Douglas Walking Track
Need to blow off steam or get in some good calf-burning exercise? The Douglas Walking Track is located conveniently on a mountain right behind campus. 500 steps take you up to beautiful views of Mt. Stuart, Castle Hill, Magnetic Island, and the ocean. Up for a challenge? Continue past the first lookout point for a steep but rewarding climb. Wallabies, Kangaroos, Cockatoos, Lorikeets, and even Edchinas can be found here. My friends and I love to climb this track at sunset because of all the active wildlife.
Sunday City Farmers Market + Pedlar Project
Take the 201 bus or catch a ride down to the City and enjoy the Sunday morning local markets! The Cotters Markets run from 8 am to 1 pm, where you can enjoy local produce and unique Aussie food and finds. My personal suggestions from a Gluten-Free gal: Try the GF Vegan donuts-don't forget the raspberry topping- and try the freshly squeezed watermelon and passionfruit juice from the fruit shop!
“Hey Sydney, where can I get a good cup of coffee?”
I'm glad you asked. I currently have a slight addiction to Townsville’s coffee scene. My top picks have to be Pedlar Project, which is near the Sunday Markets, or Juliettes- right near the beach! Any coffee shop you choose is a fair bet, they all have outdoor seating, locally roasted beans, free Wifi, and tropical views.
Ask any local bloke and they’ll tell you The Strand is the worst beach ever. But those are the same people who have grown up surfing in Byron Bay or enjoying the views on the Sunny Coast. Personally, everytime I go down to the Strand I get butterflies in my stomach because of how excited I am!!!! Swimming, tanning, or studying while surrounded by big palm trees and crystal clear water. Sailing, run clubs, jet skiing, and more all take place along the Strand, as well as monthly Full Moon Drum Circles! Back home in GA, I grew up swimming in murky water that was brown… or even black and green. Yall have no idea what nasty water I swam in before coming here! It’s all about perspective. When visiting Townsville, don't let the negativity get to you- try everything out for yourself.
Enjoying your time in the City? Look up! The giant Orange mountain- Castle Hill- happens to be one of my favorite spots for rock climbing and casual hiking. The views from the top are incredible, and definitely worth the adventure. It can be a bit windy, so don't forget your jumper!
Frosty Mango and Crystal Creek
Imagine what Jurassic Park looks like: lush greenery, crazy looking animals, and rolling mountains separated by cascading waterfalls. Welcome to Crystal Creek, part of the Paluma National Park & Rainforest. The drive is about 50 minutes from campus and is a perfect spot for a weekend getaway. Cliff jumping, hiking, bush camping, and swimming are some perfect activities for your time spent in Paluma. Head down to Big Crystal to ride the Natural Waterslides! A series of weathered, slippery rocks with a thundering flow of water provide the perfect slide into a large natural whirlpool. Watch your step!
Tired after all the swimming? Ready to eat some sugar? Pop on over to the Frosty Mango! Even just thinking about it while writing this makes my mouth water. You haven't had a real mango smoothie until you order the Frosty Mango’s mango smoothie. Enough said.
Jourama Falls is a popular spot for hiking, swimming, but most of all- canyoning! (Important note: DO NOT attempt without previous rock climbing and rappelling experience! Guides can be hired to take you down the waterfalls if you are inexperienced or unsure of your capabilities.) My partner and I decided to rappel the entire waterfall system from top to bottom, and it was quite the adventure. First, hike up to the Jourama Falls Lookout area. Once you think you can't go any further, bush-bash your way uphill for several miles until you reach the head of the falls. Protection is necessary, hook yourself into the provided anchors to descend onto the edge. Once my partner and I swam and climbed through the pools to the edge of the first falls, we rigged up the ropes and an anchor, and rapped off the side of the extremely slippery, gushing waterfall. I learned an important lesson that day: keep your mouth shut and your head down, or you’ll choke on gallons of water!
I love adrenaline filled adventures, especially when surrounded by beautiful nature and crystal clear waterfalls. We completed the whole canyoning series down the falls in about 10 hours, but not without some bumps along the way. Townville is perfect for those adrenaline enthusiasts, but once again, know your limits, be safe, and always wear a helmet!
Last, but certainly not least: Magnetic Island. Take a 15 minute ferry ride from Townsville City to your own private tropical paradise. Snorkel at Nelly Bay to see turtles and sharks, or at Geoffrey Bay to see a sunken shipwreck. Enjoy local food and bev shops spread across the island, and soak in the sunshine. Up for a challenge? Book your scuba diving courses with ProDive to get more out of your time. The coral reefs are incredible and I have seen nudibranch, octopus, cuttlefish, stingrays, sharks, eels, and thousands of colorful reef fish.
Don't forget to visit the friendly rock wallabies as you hike along serene beaches. If you're lucky, you may even have the chance to spot the local wild koalas who live in the gum trees along the trails.
Hope you enjoyed these suggestions! Maybe i'll see you around sometime.