Having grown up in London and spending my first two years down under in Melbourne, it is safe to say I have been accustomed to a metropolitan lifestyle. When making the decision to move to Townsville, a city located in regional North Queensland, I was suitably apprehensive. Upon arrival, these worries disappeared entirely! I was welcomed with beautiful weather, palm trees and golden sandy beaches. I can say with confidence that this is where I was meant to be all along!
Not surprisingly, one of my favourite things about Townsville is the incredible weather. The city boasts a staggering 264 days of sun a year, how’s that for a selling point! During summer, it can get extremely hot and humid, which makes for the perfect opportunity to cool off at one of the many beaches around the city or if you’re lucky like myself, at home in your pool! The wet season does coincide with summertime so it’s important to pack a raincoat, however, rainy days are few and far between. Currently, we are in winter and the average temperature is around 27°C. I find this to be the perfect conditions for BBQs, beach swims and reading my book under the shade of the palm trees.
As a foodie, my biggest concern when moving from Melbourne to Townsville was ‘are there going to be any nice restaurants or cafés?!’ Townsville fortunately offers a number of wonderful places to eat, which cater for a wide array of appetites and cuisines. One of my favourites is Shorehouse, a Pan-Asian restaurant located on The Strand, the city’s beachfront. It boasts a classy yet cosy atmosphere that makes for the perfect date night or celebratory dinner with friends. Another favourite of mine is Grandma’s, a café which specialises in Shakshuka. This is a must for anyone that enjoys going out for breakfast at the weekend! If you’re a fan of fresh farm produce or food trucks, the Sunday Market on Flinders Street is another must see. Not only can you enjoy a bite to eat but you can also browse one of the stalls. I myself actually run a stall there selling pet portraits, so if you come along you must say hello!
As well as possessing a scene fit for a foodie, Townsville also has a number of bars and clubs which can be enjoyed after hours. The most popular of these is the Quarterdeck and casino found at The Ville, one of the city’s nicest hotels. Here, you can enjoy a sunset cocktail whilst looking out across their stunning pool to Magnetic Island. Once you have finished up you can head to the bustling Flinders Street where you can find a number of other places to go.
Something which I have enjoyed the most since arriving in Townsville is the number of opportunities to get out and explore the outdoors. The city itself is situated a short 20-minute ferry ride from Magnetic Island, a unique natural environment which boast palm-fringed beaches, hiking trails, snorkelling, koalas and more! To explore the island you can rent a colourful topless car reminiscent of something Barbie would drive or you can choose to take the bus. Townsville is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, which are a favourite of mine. One in particular that I like to go to is big crystal creek. As suggested by the name, you can bathe in crystal clear water whilst listening to the peaceful sound of falling water and the surrounding wildlife. Wallaman falls is another waterfall which should not be missed out on. As Australia’s largest single drop waterfall, it is most definitely a site to behold! Once you have finished up exploring the local waterfalls and hiking trails, you can camp out on Crystal Creek Beach Campground and enjoy waking up to the sunrise the following morning. Something I am extremely excited about is that whale season is almost upon us. There are fantastic opportunities to go whale watching in Townsville and the surrounding areas. Seeing whales in the wild is really a once in a lifetime opportunity which moved me to tears during my first encounter. Whilst we are on the topic of marine life, there is also some fantastic diving around Townsville given its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the Yongala, one of the world’s most famous wreck dives!