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North Ward

North Ward is one of the oldest and most popular suburbs of Townsville. Wedged between towering Castle Hill and the deep blue Coral Sea, North Ward overlooks the tourist drawcard of Magnetic Island and the Port of Townsville.

North Ward is home to The Strand, a bustling seaside foreshore brimming with chic restaurants and cafes, legendary Queensland watering holes and glorious ocean views. The Strand offers a safe swimming beach, rock pool, palm fringed landscaping, children's free fun water park, barbecues and picnic areas and a network of bike paths and walkways. The beaches have stinger enclosures (November to April) and there is good fishing to be had from the pier.

The suburb of North Ward also contains fine examples of early Queensland architecture including pre-war hotels and church buildings dating back to the late 1800s.

Jezzine Barracks at the end of The Strand is a perfect outing for history buffs with access to the Military Museum and a collection of outdoor sculptures and walkways that provide historical insight into the days of the war and Townsville's development. Head up to Kissing Point Jezzine Barracks for some of Townsville best ocean views.

Not far from The Strand and Jezzine Barracks is Queens Gardens, one of three fine botanical gardens in the city. Established in 1870, Queens Gardens includes a formal rose garden, two small hedge mazes, a rainforest walk and a small aviary featuring peacocks, lorikeets and sulfur-crested cockatoos.

North Ward is just minutes from the Townsville City Centre and offers a range of accommodation options including backpacker hostels, units and motels.

Northward
Townsville, Townsville Area
Queensland
Australia

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Townsville Town Common Conservation Park

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
The park's wildlife viewing areas and walking and mountain bike trails offer a range of nature-based recreation activities close to the centre of Townsville. The park features deep-water lagoons and seasonal wetlands, coastal woodlands and vine thickets, and sheltered beaches fringed by rocky headlands. Summer rains transform the area into an immense wetland, attracting large flocks of waterbirds. Hike across Many Peak Range, enjoy expansive island views while riding the Under the radar mountain bike trail or walk the trail to enjoy a picnic in beautiful secluded Shelley Beach. For birdwatchers, the park is a paradise! From bird hides and observation points, watch flocks of magpie geese, brolgas, finches, wrens and cisticolas; up to 280 species have been recorded here.

Magnetic Island National Park

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Rocky granite headlands and towering hoop pines stand sentinel over tranquil sandy bays on this rugged, mountainous island covered with open eucalypt woodlands and surrounded by coral reefs. The island is easily accessible from Townsville and is noted for its abundant wildlife and varied history. It lies within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Explore Magnetic Island's most picturesque spots via a 36 kilometre network of walking tracks. Look for koalas, rock-wallabies, possums and a variety of birds. Swim or snorkel in secluded sandy bays and explore diverse reef and fish life. Discover the island's rich cultural heritage. Learn about the Wulgurukaba Aboriginal people's strong island connections. Visit historic sites linked to World War II. Look out to sea and imagine what it must have been like for those who watched the sea in less peaceful times.

Picnic Bay

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
With a sweeping beach, tranquil setting and the iconic jetty, Picnic Bay on Magnetic Island is a spectacular location to enjoy a relaxing swim, beachside dining or a spot of fishing on the jetty. Snorkel and explore the abundant marine life of Picnic Bay or see what you can spot from above while taking a stroll along the jetty. If you are lucky, you might spot a turtle or a shy dugong. With a number of shopping, dining and accommodation options, Picnic Bay is well suited to meet everyone's holiday desires and budgets. Enjoy a meal along the beachfront at one of the dining outlets or pack a picnic and find a shady spot to take in the picturesque views! Picnic Bay is also home to Magnetic Island's only golf course. With breathtaking views and curious wildlife including koalas, wallabies and birdlife, a game of golf on Magnetic Island will be one you never forget. The two bays either side of Picnic Bay are well worth visiting. Cockle Bay is where you will find the wrecked City Of Adelaide, and Rocky Bay is a local hot spot for sun-lovers and one of the Island's top beaches for swimming and snorkelling.

Arcadia at Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Arcadia is the smallest of the four main bays around Magnetic Island and is surrounded by the prominent Alma Bay and Geoffrey Bay. Geoffrey Bay is a Marine National Park Zone - which means no fishing or collecting - but is great for exploring during low tide. The old barge jetty, is a great spot for feeding rock wallabies at dusk. Alma Bay is a very popular swimming spot for local and visitors alike. The Arcadian Life Saving Club patrols the beach on weekends and public holidays. Public amenities include a gas barbecue, picnic tables, shaded children's playground, changing areas and toilets. Alma Bay is famous for its ANZAC Day Commemorations. Real-life soldiers from the Thirty-Fifth Field Squadron (Reservist Engineers) annually re-enact the events that took place and make a dawn landing right on the beach.

