We are so lucky to live in this gorgeous region we call Townsville, and there is nothing better than exploring it with your family. From beaches to mountains, from reef to rainforest, it doesn’t get much better than this. So it comes as no surprise that many locals spend their weekends camping, hiking, or fishing with their families, but with so many spots to choose from, where do you even start?
Camping is available on High and Russell Islands for those seeking a bush-camping experience. Both sites are accessible by private boat and have limited facilities. The lush vegetation, pristine beaches, and diverse wildlife of the islands will make your trip one to remember.
King Reef Resort
You’ll find these pet-friendly campgrounds right on the beachfront of the gorgeous Kurrimine Beach. Take a stroll, hire a family bike or play on the waterslide on-site. The family certainly won’t get bored at King Reef Resort.
Hinchinbrook Island is a haven for campers. There’s Scrappy Point, North and South Macushla, Banksia Bay, Banshee Bay, North and South Zoe Bay, George Point, Sunset Beach and Mulligan Bay.
If camping in an open woodland area surrounded by eucalyptus trees and the sounds of native birds sounds like your kind of thing, then Broadwater in Abergrowie State Forest is the way to go. There’s a river nearby for swimming and toilet and shower facilities for your convenience.
Enjoy all the benefits of staying near the beach while returning to a shady open camping area at the end of the day. The area is popular with families and great for fishing. Plus pets are welcome to come along too.
Also known as Big Crystal Creek, Paradise Waterhole really lives up to its name. Taking a dip in this crystal-clear pool is sure to lift your spirits on a humid day. The camping area is close by but it can get busy.
Camp in a shady open woodland area adjacent to the tranquil Stony Creek for a great family-friendly getaway. The grounds are just a short drive away from the stunning Wallaman Falls, the highest permanent single-drop waterfall in Australia.
For a true bush camping experience away from internet and technology, Goshen Station is the way to go. You can camp right by the Herbert River where you can cool down kayaking and swimming. Bring your dogs too, as long as they don’t chase the cattle on the station.
You’ll find Lake Paluma nestled among lush rainforests and teeming with wildlife. There are toilets and BBQs and the lake is a popular destination for swimming, boating, and kayaking, making it an excellent family-friendly location.
If you’re willing to make the journey North, Ferries to Fitzroy Island depart daily from Cairns. Sleep next to the Great Barrier Reef, watch the sunrise from the island, go snorkelling, hike up to the lighthouse or have a BBQ at the beach… ahhhh the possibilities.
Maidenhair Lower Track, Castle Hill
This trail offers a pleasant walk while still boasting impressive views of Mount Stuart. If you’re a beginner or have little ones with you who aren’t keen on walking too far, this track is a great place to start. You’ll be rewarded with beautiful views for minimal effort.
This walk is short and easy, making it perfect for even the youngest of hikers. Follow the trail through melaleuca forest within a seasonal wetland and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area.
Shelly Cove Trail
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Follow an old access road in Cape Pallarenda through the woodlands to the pristine beach that is Shelly Cove. The track itself is short, but you’ll find a few large rock steps along the way.
The Forts Walk
You’ll find this trail on Magnetic Island, winding through the rainforest and ending up at the ruins of the forts complex from WWII. While the views in the end are incredible, the ruins themselves are a great way to work a little history education into your day.
West Ridge Track, Castle Hill
While this track is relatively flat, it does have a few steep but steady bits that’ll get you puffing. However, the stunning 360-degree views of Magnetic Island and Mount Stuart certainly make the difficult parts worth it.
Enjoy the beauty of the Dalrymple Creek and the historic features of this track, dating all the way back to 1860. Watch the scenery around you change from rainforest to bush as you follow the track, and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as possums and honeyeaters.
The 32km Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island is a massive feat for all hiking enthusiasts. As you can expect, it’s not a day trip kind of thing. Most people will take three days to one week to hike the entire trail and there are organised charters to guide you along
Fishing at Ross River can be accessed from land as well as boat. The river holds the famous barramundi as well as Spanish mackerel, grunter, golden snapper, and much more.
You’ll find many locals trying their luck at The Strand Jetty. This location is family-friendly with playgrounds and designated swimming areas nearby. Species you may catch include barramundi, mackerel, and whiting.
For those targeting species like mangrove jack, Spanish mackerel and barramundi, Rowes Bay is a great spot to fish as well as soak up the beautiful surroundings. There are even charters available which include permits, bait, gear, and more.