Ranging from natural escapes to fascinating museums, we have tried and tested the best things to do in Townsville (QLD) with kids.
Townsville is home to an impressive assortment of attractions and family activities to suit all ages. Whether you’re visiting for the day or the week, filling your itinerary with various memorable family activities in Townsville couldn’t be easier – whether you’re planning a trip to the beloved Great Barrier Reef or are eager to visit some of the city’s captivating museums or parks.
Are you heading on a trip with the family to Townsville? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ve listed the best things to do with kids in Townsville. Check it out below!
There are a huge range of Townsville tourist attractions for families and the good news is that a lot of them are free. We just love a good list of free things to do in any area, so we have detailed our favourite family friendly free things to do in Townsville too!
This guide will outline the very best and fun things to do in Townsville with kids. In our opinion, Townsville is suitable for toddlers, kids and teenagers alike. From indoor Ninja courses to outdoor swimming holes, to yummy places to eat, and day trips further afield, we have outlined in detail our experience at these Townsville attractions.
Adventurous activities and tours
There are some wonderful adventurous activities and tours in and around Townsville we just know you will love, so here is our list.
Located 8 km off the shore of Townsville is Magnetic Island – a serene, natural paradise on the city’s doorstep. Families often gather to enjoy the many beautiful beaches surrounding the island. Though if you’re looking for a bit more excitement, there are plenty of things to see and do – including kayaking, sailing, diving, and so much more. Though the best part is that it’s only a short, 20-minute ferry ride away from Townsville.d.
Looking for inspiration? We wrote about the best things to do on Magnetic Island here.
Great Barrier Reef
If you’re staying in Townsville for a few days, it’s well worth your time to visit the largest coral reef system in the world – the beloved Great Barrier Reef. Grab the family and set off on an exciting tour to see the reef up close and learn more about the fascinating ecosystem.
This Great Barrier Reef Snorkel Tour is a great option for families visiting Townsville. Both adults and kids can easily enjoy floating within the colourful, lively reef – accompanied by an experienced crew with all the necessary snorkelling equipment included.
Best swimming holes near Townsville
There are a good handful of stunning places to swim with kids in Townsville, so we’ve made a list just for you!
Little Crystal Creek
Little crystal creek is a wonderful swimming spot off the highway. The kids loved swimming, and they even made friends with some little underwater creatures! We highly recommend this place to any families passing by.
Another great option for families eager to escape Townsville for the day is a trip to Wallaman Falls. Located within Girringin National Park, this single-drop waterfall is the highest in Australia and is only 2 hours from the city.
Families can bask in the full glory of Wallaman Falls from the main lookout. Otherwise, if you’re in the mood for an adventure, you can embark on a 3.2 km round-trip from the lookout to the base of the waterfall.
To cool off and escape the heat, consider making the trip over to the Riverway Lagoon. Though the upper-lagoon is more suited for swimming laps, the lower region is perfect for kids to relax, build sandcastles, and splash in the shallow water. Plus, with plenty of trees nearby, there’s plenty of shade to accompany a refreshing swim.
Yongala Wreck is an underwater shipwreck that sank south of Townsville in 1911 due to a cyclone. Today, it’s one of the most popular wreck dives in the world and proves to be an entertaining, exciting venture for families to enjoy while visiting the city.
If you’re eager to explore the wreck, the Yongala Wreck Dive Trip is a perfect choice. Alongside an experienced and professional crew, you can expect to see an assortment of marine creatures – including gropers, eagle rays, turtles, and more. Plus, morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea are also included.
There are SO many, and I mean SO many outdoor activities in Townsville, but we recommend you do them in the early morning or late evening so the sun doesn’t burn you to death, (yes that is what it feels like).
Who doesn’t love a good farmers market? For families looking for a quality market to visit, Cotter’s Markets is the answer. After all, it’s an icon of Townsville and has been running in the city for 35 years. Families gather to shop for fresh produce, herbs, and exotic goods – often accompanied by live music. If you’re looking for something to do on a Sunday morning, head over to the central business district to enjoy Cotter’s Markets.
Hours: Sunday (8 am to 1 pm)
Address: 334 Flinders St, Townsville QLD 4810
Website: Click here
Are you on the prowl for an up-close animal experience with the kids? If so, you simply can’t look past a visit to the Billabong Sanctuary. The facility holds a wide range of creatures to admire – including koalas, red kangaroos, echidnas, emus, cockatoos, eagles, snakes, crocs, and so much more. If you need a moment to rest and recharge, there’s even a cafe open all day offering light meals, desserts, and cold drinks. For more information on show times or to plan your visit, head over to the Billabong Sanctuary website.
