.

Customer Reviews

We visited on a recent tour of the Tablelands. After a nice chat with the owner, we headed off to one of the side coves where we were treated with close views of several platypus paddling about. They aren’t really spectacular to look at but such unusual mammals that I’d heard about first as a child and really wanted to see. The park has an interesting history. The owner originally intended to use the site for crawfish ponds which he planned to harvest and sell. 


In conclusion, Townsville stands as an enchanting destination that beckons travelers from all walks of life. With its picturesque landscapes, abundant wildlife, and bustling cityscape, it offers an array of Best activities to do in Townsville that captivate and inspire.

Whether you choose to explore the mesmerizing wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, challenge yourself with exhilarating outdoor adventures, or indulge in the city’s vibrant arts and cultural scene, Townsville promises an unforgettable journey.

So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the charm of this tropical paradise, and create memories that will last a lifetime in the remarkable city of Townsville. Pack your bags, savor the charm of this tropical haven, and make lifelong memories in the amazing city of Townsville.


Q: How can I get to Townsville?

A: Townsville has its own domestic airport, and it’s also easily accessible by road and rail. You can fly into Townsville Airport or reach the city by bus, train, or car.

Q: What is the best time to visit Townsville?

A: The best time to visit Townsville is during the dry season (April to September) when the weather is pleasant and ideal for outdoor activities. However, Townsville enjoys a tropical climate year-round, so you can plan your visit based on your preferences.

Q: Can I visit the Great Barrier Reef from Townsville?

A: Yes, Townsville is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. You can take day trips or multi-day tours to explore the wonders of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Q: Are there any family-friendly activities in Townsville?

A: Absolutely! Townsville offers numerous family-friendly activities, such as visiting the Billabong Sanctuary, exploring the Strand, and enjoying the Strand Water Park.

Q: Are there any hiking opportunities near Townsville?

A: Yes, Townsville is surrounded by beautiful hiking trails. You can hike Castle Hill, explore Paluma Range National Park, or embark on a multi-day adventure on Hinchinbrook Island.