TOWNSVILLE & MaGGIE
Coming from North Queensland (Cairns) and on my way to the Whitsundays, I decide to stop in Townsville for a week. Biggest city in North Queensland, it think it’s a good idea to check it out. Shopping, café, head offices but also a lagoon and a marina, Townsville is a nice tropical city with an outdoor lifestyle (300 days of sunshine each year!).
#1 Reef HQ
What about starting your visit with the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium? Reef HQ has an exhibit with 2.5 million L and a real coral reef with all its fish swimming around! I say hello to the leopard sharks, green sea turtles and other colorful creatures. I like the infrastructures, their commitment for the environment (solar panels, breeding and protection programs). The visit is really pleasant and you discover so much about marine wildlife.
They’ve also got a turtle hospital, where sick and injured marine turtles are cared for until they are able to be released into the sea. I learn about the 6 species found in the Great Barrier Reef (6 on the 7 world marine turtles live in the GBR!). I get up close with Leroy, a little Flatback turtle, which was found a few months ago suffering from floating syndrome. The caretaker explains to me what threatens the turtles in the wild: fishing lines, hooks and nets…but also boat strikes and plastic bags… in marine national parks, the zoning system helps them to be safe by limiting boat speed, forbidding fishing for example.
If you too, you want to save the turtles, many organisms exist today, like SeaTurtle Foundation or also Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, check them on Facebook.
#2 City Tour - Falls or Wetlands Trips
Spending a few days in the region, call Tony from Kookaburra Tours, he will be an excellent guide to drive and show you around the beautiful spots. His city sights tour, full of stories, is very interesting. Check out all his tours on: www.kookaburratours.com.au
#3 Mountain Biking
You want to work out while enjoying stunning views at the same time?
So mountain biking at Cape Pallarenda is a very good idea. Cape Pallarenda is a conservation park located 10 km north of Townsville, it has mountain bike trails, no need to be a true mountain biker, go at your own pace and it will be very enjoyable. I recommend it especially early in the morning or for sunset.
More info on the park: www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/cape-pallarenda
Mountain Bike Club:
#4 Charters Towers
If you spend a week around, it’s a good idea to go to Charters Towers, 2 hour drive. This mining town was the Australian Stock Exchange during the Gold Rush, establishing the price of gold! The architecture reflects its past, interesting.
To try something different, go and visit Michael and Lynda, they organize very unique tours with their Texas Longhorn cattle. JR has got the world record for its longest horns in the world: 2, 87 m!! www.texaslonghorn.com.au
2. MAGNETIC ISLAND or "Maggie"
But Townsville is famous and well known overseas for its suburb: the beautiful Magnetic Island, called Maggie here. 25 minutes on a ferry and you will be in another world, relax and laidback.
Difficult to make up your mind between all the activities on offer! From the classical snorkeling to the unique swimming with horses, you will find something for you...
Ever swum on horseback? Try the fantastic beach ride on the magical Horseshoe Bay. After a nice ride in the forest, surrounded by wallabies and koalas, you get to the beach and this is the moment to unsaddle your horse and get! Genial! Best horse riding tour ever!
2 hours ride
Getting a 360° tour: Adam, a local, takes you on his boat to fish, snorkel and discover hidden bays. He will show you the nicest views of the island, spot wildlife and tell you more about “his” island.
Half day tour
Head for a walk. The Forts Walk takes you to the old gun emplacement and observation posts built during World War 2. This walk is also a good one for spotting a koala in the wild.
1, 4 km, allow 2 hours to have time to look for koalas and take in the amazing views
More walks and info: Magnetic Island NP
Going for an adventurous Jet Ski ride: Pete will show you his backyard, if you are lucky and depending the season, you will see plenty of wildlife during the tour. Comfy jet ski, very good equipment, perfect conditions for a good time out on the water
for 1 jet ski / 2 pax
Where to stay on Maggie?
Bungalow Bay Koala Village: famous for its boutique wildlife park. This is actually the only resort in Australia with resident koalas and Aussie wildlife: rainbow lorikeets, tiny crocodiles and so much more.
- Having koalas in the garden behind my hut!!
- The Bush Tucker Breakfast with the wildlife and their ranger guided tour
- The perfect location : a short walk (5min) to Horseshoe Bay Beach: the center of all water fun activities and restaurant
More info: Bungalow Bay