Hours: Monday to Sunday (9 am to 2 pm)
Address: 11 Country Rd, Nome QLD 4816
Website: Click here
While you’re visiting Castle Hill, be sure to stop by and enjoy the serenity of Queens Gardens – located at the base of the hill. This heritage-listed botanic garden is the oldest in Townsville – covering 4 hectares and featuring spectacular, lush greenery with a pink granite cliff backdrop. For families looking to escape the bustle and relax, a stroll through Queens Gardens is a must-do.
Admire the beauty of Townsville from above with a trip up Castle Hill – conveniently located in the centre of the city. Convenient vehicle access is available for families craving the beautiful panoramic views. Otherwise, walking trails are also available for those eager to set off on an adventure. Though for the most spectacular views, consider making your way to the top at sunrise or sunset – and make sure you have the camera ready.
A visit to Townsville is simply incomplete without stopping by the Stand – a seaside hub with a wide variety of features for the whole family to enjoy. For the little ones, there’s a water park, vibrant playgrounds, rock pools, beaches, and more. And for the parents, there’s an assortment of cafes and restaurants accompanied by picture-perfect views of Magnetic Island looming in the distance. With the variety on offer, filling your day at the Stand couldn’t be easier.
Hours: Monday to Sunday (open 24 hours)
Address: 37-43 The Strand, North Ward QLD 4810
If you’re keen to get some shopping done while you’re in Townsville, then be sure to head over to Flinders Street. In this energetic hub, you’ll find plenty of souvenir stores, local clothing, boutiques, and more. And if you need to split up all the shopping with a bite to eat, there are plenty of nearby cafes to choose from.
Another beautiful botanic park of Townsville is the Palmetum – located along University Road in Douglas. The parkland extends over 17 hectares and is home to a range of palm subspecies, birds, water features, and vast lawns. Strolling through the gardens is a peaceful venture, perfect for families looking to unwind and relax.
Address: University Rd, Douglas QLD 4814
If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy a relaxing picnic, Soroptimist Park is a worthy choice. The parkland is home to a range of facilities to ensure a comfortable and convenient visit – including BBQ areas and shaded spots. For the kids, there’s an adventure playground that’s suitable for all kids – including children with disabilities. With the variety on offer in the park, there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy.
Hours: Monday to Sunday (open 24 hours)
Address: Belgian Gardens QLD 4810
Paluma Range National Park
Families eager to escape Townsville for the day can head north-west of the city to Paluma Range National Park – home to lush rainforests and peaceful waterfalls for the whole family to explore. The park is just under 2 hours from the city and is a great spot for swimming, walking, fishing, admiring lookouts, or enjoying a picnic.
Some of the more popular locations in the Paluma Range National Park include Jourama Falls and Mount Spec. For families on the hunt for a natural escape, Paluma Range National Park is a great choice.
Townsville Street Art
The street art of Townsville has continued to grow over recent years, offering visitors a chance to admire local artwork and experience the city from a unique perspective. In the city’s collection are commissioned pieces by acclaimed artists, including HAHA, ROA, Lee Harnden, the RUN Collective, and plenty more. While you’re walking through the streets of the city, be sure to keep an eye out for these colourful artworks. Or, set off on a street walking trail to get the full experience. To see the street walking trail, head to the Townsville City Council Website.
Website: Townsville Street Art
There are also heaps of indoor activities in Townsville, like the Ninja Parc, which the kids loved.
Ninja Parc, Townsville
For kids in the mood for some adventure and action, take a trip to the indoor obstacle course at Ninja Parc. The facility has a little something for everyone – including more than 20 obstacles, a warped wall, pole maze, climbing park, races, and so much more. Trained staff are also present to guide kids through the obstacles safely. For more information or to make a booking, head over to the Ninja Parc website.
Hours: Monday to Friday (10 am to 6 pm) Saturday and Sunday (9 am to 3 pm)
Address: 18 Black Hawk Blvd, Thuringowa Central QLD 4817
Website: Ninja Parc
Army Museum North Queensland
A visit to the Army Museum North Queensland is a captivating venture the whole family can enjoy – with plenty of exhibits showcasing North Queensland army history.
