18th - 20th May
We arrived on Sunday afternoon and everything was dead. There was no one about, everything was closed, it all looked a bit run down... not really the best first impression. We checked into the Ibis Townsville hotel and decided to take a stroll around the town and see whether the aquarium was open. It was very strange to walk through Townsville. It looked completely abandoned! Luckily the aquarium, Reef HQ, was open - which probably had about 10 people there.
We bought two student tickets and were allowed to come back a second time for free if we wanted to. I forgot my camera so was really happy about that, the photos in this post are from our second trip! The aquarium is really nice, it has the world’s largest living coral reef inside and contains 2.5 million litres!
We arrived at 15.15, and at 15.30 they had the Turtle Hospital talk. It was so exciting to go to the turtle hospital! They had two turtles there at the moment, usually they have more but turtles seem to be doing pretty well! They were both Green Turtles, which are the most common in Australia. The turtle we saw at the Whitsunday was a Green Turtle too! They were massive!! We were told that turtles usually stay underwater for about 45 minutes, but can stay under for up to 4 hours!
After the turtle hospital we went through the viewing tunnel. One one side the tunnel has a predator exhibit. This had another rescued turtle as well as a huge sawfish and some other sharks and fish. The other side had the coral reef exhibit. The difference between this aquarium and the one in London and Melbourne is that this was all on ground level, whereas the other were underground. This made it much easier to take photos but also looked completely different.
After the aquarium we had some dinner on Palmer Street, which is where our hotel is, but is also a great restaurant street!
The second day in Townsville we decided to go to Magnetic Island. We took the 8.45 ferry and a return cost £30. It was pretty overcast in Townsville, but on Magnetic Island it was actually really pretty! It isn't too far away on the ferry, probably about 15 minutes? We arrived in Nelly Bay and decided we wanted to walk from bay to bay... That didn't work out very well. Magnetic Island is great for walking and there are a number of amazing walks ranging from 15 minutes to 2.5 hours. However, there aren't any paths from the different bays if you want to walk along the beaches. We walked from Nelly Bay to Alma Bay and although there was a path to begin with, most of the time we had to walk alongside roads. I would definitely recommend taking the bus which I believe goes every hour.
The beaches at Magnetic Island are very different from anything we've seen before going up the coast. It's actually a pebble beach!
We didn't spend too long on Magnetic Island as we were a bit zombie-like. Our 12 journey followed by a day trip to Whitehaven beach and then back onto the bus to Townsville kind of caught up with us. We were exhausted.
After a quick nap at our hotel we went back to the aquarium. The town was still pretty empty and strange to walk though, but since we were so exhausted it was nice to have a bit of peace and quiet! Overall we did quite like Townsville, we had the most amazing burrito's there, the aquarium was great and we got to see the Turtle Hospital, Magnetic Island was beautiful and we would have loved to see more of it. It was more of an in between place for us, catching up on some sleep before we head to Cairns!