Townsville, Australia

Ariel view of Townsville, Australia

Introduction to Townsville, Australia

Townsville has something for everybody - lush rainforests, gorgeous coral reef, beautiful sandy beaches, outback bush and the allure of a modern city - so whether you want to lay back, relax and soak up the renowned Australian sunshine or prefer to go in search of native wildlife and breathtaking sights, this somewhat underrated city is a great place to visit.

Townsville is a vibrant region that encompasses beautiful coastal towns, rainforests, rugged Outback and country terrain. But the appeal of this lovely region expands further from the city of Townsville.

To the east sprawls the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, and it isn’t hard to see why. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and is the only living thing on earth visible from space. To the west of Townsville you will find the vast outback while to the north stands lush rainforest, while in the city centre you will find the world renowned Reef HQ -  the world's largest living coral reef aquarium - the Billabong Sanctuary, where you can learn all about Australia's fascinating wildlife, and many other cultural and heritage attractions.

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BILLABONG SANCTUARY & HIGHLIGHTS - TOUR C

  • Get up close to native Australian wildlife at the Billabong Sanctuary
  • View the main sights of the city of Townsville
Price£50.00 - £60.00
DurationApproximately 4 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included

Enjoy an introduction to Townsville before visiting the Billabong Sanctuary, where you can discover the amazing animals of Australia.

 

Pass many of the local highlights, including the Strand and the main shopping area of Flinders Street, before, time permitting, making a photo stop at Castle Hill to admire views over the city. Continue your drive past some of the well-preserved buildings of the Colonial period before leaving the town and heading into the countryside.

Travel to the Billabong Sanctuary, an area of approximately 11 hectares (27 acres) of natural tropical North Queensland bush. Upon arrival here, meet with one of the rangers, who will lead you through the park as you learn about the sanctuary’s residents, including native mammals, birds and reptiles. Enjoy some time to stroll around the enclosures at leisure. You may choose to have your picture taken with a koala or hold a wombat (at your own expense). If you are feeling brave, there is the option of snake and crocodile handling too!

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR W1702 AROUND THE WORLD CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking. There will be approximately one hour of time at leisure at the Billabong Sanctuary, where the amount of walking is at the discretion of the individual. All guests must be able to board the coach unaided. There are around five steps to negotiate at the sanctuary and not all areas may be accessible to wheelchairs. Please note that on some occasions, for the safety and protection of the animals, it may not be possible to pet or cuddle a koala. Guests with cold or flu symptoms are advised not to handle the animals.


CITY DRIVE & REEF HQ - TOUR B

  • Visit the Reef HQ Aquarium, home to thousands of incredible fish and reef creatures
  • Experience the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet!
  • Discover the highlights of Townsville
Price£45.00 - £55.00
DurationApproximately 4 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included

Uncover the main sights of the tropical city of Townsville before enjoying a visit to Reef HQ – the largest living coral reef aquarium.

Surrounded by a rich hinterland of lush rainforest on one side and picturesque Magnetic Island perched just off the coastline, Townsville has much to offer. A brief city drive will provide you with an opportunity to view some of the highlights. Pass the Strand and the main shopping area of Flinders Street before pausing for a photo opportunity at Castle Hill. From this massive pink granite monolith you can admire panoramic views over Townsville and – on a clear day – spot Magnetic Island in the distance.

Proceed to the wonderful facility at Reef HQ, the largest living coral reef aquarium, which boasts all the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. The education facility for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the aquarium provides the ultimate experience, allowing you to get up close to the reef and marine life. The aquarium acts as a window to the reef and is home to a range of displays and exhibits to stimulate your curiosity. Enjoy time to explore the aquarium at leisure before your return to the quayside.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR W1702 AROUND THE WORLD CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, and some steps to negotiate at Reef HQ. There will be approximately one hour of time at leisure at the aquarium, where the amount of walking is at the discretion of the individual. All guests must be able to board the coach unaided.


DISCOVER MAGNETIC ISLAND - TOUR G

  • Uncover the highlights of Magnetic Island
  • Savour time to explore your beautiful surroundings at leisure
Price£65.00 - £75.00
DurationApproximately 5¾ hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included

On this tour, take in a visit to Magnetic Island, which sits within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and enjoy time at leisure to explore this beautiful area.

 

Following a brief coach transfer, you board a ferry for an approximate 20-minute journey across the clear blue waters of Cleveland Bay to Magnetic Island. Located approximately eight kilometres (almost five miles) from Townsville, Magnetic Island is one of the jewels in the Great Barrier Reef's crown.

 

More than half of the island's 20 square miles is a World Heritage National Park, with Mount Cook in the centre rising to 365 metres (1,200 feet). Huge granite boulders are softened by tall hoop pines, eucalyptus forest and small patches of rainforest. Where the rocky headlands meet the sea, many secluded beaches have been formed, some of which can only be reached on foot or by boat, and there are 24 kilometres (15 miles) of walking track through the park, with many spectacular lookouts.

 

Upon arrival at Magnetic Island, you can savour time at leisure in which to enjoy a wide range of activities - whether you prefer active pursuits or simply to relax, there is something for everyone. Discover the island's beautiful bays and beaches or its excellent walking tracks, take part in a bike ride or just soak up the sun and your beautiful surroundings! Magnetic Island is a well-known haven for wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for wallabies and koalas, or take advantage of the angling opportunities with an afternoon of fishing.

