We used to call Townsville home, it feels like a life time ago and so much has changed but Townsville was home for almost three years. Faelan was born in Townsville and we both have a lasting memory of spending a lot of time in the air con.

The majority of our time in Townsville this trip was spending time with Nieces and Nephews and the kids getting to know their cousins better. We were last here for Christmas in 2019, almost 2 years ago, and we keep up on video chat but watching the funny stage of the kids getting to know each other again is always entertaining.

Once they all finally came out of their shells it was great though, the girls have their movie nights and the boys push each other to try new tricks on the trampoline. They definitely influence each other, sometime for good and sometime not but they laugh and play and grow together.

When you first arrive in Townsville, the first thing you notice is how dry it is. Isn't this supposed to be the tropics? It is definitely hot like the tropics but not lush and green like you'd expect. Townsville is in the dry tropics, north of Tropic of Capricorn but to far south to receive consistent rainfall throughout the year like Cairns which is well into the wet tropics.

A big surprise though is when you head north around an hour there is such a dramatic change, the grass is green, the scrub thickens up and the humidity rises even in winter. And just beyond Townsville is one of the wettest towns in the whole of Australia, Tully has taken out the Gumboot multiple times for their level of rainfall.

You had better like seeing sugar cane if you are driving north or south of Townsville, there are hundreds of kilometers of sugar cane in both directions as well as cane railways all leading to massive sugar mills churning out clouds of smoke 24/7. A massive percentage of the population in the area rely on the Sugar cane industry and the other industries which support it. Fields full of harvesters, tractors and trucks all working endlessly to keep the trains moving and the mills producing sugar.

There is plenty of history around the industry too, the history of Ingham and its Italian heritage are tied to Sugar Cane and well as Ayr and the whole Burdekin region.

The whole of Townsville is built on the back of the Australian Army, Townsville is one of the oldest and the largest Army Bases in Australia. We visited Jezzine Barracks in the centre of the city and explored the old fort which was built there prior to World war one.

The Army's top dog, The Brigadier General, lives in an amazingly restored Queenslander right on the water. His house is surrounded by the massive Frangipanis, perfectly manicured grass, as well as a six foot high wire fence.

The old fort was one of the first things built in Townsville and was the centre of the town when it was first established in the early 1800's. It was upgraded many times as the threats to the pacific north coast increased during the world wars. The fort and surrounding barracks are built on a headland overlooking the northern end of the strand and is dominated by massive trenches, underground bunkers and two large artillery guns from world war two. American troops were based in Townsville during world war two and the battle of the Coral Sea took place off the coast of the city. Historical accounts of the battle are written on plaques throughout the fort and give viewers perspectives of the bombing of the city as well as the offshore battles.

These days, Jezzine Barracks is home to Townsville Art Studio. The barracks were returned to the people of Townsville in the early 2000's, after the Lavarack barracks were expanded. The North Queensland army museum is also based here. A short walk from the Rock Pool and the strand make it easy to tie into a day by the beach.

Toomulla Beach, half an hour north of Townsville is a beautiful little tucked away spot, unless you have a decent 4wd its pretty tough to get onto the beach. We spent the morning watching people getting bogged trying to get off the beach and trying our luck chucking a line in the estuary and the beach.

Always keep one eye on the water though, Crocs are everywhere now that we are in the tropics so being vigilant and cautious with the kids and breaking their complacency around the water that they have learned from six years in New Zealand. Luckily its not stinger season so it easy to cool off in the ocean, not that there's not Crocs there either but at least you can see what's in the water.

An even better option is head inland to a fresh water creek which was exactly what we did next, we headed to one of our favourite spots, Crystal Creek for a bbq lunch and a swim. We spent a couple of hours with the kids jumping and diving into the water hole at Crystal Creek, its crystal clear fresh water is amazing on a hot day. To top it all off, the Frosty Mango is on the way home. They make all their own ice cream and have a massive fruit orchard out the back to explore and learn more about the tropical fruits they use in their huge range of ice creams.

A big day out in the water, zero luck fishing but new memories made. Crystal creek is still one of our favourite spots.

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