The museum is split into 3 galleries, each with different focal points. These include the history of the Australian army of North Queensland in the 1800s, World War 1 and 2, and contemporary conflicts. With this variety on offer, a visit to the Army Museum North Queensland can be very fascinating. For more information or to plan your visit, head to the Army Museum North Queensland website.
Hours: Sunday, Wednesday, Friday (9 am to 1 pm)
Address: Mitchell St, Townsville QLD 4810
Website: Army Muesuem North Queensland
Museum of Underwater Art
A visit to the Museum Of Underwater Art is unlike anything else you’ve experienced. As the name suggests, the museum features a series of underwater sculptures by Jason deCaries Taylor – which showcases reef restoration, education, and conservation. Some of the most iconic pieces include Ocean Siren and Coral Greenhouse. A visit to the Museum Of Underwater Art is a great way to gain a deeper appreciation of the reef. For more information or to plan your visit, head over to the Museum Of Underwater Art website.
Hours: Monday to Friday (open 24 hours)
Address: 340 Flinders St, Townsville QLD 4810
Website: Musuem of Underwater Art
Reef HQ Aquarium
If you’re eager to experience the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef without jumping in, the Reef HQ Aquarium is the answer. The facility is the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium and is home to a wide assortment of exhibits and activities to suit the whole family. This includes reef tunnels and tanks, home to marine creatures and colourful coral species to admire. For more information or to plan your visit, head to the Reef HQ Aquarium website.
Hours: Monday to Friday (10:30 am to 5 pm) Saturday and Sunday (9 am to 5 pm)
Address: 2/68 Flinders St, Townsville QLD 4810
Website: Reef HQ
Museum Of Tropical Queensland
There’s a little something for every member of the family to enjoy at the Museum Of Tropical Queensland. The facility is home to a wide variety of natural history and archeology exhibits for kids to explore. And if you need to take a moment to recharge from all the action, there’s also a museum cafe located nearby.
To top it all off, since the Museum Of Tropical Queensland is conveniently located in the same place as the Reef HQ Aquarium, planning your visit couldn’t be easier. For more information, head to the Museum of Tropical Queensland website
Hours: Monday to Sunday (9 am to 4 pm)
Address: 70-102 Flinders St, Townsville QLD 4810
Website: Museum of Tropical Queensland
Places to eat with kids
There are heaps of family friendly places to eat with kids in Townsville.
Wild rice Laos & Thai Cuisine
The first Lao and Thai Restaurant in Townsville. Blending the fresh, zesty flavours of Laos with the classic sweet and sour flavours of Thailand.
Website: Wild Rice Laos & Thai Cuisine
Ribs and Rumps
At Ribs and Rumps, every occasion is a celebration of life. It’s the place to catch up with friends or share special moments with family. There is a complete kids menu, including pasta, nuggets and even steak!
Website: Townsville – Ribs and Rumps
Everybody loves a burger, and Grill’d defiantly knows how to make a good burger. The kids menu has a great variety of burgers, and the adults menu has even more!
Website: Grill’d Healthy Burgers
GYO Japanese Tapas Bar Restaurant
The GYO Japanese Tapas Bar Restaurant is wonderful for any family who loves Japanese food. The menu has so many unique Japanese foods and there is something for everyone!
Website: GYO Japanese Tapas Bar Restaurant
Family friendly accommodation
These are our top pics of places to stay at Townsville
Aquarius On The Beach
Aquarius On The Beach is located on The Strand Promenade, 5 minutes’ drive from Jupiters Casino and Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre. Townsville Airport is a 10-minute drive away.
Website: Click here
The Ville Resort – Casino
With some hotel floors renovated in March 2016, The Ville Resort – Casino offers a variety of air-conditioned rooms and suites, each with a minibar and a private en suite bathroom.
Website: Click here
Oaks Townsville Gateway Suites
Oaks Townsville Gateway Suites is located on the waterfront and conveniently close to the CBD fringe. Guests enjoy 30 minutes of free internet access per day, per room.
Website: Click here
The best things to do in Townsville with kids
Townsville is home to an extensive range of activities to keep the whole family entertained for days on end. Whether you’re chasing a natural escape or a more educational experience, the city can cater to your needs. Next time you make the trip to Townsville, consider filling your itinerary with some of these exciting experiences.
Visit Australia’s Grand Canyon on a Townsville to Porcupine Gorge Road Trip – Click here
If you’re heading north, check out the best things to do in Cairns with kids – Click here
Things to do on Magnetic Island with kids – click here