Posts Tagged With: Townsville

Montage of Sea-side Sights Around Townsville

Townsville is a water city, it is a water playground. The beaches, The Strand with the water-world play area, the Barrier Reef close by, the Port for boating and fishing, Magnetic Island 20 minutes away across the bay with the idyllic beaches and “Reef HQ” the largest living coral reef aquarium in the world. Every type of water activity you can think of is available in and around Townsville.

Categories: Australia, photos, Townsville, travel | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Townsville Montage of Heritage Buildings

Townsville has many of the old heritage buildings still in very good condition and, as I have mentioned before, the council have spent a lot of money and time revitalising the city centre. This is contrary to many towns that let the central areas slowly decay. Once the under cover shopping centres open in the suburbs, with all the multi-national chains and large car parks making shopping easy in air-conditioned comfort. So it was refreshing to see this lovely old town preserving its heritage.

Like many of the towns in Australia it was the boom years of the late 1800’s and the discovery of gold, that saw huge growth and the building of the very impressive looking hotels,banks and other commercial buildings. Townsville was doubly lucky because it had a safe port area. The old town grew around the port and the Ross River.

Because we are here for longer than we usually spend in one place, and we have to walk or use public transport, we have plenty of time to really get to know this town. Yesterday we took the local bus out to the suburbs. The suburbs are well spread out. Starting with the older, wooden, Queenslander style cottages of the early 1900’s, gradually changing to the more boxy, sterile looking brick and aluminium of the 60’s and 70’s, finally we pass the stucco and tile of the recent decade. It took an hour to get out to the latest Stockland shopping complex. What a characterless place it was. Identical to all other shopping complexes around Australia. All the same chain stores, selling all the same things.

As I have more time to play around with the photos I have tried to capture the atmosphere of Townsville in some montages of photos.

This first one is of some of the Heritage Buildings, and there are many more than I have used in this montage.

I saw a montage being used to great effect by Jo Bryant in her blog “Chronicles of Illusions” Click here to see a very good photo montage…


Categories: Australia, Heritage Buildings, Townsville, travel | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Welcome to our new accommodation : Backpackers Hostel…

We had a lovely relaxed week at Rowes Bay Caravan Park, compliments of RACQ insurance, now it was time to come back to the reality of budget travel and the fact that Matilda’s repairs will eat a big hole in our finances.

Initially it was just finding accommodation, but during the week I had time to search out our next place to stay.

There are many levels of travel accommodation from the luxury 5 star hotels, down through 4,3,and 2 stars. Motels are another option, but they are usually further out from the central CBD and you will need a vehicle to get around. Of course the caravan parks have cabins of various styles and we have just experienced that. All these have one thing in common, they are out of our budget range.

So what does that leave us?

I finally found the place that ticks all the boxes Adventurers Backpackers.

  • It is very close to the CBD
  • It has spacious but basic rooms.
  • Beds have good mattresses
  • It has a fridge in the room
  • It is clean
  • Large communal stainless steel kitchen area
  • Roof-top pool
  • Great views from the pool deck.
  • Fans and air-con in room
  • Matilda’s garage is right behind the hostel, so we can visit her!!!
  • It is only $255 per week

Ok, ok I can hear you saying but what about all the other “guests”. Backpackers have a certain reputation for being loud, scruffy, always partying. This does not seem to be a problem in this hostel. Over our years of travel, both here and overseas, we have stayed in many backpackers hostels and a well run hostel does not have problems. The party people go out to the pubs and bars and there is a strict no sound after 11pm policy.

Last night one unruly and drunk bloke was shouting obscenities and making himself very objectionable. Every one else ignored him. This spurred him on to further ranting, till eventually another backpacker fronted up to him and told him

“shut your f#%%^* cake-hole, or I will throw you in the pool”

All was peace and quiet after that…

Great place for people watching…

This is the view from our front door

Our room, approx 7×3 metres

Large stainless steel kitchen

The owner has a pet hen which makes itself very much at home

Pool deck 4 doors down from our room

The view from the pool deck across the harbour

Relaxing with a book as Jack has a swim

So we are booked in for another week. The parts for Matilda have not arrived yet and we also need to replace the radiator…

“C’est le vie”

Categories: Australia, Backpackers, Townsville, travel | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

Cotter Markets in Townsville

A glorious sunny Sunday and Flinders Street, the newly renovated heart of central Townsville, is closed to traffic, and comes alive with the colour and sound of Cotter Markets. This has been an institution in Townsville for more than 20 years and there are more than 70 stalls.

