Townsville, from a different angle

Almost as flat as Adelaide, Townsville has the advantage of being in the tropics, so the landscape offers those luxurious views that are dominated by water. With a population of over 150 000, it is a reasonably big city and has everything you might need.

We started at The Strand, which is on the esplanade and has been developed with tourists in mind.


We circled the lagoon, created to keep swimmers safe(ish) from stingers, and then took a steep stone path up to what we found out was Kissing Point.

Stone steps leading up to Kissing Point

The name may be romantic, but I do not know how the title was coined. Originally a fort, in the late 19th century, the area became Jezzine Barracks, housing the military, and is now a military museum and encorporates Crossed Boomerang Amphitheatre which is an acknowledgement of the original owners of Garabarra, the Wulgurukaba people and the Bindal people.

There are walks, viewing platforms, canon, information plaques and tours (when Covid allows).

We returned to The Strand, and walked along the esplanade, where there are water parks, playgrounds and other interesting diversions . This artwork, titled ‘Bazza and Shazza’ (Aussie slang for Barry and Sharon), can also be used, as demonstrated by my husband.

Permanent Public Art, Bazza and Shazza, designed by Jan Hynes and created by Alison Curtis and Sarah Bliss.

And then there is the jetty and Ocean Siren.

Townsville jetty, where anglers try their luck

This interesting sculpture, the Ocean Siren, is part of the Museum of Underwater Art. It is thoroughly fascinating, as it is modelled on a local traditional owner, Takoda, and it changes colour according to the temperature of the water. There is a board explaining how to read the colour.

You can just see the legs are pale blue, corresponding to a temp of 25-26C.

As many people are concerned about stingers and water temperature, the beach features a board with this information. So, I could compare the accuracy of the Ocean Siren.

The sign says water temp is 23C. That’s close to the Siren.

The boards also have information about ‘stingers’, which are either box jellyfish and Irukandji and, as the popular name suggests, they are capable of delivering a very painful sting that can be lethal. They are only present in tropical Queensland as far as I know, and we certainly don’t have anything like that in South Australia, where the water is far too cold, I think.

This was our third visit to Townsville, so we tried to go to less conventional tourist spots.

Ross River Dam is both 80% of the water source and flood control centre of the region. Built in the early 1970s, and last upgraded in 2007, the dam is also listed as a nationally significant wetland, providing shelter to endangered birdlife and a destination for birds migrating from the Arctic (source: Townsville City Council noticeboards).

view from the walkway of the dam

From here, it’s a short drive to Riverway Stadium and lagoons. The former is recognised as an AFL standard stadium and is the centrepiece to this cultural and community area.

An Art Centre borders a public swimming area and walkway that hugs the Ross River.

wide open lagoons
The door to the Arts Centre across the water
Rain trees in the park
magpie geese along the river’s edge
turtles bobbing up regularly

As a stopover before hitting the Whitsunday Coast, or as a good family spot, Townsville has a lot to offer. Previously visited were the town centre lookouts and Castle Hill, which are excellent places for a view.

Travel Safe, carry water, hats and sunscreen.


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