Our first day in Townsville was spent visiting as much of the city as we could in one day. We headed off from the motorhome quite early on the Tuesday morning and made the 26km trek back into the city armed with the ‘must see spots’.
Our first visit was to The Strand. This popular foreshore icon stretches some 2.5km and provides stunning views across Cleveland Bay to Magnetic Island (or Maggie Island as the locals call it). On the seaward side of The Strand are a number of saltwater swimming pools, plenty of walkways and grass areas. On the city side of The Strand is a mix of early century buildings and very flash apartment complexes.
A building that took our fancy historically was the Criterion Hotel. The first Criterion Hotel was built in 1865 from logs sourced along the edges of the Ross River. In 1869 the “Log Cabin” it was replaced with a more substantial two level timber building – still retaining the name Criterion Hotel. In 1903 the hotel was severely damaged in Cyclone Leonta and it was decided to rebuild the hotel using more permanent materials. The current building was completed in 1904. There is a number of this type of architecture all around the waterfront in Townsville.
We made a visit to the Reef HQ Aquarium. There were some stunning fish in the huge tanks. While we try not to compare, we believe that the Kelly Tarlton Aquarium is right up there with the best. A different range of fish perhaps but it’s a different seascape. A few photographs HERE .
We did plenty of walking around the city today. Walked along the Ross River, across the Victoria Bridge, a bit of ‘inner city’ stuff so Dearne could look at a few shops and poked around the various spots of interest. A few shots of our walk HERE .
Today was spent in the Paluma Range National Park. The Park is about 60km north of Townsville, is at an altitude of 1000 metres and overlooks Halifax Bay. Paluma was first settled when alluvial tin was discovered in the Mt Spec region in 1875. During World War II the area was recognised as strategically important. A secret radar unit comprising around 50 American troops were stationed at the peak of the Park. The troops installed a radar unit that was used to detect and track Japanese bombers, then alert Townsville before any attack.
The Park consists of tropical rainforest, relatively easy walking tracks of different lengths, lakes, creeks, wildlife and any number of lookouts. Click HERE to see a few shots of our day.
What was the ‘take home message’ for the day? Make sure you have a full tank of gas before heading out in the jeep. When a local tells you the place you want to see is “just up the road” be aware that just up the road could 200km!!! While we didn’t run dry, our return home to the closest servo was a very nervous journey.
Tomorrow we head further north. While we could go the distance and get to Cairns, we have decided to stopover in the little place called Tully Beach. It is a freedom camping spot that ‘apparently’ is good for mud crabs. We have the crab pots so will see what happens.