New to Townsville?

There’s plenty to do and see in NQ, writes Jade Kennedy

Townsville Bulletin - - Savvy -

Uni stu­dents have hit the class­room and new peo­ple are mov­ing here ev­ery day. So what is there for new­bies to Townsville to ac­tu­ally do? Here’s Savvy’s top 10 ideas:

1. Play tourist: Never seen a kan­ga­roo? Head out to Bil­l­abong Sanc­tu­ary. Like the thought of see­ing the reef but don’t like get­ting wet? Hit up Reef HQ. Want to feel a lit­tle but cul­tured? Check out the Mu­seum of Trop­i­cal North Queens­land ( it’s free for lo­cals).

2. Go out for ice cream: Take ad­van­tage of ice cream be­ing a year-round treat in Townsville. Wan­der along the Strand for the best lo­cal icy treats - take your pick from Cold Rock, Ge­latis­simo or Juli­ette’s. Or, if you have ac­cess to some wheels, head up the Bruce High­way past Paluma for ice creams and sor­bets made from fresh lo­cal fruit at Frosty Mango.

3. Be ad­ven­tur­ous: What bet­ter place to jump out of a plane than above Cleve­land Bay? Land on the Strand and take in a spec­tac­u­lar view with Co­ral Sea Sky­divers. Or take ad­van­tage of the hot weather and take up a wa­ter sport – try ski­ing or wake­board­ing on the Ross River, or kitesurf­ing down at Pal­larenda.

4. Head ‘ over­seas’: Mag­netic Is­land is only a 25-minute ferry ride away with Sun­fer­ries, which makes it per­fect for a day trip. Go horserid­ing on the beach in Horse­shoe Bay, take a jet ski tour around the is­land with Adrenalin or wait for one of the Full Moon Dow­nun­der par­ties at X-base Back­pack­ers.

5. Get sporty: There are plenty of lo­cal clubs and na­tional teams for ev­ery­thing from AFL to Ultimate Fris­bee. Check out JCU’s sport and rec web site for all the info. Of course, if you’re not into par­tic­i­pa­tion, spec­ta­tor sports are also big here. There are Cow­boys ( NRL) and Crocs ( NBL) and Town­svil­lains ( roller derby) here, as well as events like Brace for War ( mixed mar­tial arts), Nitro Cir­cus ( mo­tocross), Beat the Bas­tard ( down­hill luge/ long­board­ing) and Troy Dunn’s PBR In­ter­na­tional ( pro bull rid­ing).

6. Chill out: The Strand is the ob­vi­ous place to head for some well-de­served r‘ n’r, but there are plenty of places to head for a BBQ, a swim or to just laze un­der a tree. There are plenty of beaches on the north side of town, in­clud­ing Saun­ders and Bush­land, that have easy ac­cess to food and drink from the shore, and Crys­tal Creek is a pop­u­lar swim­ming hole with lo­cals and tourists alike. River­way is also an easy lo­ca­tion to get to, with man-made la­goons, BBQs and seat­ing as well as an art gallery and cafes.

7. Learn a new skill: Townsville is the per­fect place to learn how to scuba dive. There are plenty of lo­cal dive shops that pro­vide PADI cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in ev­ery­thing from ba­sic open wa­ter to di­ve­mas­ter. Adrenalin Dive, Pro Dive and Salt Dive all of­fer dif­fer­ent pack­ages and cour­ses, with plenty of open wa­ter dive op­tions like the Yon­gala ship­wreck to ex­plore.

8. Try some free fit­ness: It may seem in­sane, but at 286m high Cas­tle Hill is a pop­u­lar spot for lo­cal walk­ers. Ease into it by walk­ing the road or head up one of the goat tracks ac­ces­si­ble from West End or North Ward. Townsville Road Run­ners can help with in­for­ma­tion. The foot­paths along Ross River are per­fect for walk­ing, run­ning, cy­cling or long­board­ing, as is The Strand, which is sealed all the way along. Cre8ive Sk8 or­gan­ises a Wed­nes­day night skate along the Strand ev­ery week.

9. Love the nightlife: Flin­ders St East is the most pop­u­lar hub for week­end en­ter­tain­ment, with a va­ri­ety of pubs, clubs and restau­rants many of­fer­ing a-la-carte din­ing right on the night­club strip. Palmer St is just across the river, and has heaps of din­ing op­tions to choose from. The Av­enues ( af­fec­tion­ately known as the Av Tav) is a hot spot in Kir­wan, as is Canon Park, which of­fers movies, restau­rants and a pub in the same com­plex. Just across the weir, the Riverview Tav­ern ( also known as The Tav) of­fers meals and drinks over­look­ing the river and is pop­u­lar with uni stu­dents and tradies alike.

10. Mu­sic, sweet mu­sic: Most pubs will have a live lo­cal band, solo act or duo play­ing from Thurs­day to Sun­day - Savvy pub­lishes a gig guide ev­ery Thurs­day that lists who is play­ing where. The Venue of­ten hosts na­tional and in­ter­na­tional tour­ing acts, and will be the place to see Bone Thugs n Har­mony when they tour here in April. Townsville is also home to tour­ing mu­sic fes­ti­val Groovin The Moo in May as well as Full Noise, a home­grown mu­sic fes­ti­val, later in the year.

Watch or join in lo­cal sport

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