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Tropical Townsville

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We were looking forward to visiting Townsville as this the home of Reef HQ which houses the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium. Ben had visited during his ‘Best Job’ time and told us how exciting he had found it.

Our hosts for the stay in Townsville were BIG4 Walkabout Palms, a popular park on the outskirts of the town, convenient for the routes north and south but only 10 minutes drive to Townsville centre. There are many fun things for children to do here, jumping pillow, huge swimming pool, go-carts to hire and a games room with lots of space to play. There was plenty of space for us to park and connect up the Apollo motorhome with all the facilities needed to keep us on the road!

We arrived at Reef HQ and met up with Fred Nucifora, the Director, who gave us an excellent guided tour of the aquarium and associated background work.  As we walked along the 20 metre tunnel through the living coral reef aquarium, you could imagine you were diving around the wreck of the SS Yongala and seeing all the wonderful underwater life yourself, the fish swim right up to the glass around you and the view is amazing.

Lion fish

As well as sharks and other predatory fish, we saw a sword fish around 5ft in length and more than a little bit scary, so glad we didn’t meet his friends when we went snorkelling out at sea!

Fred took us to see the turtle hospital, where sick turtles lucky enough to have been rescued are cared for by dedicated staff,  brought back to health and then released back into the sea where they had been found.We also visited the ‘Coral Nursery’ and saw how they had been able to take small cuttings of coral and in the right conditions develop them so they could be replanted into the reef. There was great interest from both children and adults around the ‘touch pool’ where you can get your hands wet and hold some of the creatures living in the pool as well as learning all about them from the knowledgeable staff. We very much enjoyed our visit and you should definitely put Reef HQ on your ‘things to do’ list in Townsville.

Duncan the diver at Reef HQ

Tony O’Connor of ‘Kookaburra Tours‘, is a born and bred local, passionate about his town and runs a number of different tours that introduce visitors to the town and surrounding areas that he knows and loves so well. We joined the comprehensive ‘Townsville’s Heritage and Highlights City Sights Tour’ which took in The Strand (the 2.5k foreshore), Castle Hill lookout, the beautiful historical buildings in the town and out to Riverway, where there is a beautiful new complex which houses the Arts Centre, Pinnacles Gallery and 2 huge swimming lagoons. Other tours can be taken to visit the wetlands, the rainforest, out to Charters Towers or to visit Mungella Station and the Nywaigi people. Tony is a super guy and we learnt a lot about Townsville from his informative and entertaining commentary.

Magnetic Island from Castle Hill

If you are feeling fit and energetic you can walk or run to the top of Castle Hill where the views all around Townsville and over to Magnetic Island and beyond are stunning, or you can like us, drive up to admire the view!   We did, however, walk the length of The Strand, which runs along the foreshore and is very popular with joggers, dog walkers and families enjoying the outdoor activities and facilities along the way.

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