Remember our two-week outback trip last winter? We started out in Alice Springs, visited Kings Canyon (even saw it from above!), Uluru and Kata Tjuta, then headed north along dusty roads past the Alien capital of Australia and the Devil’s Marbles, took a turn in Tennant Creek towards the Queensland Outback, shared the road with vicious roadtrains, lots of wandering cattle and hordes of Grey Nomads, visited country towns that were famous for dinosaurs and mining, and now we finally arrive on the tropical Queensland coast in the sunny city of Townsville.
What a beautiful sight greets us when we first stroll to the waterfront – lush gardens with lawns so green it hurts your eyes, and water, water, water in the peaceful and romantic marina. We walk in the shade of palm trees and enjoy the views of the outlying islands in the distance, the lively birdlife and the leafy surroundings.
The kids get really excited when they spot the brilliant waterpark, which makes a point of getting them wet from head to toe within minutes. There is a huge bucket hovering about the kids’ heads, slowly filling with water, until tipping point, and then – whoosh! the bucket tips over and soaks everybody underneath! Great fun for everyone!
And it doesn’t really matter: while inland the mornings are chilly, it is here that we reconnect with summer and for the first time we feel that we are enjoying relaxing summer holidays away from the Sydney winter.
The port in Townsville has always been and still is a major force in the development and economy of the city. Actually, without the port there would be no Townsville at all, as the port is Northern Queensland’s connection to the outside world. Initially built to help ship out cattle from the region to the world, it soon became the lifeline that would support not just Townsville but also the hinterland and the mining industries. In the town centre you will find a collection of really nice historic buildings that will tell the stories of trade and prosperity.
If you plan to visit Townsville with kids then I would recommend a visit to the Reef HQ aquarium close to the port. It’s a great alternative to venturing out to the Great Barrier Reef itself, and a good way to educate the kids about the beauty and uniqueness of the marine world in tropical Queensland. We thoroughly enjoy the shark show that was hosted by a diver who was in the shark tank while explaining the facts about sharks to the kids.
Townsville will be our last stop on our outback trip before finally returning our beloved camper van in Cairns. We travel some more up north, enjoy the sights of endless sugar cane fields in bloom and the dark green backdrop of steep mountains covered in a blanket of rainforest. This is crocodile country, sugar cane country, mango country.
Stay tuned for my last post on the gorgeous Sea Temple Resort in Palm Cove which we revisited on this occasion after 10 years.