Best Things to Do in Townsville

Townsville, located in Queensland, Australia, is a must-visit location for tourists from all over the world because it skillfully combines spectacular natural beauty with a thriving cultural legacy. This thriving metropolis provides a wide range of thrilling experiences that are suitable for people of all ages and interests. It offers the best things to do in Townsville, from taking in the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef to engrossing yourself in the interesting history of its colonial past. Find out what to do in this fascinating city’s top attractions, where exploration, adventure, and relaxation meld together to provide visitors of all kinds with lifelong memories.

1. Check out Australia’s first underwater museum

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.

Customer Reviews

A breathtaking snorkel over the museum installations and surrounding reefs. A really unique and interesting experience. The work of the Museum of Underwater Art in educating about reef and ocean conservation is inspiring.

2. Take the ferry to a tropical island paradise

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 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

With Sunday transfers more spaced apart we were lucky to arrive a half hour before they set sail. After a quick no fuss ticket purchase process with speedy boarding and a peaceful, comfortable 20-minute ride we reached our destination. The staff and crew are to be recognized for the great work they do!

3. Explore the Museum of Tropical Queensland

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

Fantastic value.
We were here for hours. Everything was interesting and informative, the kids had lots to do. We stopped at the cafe for lunch and coffee (both excellent).
One of the volunteers told us all about the Pandora exhibit which was wonderful to listen to.
I’m sure we would be here frequently if we lived closer.

4. Castle Hill Lookout 

The enormous pink granite monolith known as Castle Hill, which rises proudly in the middle of Townsville and is just a few meters shy of a mountain, is the ideal location for tourists to become oriented. More than 2,500 locals visit Castle Hill’s numerous popular walking trails every day in addition to its automobile access. The journey is certainly worth it to see the 360-degree views of Townsville from the summit.

Make sure to have your camera with you because sunrise and sunset are excellent times to take pictures. Castle Hill has a rich history in addition to serving as the city’s unmistakable centerpiece and providing breathtaking views. During World War II, visiting American forces used the Hill’s vantage point. The tourists famously proposed to destroy the hill and use the rock to construct a bridge to Magnetic Island, according to local lore.

On one of the Hill’s corners, a World War II observation bunker serves as a reminder of Castle Hill’s military past. Parking spaces, public conveniences, drink stations, and covered seating areas are available at Castle Hill, where you can also enjoy some of the city’s best views and look across to Magnetic Island.

Customer Reviews

Great spot to get a sense of place. You can see the advantages of Castle Hill during no the war. We did a full tour of Townsville from there, spotting places like the V8 track, Cowboys stadium, hospital, etc. We had a nice breeze keeping it cool. Many people walk along the road to the top, drivers need to be careful too.

5. Adrenalin Snorkel and dive

We are the most skilled diving and snorkeling operators in Townsville, running a full-service dive shop with day tours and liveaboards. We travel from Townsville (and Magnetic Island for day tours) to the Great Barrier Reef and the SS Yongala Wreck. Additionally, Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive offer a variety of PADI courses.

We are devoted to preserving the environment. We collaborate with Australian conservation organizations, academics, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to inform the public and monitor the reef on our day trips, which have received ECO certification from ECO Tourism Australia.

You can unwind knowing that we have over 30 years of experience in marine tourism and that we know the best places to visit on the Great Barrier Reef.

Customer Reviews

Great 3D3N liveaboard trip with the guys, was well run, the food was good, and the bedding could be modernized but overall great trip, and would recommend anyone to go diving with these guys. Paul and the crew were all professional and extremely knowledgeable and the diving was incredible!

6. 45 Minute Cape Cleveland and Bowling Green Bay Helicopter Flight

With the Townsville coast on one side and its beautiful green wetlands on the other, this lengthy 45-minute helicopter ride from Townsville takes you on an aerial adventure around the rugged coastline to the Cape Cleveland Lighthouse. Along the journey, your skilled and experienced pilot guide will point out the natural attractions as you fly alongside the water to enjoy some of nature’s best views before passing over the area’s ancient lighthouse. Before returning to Townsville, fly over this renowned piece of architecture and take in views of the Bowling Green National Park with its diverse bird population.

Customer Reviews

Nautilus provided us with private helicopter transfers from Townsville to Orpheus Island, and then back again four days later. Our pilot Will was professional, as well as very helpful, and friendly. He explained the path and the flight in each segment, keeping in mind we don’t know anything about helicopters, and made it a very pleasant trip both onto and off the island. Highly recommended.

7. 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

This was a cruise port on a weekend when shops close at 2 pm, so we explored the aquarium, which we loved. Great guides who explained what sea animals we were looking at. Wonderful variety of sea creatures, both venomous and not. It was Christmastime and the diver feeding the creatures in the picture-window tank was wearing a Santa suit! A great way to get an introduction to the reef if you plan to go there, or to get a sampling of what’s living in the Reef if you don’t plan to snorkel there.

8. 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

We had a taxi drop us at the Barracks then started our hour-and-a-half walk through the shade of the large canopies of the beautiful trees. The cafes are well placed along the way as refreshments were well needed along the way. Gelato, fish, and chips through to the larger dining spots, every taste is covered! With stunning scenery out to sea, the well-protected saltwater pool is great for families. Further along, is the statue of the Siren of the Sea, which imaginatively teaches about water temperature. Then further along again are terrific water park ready to cool you off and burn some energy! This is a must for all travelers alike.

9. 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.

According to visitors, 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

Fabulous dive day with Steve, Riley, and Matt. Good briefing. Beach launch from Alva Beach. Quick 30 mins transfer to the SS Yongala site. Double dives and back again for a BBQ. This is an amazing dive site and really competent dive team. Great attention to both safety and the diving experience. Highly recommended.

10. 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 with my partner. Went over to Maggie. The scenery was beautiful. Highly recommend.


The best things to do in Townsville, make it a fascinating travel destination. It offers both natural beauty and cultural treasures. Townsville has it all, whether you’re a nature lover looking for magnificent scenery, a history nut itching to explore the city’s past, or just a traveler looking for a lively and friendly atmosphere. Visitors are enthralled by this coastal gem’s thriving arts scene, mouthwatering culinary options, and close proximity to the well-known Great Barrier Reef. They yearn to visit again and again. Accept the chance to immerse yourself in the various activities and adventures that Townsville has to offer, and allow this amazing city to work its magic on you.