Out of town guide: Townsville

When considering the many vacation spots on the Queensland coast, the more urban area north of the Sunshine Coast is sometimes overlooked. But with over 300 sunny days a year, world-class dive sites nearby, and an array of up-and-coming restaurants and bars, Townsville is definitely worth a look.

It is located on the traditional lands of the Bindal, Wulgurukaba, Girrugubba, Warakamai and Nawagi peoples, and today the center of Townsville sits in the shadow of a giant outcrop of pink granite known as Castle Hill. Magnetic Island Nature Reserve is only a 20-minute ferry ride away, and it’s actually a suburb of Townsville.

Since things are quite scattered and the climate is warm year round, dockless electric scooters are great for getting around. Consider purchasing a multi-day pass if you are staying for a while.

Shorts are still a part of the dress code in sunny Townsville, even in fancy restaurants, and like most tropical areas of northeast Queensland, there is an Asian influence in most of the city’s restaurants.

Restaurant by the river A touch of salt brings a touch of elegance to this sometimes rowdy city, with a beautiful outdoor dining area surrounded by pedestrian paths. Mediterranean and East Asian influences coexist on a menu that offers an extensive (and inventive) selection of plant-based options, including ‘carrot chorizo’, eggplant koji and radish dumplings. and cabbage.

You can gaze out at Magnetic Island’s tropical playground from just about anywhere on the 2.2-mile plaza known as the Strand, but the view of the island is infinitely enhanced with a cocktail. by hand on the windy upper deck at The shore house. You’ll need to book in advance on weekends, but grab a table and you can spot ‘Maggie’ through the swaying palm trees as you browse the pan-Asian menu, including dishes like the key crab panipuri with lime. and saffron; flavored chicken larb; or Thai style salad with watermelon and pork belly.

For a frozen treat and a seat in the shade of a large banyan tree, head to the local favorite Juliet’s. Local produce is baked in the cakes, muffins and slices that are made on site every day, but the real business card is in the freezer where there are 24 flavors of ice cream and sorbet. Highlights include lychee lime gelato and tangy and refreshing mojito sorbet.

If you do go to Magnetic Island (and you really should), you will find that the dining options are limited. The choice of the peloton is undoubtedly Nourish Coffee in peaceful Horseshoe Bay. Here, you can watch the waves crash while enjoying a fresh strike of watermelon, lemon, and mint and a breakfast plate filled with mushrooms and greens.

If you can ignore the fact that everyone wears shorts all year round, Common people is the kind of cafe that would be right at home in the middle of Melbourne. Set down a heavily graffiti-painted alley, this hole-in-the-wall coffee shop is furnished with op store finds, and on Friday and Saturday nights it doubles as a bar with live music and draft beer.

Despite being in the heart of XXXX Country and the Far North, Townsville offers a growing number of craft beer options. Little Mountain sits in a former mini Moke repair shop where industrial fans are still on and the 12 taps include a thirst-quenching sour kettle with seasonal fruits like passion fruit, orange and guava, and a l deliciously smooth oatmeal that goes down surprisingly well in the tropics.

Escaping the heat is a constant task, whether it’s with a cold drink in hand or a dip in the pool. At the city swimming pool Splash bar you can combine the two. If you are not staying at the resort, you can purchase a day pass for the Ocean View Pool. From there, it’s a simple choice between hard seltzer and one of the half-dozen spooky colored frozen cocktails on offer. When the views are this beautiful, why not browse the menu and stay all day?

Tucked away discreetly between the ale barns that dominate the main thoroughfare of Flinders Street is Hooch & Fellow, which operates at an entirely different pace. Here it is all exposed brick walls and soft lighting. You can order classic cocktails or around fifteen in-house inventions that rotate regularly to make the most of the fresh produce. When in doubt, the $ 10 hooch and juice is always a good decision.

Taking inspiration from Palm Springs and the Caribbean, the City is a sprawling casino hotel located on part of the coast next to the city’s harbor. The rooms, restaurants and the palm-fringed swimming pool all enjoy dreamy sunsets over the Coral Sea to Magnetic Island. And the hotel’s light color scheme and spacious common areas add to the tropical getaway vibe.

To take it up a notch, and out of the mainland, Orpheus Island Resort is an all-inclusive luxury accommodation surrounded by reefs and a national park. Only 800 meters away, Pelorus Island has access to the same stunning scenery, both above and below the water, but is completely underdeveloped and has several places you can camp for cheap (although you have to bring everything with you, including fresh water).

This part of the coast may not be as famous as the areas further north and south, but since the reef is deeper around Townsville it is generally in better condition and is a playground for some of the best diving opportunities. In addition, there are some artificial additions, which help to make it more fun. The Underwater Art Museum includes an underwater garden that is slowly being colonized by marine life, and the wreck SS Yongala is considered one of the best wreck dives in the world for large marine life.

Since Butler’s Health Resort opened in the 1880s, Magnetic Island has been a place people visit to get healthy. Dominated by the national park, the island’s coast is teeming with superb snorkeling spots, while a series of hikes connect bays and watchtowers otherwise inaccessible to the interior of the island. But the most memorable way to get around is in one of the many open-top jeeps available for hire. Just be sure to load up your road trip playlists – you’ll only have the wind in your hair for 10 miles, from the Picnic Bay ferry terminal at the end of the road to Horseshoe Bay (and some companies will get you there. will take the unpaved road in the other direction to watch the sunset from West Point).

About John A. Provost

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