With a population of almost 180,000, Townsville is regarded as the 'capital' of North Queensland. The city boasts up to 320 days of sunshine a year, so no wonder it's such a popular winter destination for those cold blooded Southerners! For many tourists, it's little more than the jump-off point to nearby Magnetic Island, just twenty-five minutes away, but the city warrants some exploration of its own.
Combine the glorious sunshine with a relaxed lifestyle and an enormous diversity of attractions, and Townsville is the perfect choice for a North Queensland holiday experience. Townsville combines the lure of the tropics with the attractions of a major city. From diving and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, rafting white water rapids, having a flutter at the Casino, or simply lazing on golden beaches - Townsville offers the best of everything.
The city was established in 1864 as a settlement for northern stockmen who couldn't reach Bowen when the Burdekin River was in flood. Cleveland Bay, as Townsville was known then, soon became larger and more prosperous than Bowen itself. At one point during World War II, it was USA's largest overseas air base. Nowadays, together with its twin city Thuringowa, it is the gateway to experience the wonders of the region - the outback, rainforests, magnificent waterfalls, tropical islands and, of course, the Great Barrier Reef.
The shining jewel of Townsville, and the pride of every resident, is what they call The Strand, a two kilometre landscaped boulevard that runs along the oceanfront. On an average weekend, over 10,000 people visit The Strand. The area has picnic facilities, basketball courts, children's playgrounds, and a waterpark, and is lined with cafes and restaurants. There's a rock pool, and during the summer months, the City Council installs stinger resistant swimming enclosures at the beach. If you're not aware of the dangers posed by marine stingers, especially during summer, please visit our SAFE TRAVEL page.
The Strand has been awarded as the cleanest beach in Queensland for two consecutive years and it was one of the four winners of the World Leisure Innovative Prize in 2006. From fishing to cooling off in the sea, from playing at the any of the two playgrounds to participating in the public activities and events that will be always taking place as well as signing in with the Picnic Bay or Arcadian Surf Life Savers for some real action, from skydiving to picnicking with your family, there is something to make sure everyone has an unforgettable time here.
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