Townsville turns out to be terrific place for a Qld getaway

I AM going to be frank from the start and say that Townsville has never featured on my wish list of places to go.

Now that I have been there, I'm beginning to wonder why I dismissed this gem of the far north as a place to holiday.

With majestic beaches, the beautiful Magnetic Island just a 20 minute ferry ride away and a variety of activities, hotels and dining venues to explore, Townsville is a refreshing and enjoyable tourist destination that will surprise many.

I visited Townsville with a group of other journalists who were also blessed with the task of discovering the delights of the area.

We spent the first night at the Mercure Townsville, a resort-style hotel with 144 rooms.

It was no surprise to hear the hotel handled up to seven weddings a weekend, as the sprawling grounds, water views and plush rooms lend themselves to an enjoyable stay and make an ideal venue to host such an occasion.

After a great dinner that included delicacies such as kangaroo and crocodile, we got a chance to get to know each other in the pool and spa area, drinking champagne in the relaxing surrounds for a few hours before retiring to our rooms for the evening.

The next morning was tough.

Getting up early, especially on a weekend, has never really been for me, but thankfully we went to a cute little cafe restaurant called Jam Corner where I was revived by sweet hot chocolate and a variety of delicious crepes.

After breakfast, we took the ferry across to Magnetic Island.

This is where the fun really started.

We zoomed around the island in Tropical Topless rental cars, which are little convertible jeeps.

We saw the island's expansive beaches and swam in the sea.

For me, the highlight was getting to feed some rock wallabies that are abundant on the island.

We stopped for a quick bite of lunch and then, after cruising around the island, some more and taking in the breathtaking views, we were on our way again.

We then went to The Brewery, where Townsville Light and Townsville Bitter are brewed.

I'm not much of a beer connoisseur, but it was refreshing to have a taste of several of the brewery's different creations while recovering from a day out in the sun.

That night we checked in at the Ibis Townsville and it wasn't long before we were whisked away to the popular Sugatrain restaurant, located right next door.

In the morning we hit the road early, cruising the picturesque Strand before stopping at the C Bar for breakfast, while enjoying a perfect view of the ocean.

Later at the Reef HQ Aquarium we were brought up close and personal with creatures and coral from the Great Barrier Reef.


>> To read more travel stories

Welcome grant makes smooth entrance

premium_icon Welcome grant makes smooth entrance

With an eye-catching showground it’s no wonder the little things get missed

Local cancer treatment returns ‘excellent’ results: report

premium_icon Local cancer treatment returns ‘excellent’ results: report

Local patients experiencing ‘excellent’ results, fewer side effects.

Everything you need to know about the new border pass

premium_icon Everything you need to know about the new border pass

Here is everything you need to know about entering Queensland