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Townsville
Townsville coast The Townsville region includes a rich variety of landscapes including fertile sugar and mango growing areas, island national parks and resorts, rainforests with raging rivers and waterfalls and historic gold mining areas. The winter weather is warm and mild and the area is an ideal winter destination for a dose of sunshine, history and natural beauty.

Climate
The Townsville area has a tropical climate, but due to its geographical location, rainfall is not as high as elsewhere in the tropics. Summer daytime temperatures climb above 30C with high humidity, while in winter daytime temperatures reach the mid-twenties. Rainfall is highest in the summer months. Further north, rainfall is higher and more evenly spread throughout the year.

How do I get there?
Townsville has an airport, with services from most capital cities. By road, it can be reached via the Bruce Highway which follows the Queensland coast from Brisbane all the way to Cairns. Townsville can also be reached by train with daily services from Brisbane on the Sunlander, which takes 24 hours, or the Tilt train, which takes 18 hours. Coaches also service the Brisbane-Townsville route.

What are the main towns?
The main towns in the region include: Townsville, Tully, Ingham, Ayr, Cardwell, Charters Towers and Innisfail.

Where can I stays?
Travelmate has a wide range of accommodation in the region to suit every budget.

What's there to do in the region?
Townsville, together with its twin city Thuringowa, is Australia's largest tropical city. Declared a city in 1903, it is north Queensland's administrative, commercial and manufacturing centre. The Strand has waterfalls, tropical parks and hanging bougainvillea gardens. There's also a rockpool where you can enjoy swimming all year round - even in marine stinger season. Reef HQ is an aquarium which features displays of the marine life found in the tropical waters offshore. The ocean off Townsville is famed for its game fishing, especially black marlin. Magnetic Island lies off the coast a few kilometres north of Townsville. Much of the island is National Park and there is a large koala population as well as wallabies, possums and a variety of native birds.

The Townsville region stretches along the coast to the north and south. As you head north from Townsville, you will come to Ingham. It has a distinctly Mediterranean feel due to the workers from the region who came to work the sugar cane fields. Offshore lies Orpheus Island, a volcanic island which is mostly national park, except for an exclusive resort.

Further north lies Cardwell, once destined to be North Queensland's capital until it was overtaken by Townsville. To the west of Cardwell you will find Edmund Kennedy National Park, a haven for a huge variety of birds. Offshore lies Hinchinbrook Island, the largest island national park in Australia, separated from the mainland by the picturesque Hinchinbrook Channel.

Heading north again, you reach Tully, home of the Big Gumboot. This monstrous piece of rainwear is a symbol of Tully's claim to be the wettest place in Australia - a title hotly contested by several near neighbours. However, the high rainfall makes the local crops - tea, sugar and bananas - grow and fills the Tully River, a mecca for whitewater rafters. Northeast of Tully on the coast lies Mission Beach, where the rainforest reaches all the way down to the beach. This is cassowary territory and if you are lucky you may spot one of the giant flightless birds as you follow one of the walking trails through the rainforest. Off Mission Beach lie the island resorts of Dunk Island and exclusive Bedarra Island.

At the northern end of the Townsville region is Innisfail. From here, it is just a short hop to Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands.

To the south of Townsville lies Ayr and its twin town, Home Hill. The towns straddle the Burdekin River and are linked by the Silver Link bridge, half as long again as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The area is agricultural with sugar and mangoes being the principal produce.

To the southeast of the twin towns is Bowen, famed for its Bowen mangoes. It has a chain of eight unspoilt beaches which are popular for swimming, snorkelling and fishing. The lookout at Flagstaff Hill provides expansive coastal views towards the Whitsundays. Bowen is richly decorated with murals and a walk detailing the works on show is available.

Inland from Ayr is the goldmining town of Charters Towers. In its heyday it was Queensland's second-largest town, with a population of over 30,000. The town has many fine buildings dating from the goldrush times, including the Stock Exchange, the only one built outside a state capital. The Venus Gold Battery, preserved by the National Trust, was once one of 29 ore crushing operations in the area.



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