 

After time to relax and explore, you re-board your ferry for the return to Townsville.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR W1702 AROUND THE WORLD CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note that your time at Magnetic Island is unguided and at your leisure, therefore the majority of walking on this tour is at the discretion of the individual. Some inclined ground and steps will be encountered. All guests must be able to board the bus and ferry unaided. Tour timings and the duration of this excursion may vary due to public ferry timetables. Guests are advised to come wearing comfortable walking shoes and to bring a hat, sun protection and a bottle of water. Please note that the ferry is not exclusive to Fred. Olsen guests. Additional activities mentioned, such as bike riding and fishing, are not included in the cost of this tour but can be organized and purchased locally. This tour does not include refreshments however it is possible to purchase both food and drink from local cafes, restaurants or the general store.


REEF HQ & ABORIGINAL CULTURAL CENTRE - TOUR E

  • Marvel at the world’s largest living Coral Reef aquarium!
  • Learn more about Australia’s Aboriginal heritage
  • Admire the beautiful surroundings as you enjoy afternoon tea
Price£85.00 - £95.00
DurationApproximately 4 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Free time includedFree time included

This tour invites you to enjoy a lively display of Indigenous dance, song, history and traditions.

Visit the Interpretive Gallery and Cultural Museum with your local Indigenous guide. Take a journey back to the Dreamtime and learn of sacred traditions and beliefs celebrated by one of the oldest living cultures in the world. Following your tour, witness a range of dances and songs performed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance groups. Crowd participation is always encouraged, and you can capture great photographs after the performances. You will then be invited to savour an afternoon tea of traditional scones with native jams on the picturesque River Deck overlooking Townsville Marina, Ross River and the well-known Castle Hill.

Next, take a short walk to Reef HQ, which offers you the chance to view the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. The aquarium houses thousands of incredible reef and fish creatures, and is the education facility for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Reef HQ allows you to get up close to the Great Barrier Reef and boasts a range of displays and exhibits to stimulate your curiosity as you learn about the reef!

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR W1702 AROUND THE WORLD CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking and standing and a few steps to negotiate. All guests must be able to board the coach unaided. Don’t forget comfortable shoes, local currency, sun protection and a bottle of water.


TOWNSVILLE HIGHLIGHTS - TOUR A

  • Take in the main sights of Townsville from the comfort of your coach
  • Capture images of the beautiful scenery
Panoramic Coach Tour
Price£25.00 - £35.00
DurationApproximately 2 hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

Discover the city of Townsville on this insightful sightseeing tour.

Leaving the quayside, you will pass by local sites, savouring foreshore views along the Strand, Townsville’s popular seaside entertainment district; and the main shopping area of Flinders Street, which runs through the heart of Townsville. This historic street features a pedestrian mall and is lined with charming heritage buildings from the colonial period.

Continuing you journey past the James Cook University – one of the world’s leading institutions focusing on the tropics - and the Lavarack Barracks, a major Australian army base, home to the Australian army’s 3rd and 11th Brigade.

A brief stop will be made at Castle Hill, 296 metres (971 foot) high. This massive pink granite monolith allows you to admire 360 degree views over the city of Townsville, the surrounding countryside and, weather permitting, Magnetic Island located just offshore.

As your scenic drive comes to a close, you can choose to either remain in town for additional sightseeing or shopping, or return to the quayside with your coach.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR W1702 AROUND THE WORLD CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a minimal amount of compulsory walking, some of which will be over uneven ground, and there may be a few steps to negotiate. All guests must be able to board the coach unaided. Guests are advised to bring sun protection and a bottle of water. Guests wishing to remain in town at the end of this tour are responsible for making their own way back to the ship in time for sailing.


WORLD HERITAGE RAINFOREST TOUR - TOUR F

  • Explore the Wet Tropics Rainforest - the oldest in the world
  • Keep your eyes peeled for flora and fauna as you embark on a guided walk
  • Marvel at the natural beauty of this unique area
Price£105.00 - £115.00
DurationApproximately 8 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Snack includedSnack included

North Queensland is home to the Wet Tropics Rainforest - the oldest surviving rainforest on the planet. Discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site on this informative tour.

 

Leaving the quayside, your expert local guide will tell you the story of the region as you drive from Townsville, through pineapple and sugar plantations. Admire the scenery en route - mountain streams and cascading waterfalls - and marvel at breathtaking views of the area from McLelland lookout point. Next pause for morning tea or coffee in the rainforest village of Paluma before you encounter the magnificent Wet Tropics.

 Upon arrival here, embark on an approximate one and a half kilometre (one mile) walk through the natural trails of the rainforest to uncover the outstanding natural beauty of the area. You will then be rewarded with your efforts as you enjoy a barbecue lunch at the Hidden Valley Cabins, Australia's first carbon-neutral 100 percent solar-powered resort.

 Throughout your day you can experience the living time capsule of Australia's flora and fauna as you drive and walk within this precious environment. En route back to the quayside, you will pause to capture photographs at the stunning Crystal Creek.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR W1702 AROUND THE WORLD CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately one and a half kilometres (one mile) of walking, over uneven, earthy and sometimes inclined ground. There are also steps to negotiate; therefore this tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Guests are advised to come wearing comfortable walking shoes and to bring a hat, sun protection and a bottle of water. Water will be offered during lunch – additional refreshments are available to be purchase at your own expense.


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