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Townsville, Queensland - Why Everyone Backpacking the East Coast Should Stop Off Here

Townsville isn't necessarily known for it's tourism. A lot of backpackers pass through it on the bus to/from Cairns or get off only to use it as a stopover to break up what can be an incredibly long East Coast journey. 

So why should you buck the trend? What's on in Townsville to make you stay?

Sunrise over Townsville from Castle Hill - @lauriecrayston

Sunrise over Townsville from Castle Hill - @lauriecrayston

Townsville has a population of over 170,000, next to no rainfall and an average daytime maximum temperate of 31C. But other than it's population, these facts don't set it apart from the rest of the typical North Queensland backpacker destinations, so why stop here? 

Contrary to it's reputation Townsville is a vibrant, fresh feeling city with a great nightlife and plenty of things to do in the day time. It is also the gateway to Magnetic Island - another must do on the East Coast backpacking route which I talk more about here.

Townsville has both outdoor activities and indoor points of interest in abundance. From hiking with exceptional views to browsing museums and art galleries, Townsville has enough to more than fill a 2-3 day stop-off. Check out the top five things to do in Townsville here.

For the Instagram conscious out there there's a wealth of potential opportunity in both Townsville & Magnetic Island, I've covered some of the best photo locations here.

Where to stay in Townsville?

For backpackers there is only really one option; Rambutan YHA - in my view this is the best hostel in Australia, possibly the world.

As far as I'm aware Rambutan is Australia's only five star hostel. It's perfectly located a short walk from the main shopping area, the main beach and the ferry/bus terminal. It's also only about a 25 minute walk from the bottom of Castle Hill. And, at the time of writing this, $25 a night puts it at the lower end of the scale, budget-wise. It's a real hidden gem and a place I thoroughly recommend. 

Rambutans finest feature is the rooftop pool. Complete with a bar and restaurant this place is a paradise during the day and full of energy at night. @lauriecrayston

Rambutans finest feature is the rooftop pool. Complete with a bar and restaurant this place is a paradise during the day and full of energy at night. @lauriecrayston

Getting from Townsville to Magnetic Island

Either before or after a couple of days in TSV you should definitely check out Magnetic Island. Two days will be enough time to see and do everything. Getting there is easy too, I've written about it here. I'd also recommend going there on a Monday if you can, Monday night's at Base Backpackers Magnetic Island are worth rearranging your dates for.

Townsville Map

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Getting To Magnetic Island & Getting Around Once You're There

Top Five Things To Do On Magnetic Island, Queensland