Now I love markets and have been to many of them around Australia and I rate this as one of the best. I had to walk for an hour to get to them as buses do not operate on a Sunday. Of course that meant I also had to walk an hour to get back to our home-of-the-moment. That is market viewing dedication for you… (I could catch a taxi, but that is too easy, and I enjoy wandering along looking at the houses and gardens and scenery)

I love the variety at this market and the very friendly laid-back vibe. It is a photography dream, trying to capture that atmosphere. I ask if it is ok to take individual stall holders and only one said they preferred I didn’t take any photos.

So I ended up with well over 100 photos to cull down to what I considered would show you how I saw,felt, heard and experienced the market.

Not easy….

I have never put so many photos in a post before, so decided that perhaps the best way to show them to you would be with a slide show. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them…

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Categories: Australia, australian travel, markets, Townsville | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Magnificent, Memorable Magnetic Island

Alma Bay just one of the many picture-perfect beaches around Magnetic Island


This Island is dominated by boulders and when Captain Cook sailed by here in 1770 the compass on board fluxuated and it was thought, at the time, that some magnetic force in these rocks and boulders had affected it. So Cook named the island Magnetic. This is not the case, but the name remains…

Leaving Townsville on the ferry

Magnetic Island is only a 20 minute ride from Townsville on the Quick Cat ferry that takes you from city, well big town living, to the peace and tranquility of Island life. Adult daily return fare is $32, but a senior concession rate gets me there for the bargain price of $16, and an all day bus pass is $3.50. I was very pleased to be on the bus when it took me across the Island to the furthest bay, Horseshoe Bay. The road is narrow, steep and very windy. I planned to work my way back to the ferry getting on and off the bus exploring each bay.

Horseshoe Bay, childrens play-ground

Backpackers? They love it here

All types of water sports available

Horseshoe Bay is the most popular place as all the water sports, cafes, bars and restaurants are here. You can be very active or just relax. I loved people watching and wandering along the Esplanade. I was so busy looking along the beach I forgot to take any street scene photos of the cafes etc. I will have to go back in the name of research!!!! After recharging with a muffin and iced coffee I hopped aboard the bus and went 10 minutes along to Arcadia Bay…

Alma Bay just one of the many picture-perfect beaches around Magnetic Island

Geoffrey Bay a Marine National Park

These two Bays had a different atmosphere to Horseshoe Bay, very few people here. One family group enjoying a picnic. It was more of a park area with BBQ and picnic tables, a life-saving club, children’s play area and, across the road, the Arcadia Tavern. This place would come alive on Wednesday evening when the famous cane-toad racing is held. (20 years ago we stayed on the island for a few days at the backpackers hostel and witnessed these races. You can buy a toad, auctioned to the highest bidder, then the toad that wins gets a kiss from its cringing owner…) At 2pm on a Friday it was one more sleepy little Bay.I walked along past Geoffrey Bay, a Marine National Park area, and noticed a house with “open, Fine Art” so wandered in for a look. Peter Lawson  ( click on this link you will see some of his beautiful work)had lived and been painting on the Island for over 20 years and his oils captured the atmosphere and magic of the Island and also the outback. In particular was a large painting of the Mitchell grass plains that we had just crossed, with two horse drawn wagons of wool bales. Click on the link to see this painting…

I waited again for the bus. This time I was going to the other end of the island, past Nelly Bay where the ferry comes in, onto Picnic Bay. This time it was up and round all that twisty road again. Thank you Mr Bus-driver…

I planned a walk up to Hawkings Point for the view across to Townsville and along the beaches of Magnetic Island, classed as easy and short, 600 metres. Well maybe 20 years ago I would put it in that category but today on a hot, 29 degree, afternoon those steps just seemed never-ending…

The steps, up and up

Near the top the track winds around big boulders

No-one else was on the track as I went up and, of course, what goes up has to come down again. I must admit I was thinking thoughts of mad dogs and English men (women), but the view was impressive and worth every sweaty moment of the walk.

Looking along the coast to Horseshoe bay

This is looking back across the bay to Townsville…

When I finally reached the road again the bus was not due for 45 minutes. The ferry I planned to catch left at 4-30pm, it was now 3-30pm. OK, only 4 kilometres to Nelly Bay and the ferry, no problem, I will walk along the coast line. First it went through a shady littoral forest area that led to more steps…

It was a scenic walk and I reached the ferry just 5 minutes after the bus pulled in and 10 minutes before the ferry left for the return journey to Townsville. The incoming ferry was packed, today is the start of school holidays, The families poured off with cases, kids and patience in tow. Perfect weather, an average 320 days of sunshine per year, ideal family destination with all levels of accommodation from hostels to 5 star hotels, lots to do, or just relax.

