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A local’s guide to Townsville: Mark Allen from The Sweatshop

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Want to know how to get the most out of a trip to Townsville? Mark Allen from The Sweatshop café (eds note: business now closed) let’s us in on the local’s secrets.

For creative types

There’s so much to see at any of Townsville gallery’s like the Perc Tucker or Umbrella – but the Strand Ephemera is a highlight, incorporating the beautiful Strand and Townsville’s dynamic creative scene.

For a top-notch meal

Palmer Street Townsville

Palmer Street is Townsville’s restaurant strip and The Salt Cellar (eds note: business has changed ownership and name to Seasoned) has an amazing dinner tapas menu and great service. Try the duck shanks, they won’t disappoint.

For a night out

The Townsville Brewery

The Brewery on Flinders Street is in an amazing heritage-listed GPO building and has a relaxed atmosphere where you can hold a conversation and sample their range of hand-crafted beers.

For the best coffee

The Sweatshop has expertly made merlo coffee from talented baristas (disclaimer: I’m one of them) at a nice price and a great atmosphere. There’s a solo gallery and lots of books and games to play.

Best buy under $50

A couple of tickets to the Reef HQ Aquarium is a must. There’s so much to see and it gives you a great insight into the amazing marine life in the waters just off shore.

For the family

Mini Moke Magnetic Island | 28 ways to do the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet

You can either stay local and enjoy a BBQ at the rock pools at The Strand, or catch a quick ferry to have a picnic in the shade overlooking Alma Bay on Magnetic Island.

Unusual fact

It’s not widely known that Townsville was actually bombed during three air raids by the Japanese during World War II. They missed their targets and only took out a palm tree! Take the Forts Walk on Magnetic Island to experience the observation points and gun encampments built to protect Townsville during the war.


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