Townsville was meant to be a transit point for our party of three (the husband, Tweeny and I) on the way to our planned winter family holiday on Magnetic Island. Magnetic Island was all that I thought we would need for our winter break, Far North Queensland Tropical Island with warm weather, beaches and did I mention warm weather.
The plan was to spend as little time as possible in Townsville, to fly into the airport and take the short 20 minute ride to the ferry station, which would take us to Magnetic Island. Something happened in that short time we did spend in Townsville; it captured my attention and intrigued me.Firstly the blue skies and palm tree welcome at the airport softened me immediately. As we began peeling our Canberra winter layers off, the taxi pulled away from the airport and drove through the “Strand”, Townsville’s beachfront promenade which was clean and green, with inviting playgrounds and a free outdoor water park. We then passed a large aquarium and a tropical museum. Townsville started to look like a great family winter holiday spot in its own right.
This did not meet my preconceived images of the place. I imagined Townsville to be a one horse town that was full of the type of entertainment only suitable for young, single army types. I was immediately regretting not scheduling any time to explore it further.Whilst on Magnetic Island, Townsville was still on mind, so while the husband couldn’t extend his trip as he had to fly back to Canberra for work, Tweeny and I took advantage of still being on school vacation and booked a quick and sneaky 24 hours in Townsville.
Our 24 kid friendly hours in Townsville were spent leisurely eating, walking and sightseeing our way through this very family friendly city.
StaySince there were only two of us staying, I opted for a hotel room and got a great deal on Wotif.com for a 4.5 star rated hotel for a mystery deal rate of $99 a night on Palmer Street. It turned out to be a great choice with Palmer Street being centrally located to the Strand and city centre with restaurants a plenty. There was no time wasted in cars and catching public transport, Tweeny and I we were able to walk to all our desired locations and soak in the warm North Queensland sun.
BreakfastTweeny and I dined at Jam Corner on Palmer St, impressed by their welcoming alfresco dining area (making the most of the sunshine!) and fresh simple seasonal menu with a separate breakfast menu for kids.
With all the goodness on offer, Tweeny opted for Orange Juice and Kellogs Coco Pops – a rare treat for our mini girls’- holiday within a holiday.
There was good strong coffee on offer for me and I ate Queensland Avocado on Wholegrain Sourdough with whipped marinated Danish feta with a squeeze of lemon on top it was a simple and flavoursome start to the morning.
Located at 1 Palmer Street, Townsville
Small and easy to navigate Tweeny and I were entertained in the museum for a few hours which showcases a diverse collection covering the region's maritime, natural, and history with displays of tropical wildlife, dinosaur fossils, local corals, and deep-sea creatures.The stand out for Tweeny was one of the current temporary exhibits - Humanoid Discovery. We experienced through hands on exhibits how different body systems and organs function. We spent quite a lot of time at the “Pull My Finger” test, coming up with different food and drink combinations to see which would deliver the most offensive and impressive FART.
I think Tweeny’s highlight was eating bugs and seeing me eat bugs!! We were both brave enough to taste test the goods on offer at the Creepy Crawly Culinary Class, munching on crispy deep fried meal worms, crickets and ants.
Located at 70 – 102 Flinders Street, TownsvilleWe paid an admission price of $15.00 (Adult) and $8.80 (Child 3-15)
The location is what sold us on eating at Longboard Bar & Grill, jutting out into the headlands, it offered a kid friendly menu, fast service and a cracker view.
I ate Baja Fish Tacos with Seasoned grilled Mackerel, red cabbage, Pico de Gallo, chilli lime coriander and Tweeny chose a cheeseburger and fries from the kids menu.The Strand Headlands, 80 Gregory St, Townsville
Reef HQ Aquarium felt a little tired and dated when we first walked in but as we moved through the 2.5 million litre Coral Reef Exhibit Tweeny and I got immediately excited by all that we saw.With over 150 species of fish and 120 species of hard and soft corals found only on the Great Barrier Reef. We ooed and aaahed at seeing sharks, sting rays and turtles as we made our way through the exhibits glass tunnels.
We had planned our visit to coincide with a tour of the turtle hospital. The tour was my highlight as I have been to quite a few aquariums but have never had the opportunity to get so close to these magnificent looking creatures before. It was sobering and interesting to hear how the turtles sustained the injuries that landed them in hospital, the two turtles that we saw had injuries from boat accidents.Reef HQ Aquarium is small and easy to navigate and great for younger kids up to 12 years old.
Located at 2-68 Flinders Street, TownsvilleWe paid an admission price of $28.00 (Adult) and $22.00 (Concession)
DinnerTweeny and I had worked up an appetite with all the walking and fresh air so we opted for a hands on meal at Ribs and Rumps. It is a great place to take little (and big) carnivores who like to eat with their hands. There was a kids menu to choose from but we decided to share the three rib platter (combination of pork, beef and lamb ribs) from the standard menu and finished off our evening in Townsville by sharing a cheesecake for dessert.
2 Dibbs Street (entrance on Palmer St), Townsville