Located in the state of Queensland, Townsville is a coastal city adjacent to the centre of the Great Barrier Reef. Peppered with islands, rainforests and national parks, it is home to plenty of indigenous marine life and wildlife – from corals to koalas.
A few miles off the coast of Townsville lies Magnetic Island, a little piece of unspoilt land with peaceful beaches, hiking trails and a national park. This is a popular spot for snorkelling and scuba diving amidst the colourful fish, sea turtles and historic shipwrecks of the Great Barrier Reef. If you’d rather stay dry, you can opt for a sunset sail around the island. Back in town, the Strand is a seaside promenade that offers picturesque beaches, a water park and sweeping views over the bright blue Coral Sea.
For an introduction to Australia’s most adored residents, make some time to visit the Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville. Here, you can feed kangaroos, hug koala bears and catch an interactive show or two. Marine life enthusiasts should head to the Reef HQ Aquarium – the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium. For a more relaxed experience, you can take a scenic stroll along Riverway, an 11-kilometre stretch along Ross River that boasts emerald lagoons, lush parkland and an arts centre.