It was 20 years since we visited and though there is definitely growth here, especially in the apartments and hotel area, it seems to be clustered around Nelly Bay and the ferry terminal area. Thankfully most of the bays and scenic areas remain unspoilt. They seem to have reached a happy medium.

Apartment living at it’s best



Categories: Australia, Magnetic Island, photos, Townsville, travel | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Townsville : Day One, The Strand

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Townsville is considered the second largest city in Queensland and has a tropical climate.It is situated on the ocean and at mouth of the Ross River,

The Strand makes the most of this environment, it is 2.5 kilometres of beach-side enjoyment. The walkway strolls past safe,  patrolled swimming areas, free BBQ and picnic tables, coffee and ice-cream kiosks, cafes and restaurants and the above delightful water playground that the kids just love. The other side of the walkway is a lush landscape of tropical plants and palms.

Townsville is also an army town with a large military barracks stationed here. At the southern end of the Strand we came across a “Garden of remembrance” it had only been constructed in 2005 and was a lovely shaded area of large trees and a number of walls of aggregate marble. Approximately 25% of these walls had brass plaques commemorating service men and women of the area that had died during the wars back to the first world war. It is a lovely way to acknowledge the bravery and patriotic duty of those that died, but what saddened me was to see the large area still left empty, and one assumes, waiting to be filled by plaques of future service men and women that die during war duty.

“Garden of remembrance”


This is only a small part of the number of walls, I think approx 16 walls.



Categories: Australia, photos, Townsville, travel | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Matilda has gone into the specialists for her op….

Matilda on the operating table

We said goodbye to the friendly people at Bivouac Junction at 7-30am and headed for Townsville. The road was good, the weather was perfect and Matilda purred along at a steady 90kph.

Robin at Town Automatics was expecting us and he gave the keys to Lockie, a very good-looking mechanic, to take her for a drive and asess the problem. He made us a cup of coffee (to steady our nerves…) and we waited for the verdict.

Twenty minutes later Lockie came in with the gear box innards. Oh dear, what a mess, dirty oil and metal shavings scattered through it. How had poor Matilda kept going…

This is the damage, notice all the metal filings in the very dirty oil…

Yes it was going to be a major operation the gear box will need to be rebuilt. Because of her age it will take time to locate the parts needed.

I ask, “how long?” Robin puts up 2 fingers, ” 2 days?” I say. “No, 2 weeks” Robin replies. I think we will get to know Townsville quite well…

OK next step, find accommodation. Sharon, the receptionist, steps in to help. Together we find in the local telephone directory the motels, caravan parks and even back packers. Sharon shows me where they are on a map and describes the areas for me. How far from town, if they are near the beach, shops, bus services, all invaluable information. Sharon is very busy, with the phone ringing constantly so I really appreciate her help.

Then I start to ring around….

I quickly find two things:

  1. School holidays start at the end of the week, therefore the budget accommodation is all booked
  2. In general accommodation is very expensive,it makes us realize how much we save on accommodation costs having our own bed with us.

Eventually I manage to find a cabin at Rowes Bay caravan park that we can rent for a week. It is a small box of a room, but 6 times bigger than the space in Matilda (what indulgence…) with a queen bed and small kitchenette with microwave, fridge, double hot plate and sink, but no en suite, the communal shower and toilet facilities are along the end of the row of cabins. It is just across the road from a very attractive beach, looking across to Magnetic Island. I class it as basic but clean and it is priced at $105 per night. RACQ road assist insurance will pay the first 5 days, thank goodness, then, if we are still waiting, we pay the next lot of accommodation. I have already checked out the back packers and it is $240 per week for a double room and shared facilities, so I have booked in there for the second week…

Our basic little cabin

Our view of the ocean


The walk down to the loo…


What an adventure, it is adding a whole new dimension to our trip this time. It is about 10 years since we stayed in Townsville. The last few trips north we have bypassed Townsville because it has been in a state of reconstruction for years, very difficult to drive around. All the main CBD area has been rebuilt. It had become a very scruffy, tired looking city. Now it is revitalised and we are looking forward to exploring and discovering this beautiful tropical paradise.



Categories: accomadation, Australia, australian travel, Townsville, travel | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

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