"The Moltke" Dive Site

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
"The Moltke" is a wreck dive accessible from the shore on Magnetic Island. The old cargo Boat has been here for over 70 years. The structure is fairly broken up providing many corners and holes for marine life to hide in. Batfish, Grouper, Squirrelfish, Butterflyfish and Damselfish make this home. Crayfish and Nudibranchs can often also be found.

Wreck Diving at Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Located within the waters of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Magnetic Island has a wealth of interesting dive sites. Some of the best places to dive are found in Geoffrey, Alma, Arthur and Florence Bays and the reef in Nelly Bay. The Moltke wreck, a German barque in Geoffrey Bay is an excellent dive, especially at night, with a large variety of coral in a concentrated area and teeming with fish life. The wreck is marked by a post near the Arcadia wharf. The wreck of the Platypus an old dredge boat, is in Arthur Bay, on the left hand side out towards the point in a rocky cove and is encrusted with hard corals. Most ships were sunk as shelters to moorings or jetties. But the Island's rocks have also claimed the schooner Lavina in Rocky Bay, and the ketch Lallah Rookh was wrecked on Bremner Point in 1896. The Bee, a steam launch, was the first regular ferry service to the mainland. It came to grief on Knobby Point near Picnic Bay in 1901. The wrecks are relatively shallow, so are perfect for novices or for relaxed enjoyable diving.

Queens Gardens

North Ward, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Established in 1870, Queens Gardens are the oldest botanic gardens in Townsville. Covering four hectares, the gardens are a lush green oasis set against the dramatic pink granite monolith of Castle Hill, offering a quiet, cool retreat from the nearby city centre. The garden is divided into quadrants, each with a central fountain. Special areas include a formal rose garden, the Herb Society's garden, the annuals garden beds, the two small hedge mazes, a rainforest walk and the black bean (also known as Moreton Bay chestnuts) avenue. There is also a small aviary featuring peacocks, lorikeets and sulfur-crested cockatoos.

Pelorus Island

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Pelorus Island, located 800 metres north of Orpheus Island in the Palms Island group is an untouched, pristine environment accessible by private boat or on a dive tour. Pelorus Island offers spectacular fringing reefs accessible straight off the beach, which make for a remarkable snorkel or dive experience. For outdoor explorers camping is permitted on Pelorus Island, however all equipment must be carried with you as there is no access to fresh water and camping facilities are not available. No permit is required.

Nelly Bay

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
A holiday on Magnetic Island is likely to start on Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island's main residential bay. Nelly Bay is the first point of access for the passenger and car ferries and is an easy location to access bus transfers, taxis, hire vehicles or jump on board a guided tour. Most of the Magnetic Island's shopping and amenities are located in Nelly Bay. Nelly Bay is a great place to go for that early morning run or a leisurely walk. It is also the perfect place to go swimming or snorkelling on the fringing coral reef. Towards the northern end of the beach, you will find a children's playground and a coin-operated barbecue area and, further along, sheltered picnic tables and toilets.

Castle Hill

Townsville, Townsville Area
  • Free WiFi
Free Entry
Just metres short of a mountain, Castle Hill is the giant pink granite monolith that stands proud in the centre of Townsville - a perfect place for visitors to orientate themselves. As well as offering vehicle access, Castle Hill provides a number of popular walking tracks, which are frequented by more than 2,500 locals a day! The 360-degree views of Townsville at the top are well worth the journey. Be sure to have a camera on hand, particularly for sunrise or sunset as these are photo opportunities which shouldn't be missed. As well as offering an iconic centre piece for the city and spectacular scenic views, Castle Hill has a significant history. The Hill's vantage was used by visiting American soldiers during World War II. According to local legend, the visitors famously offered to demolish the hill and use the rock to build a bridge to Magnetic Island. A World War II observation bunker sits on one corner of the Hill reminding visitors of Castle Hill's military history. Castle Hill facilities include car parking, public amenities, drink fountains and shaded seating to enjoy while taking in some of the best views of the city and across to Magnetic Island.
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