With Christmas and New Years celebrations behind us, the school holidays are winding down and parents are finishing up the back to school shopping lists.
Often by this point the kids are starting to go a bit stir crazy but parents may have tapped out the extra spending money making options for activities seem slim.
Rest assured though, there are plenty of things to do around Townsville that are kid and wallet friendly!
Located on the banks of the Ross River in Riverway Drive (opposite to Willows Shopping Centre) is the council operated recreation centre known as the Riverway Complex.
With 2 swimming pools/lagoons, an arts centre, café/kiosk, playground, grassed parklands, skatepark and a huge sports oval, Riverway offers something for everyone and is especially great for families.
Free entry and open from dawn til dusk.
Lifeguards and Security on duty
Castle Hill or Mt Stuart Lookouts
Show the kids their house from a birds eye point of view (well, the general area anyway!) from the top of Castle Hill or Mt Stuart. Pack a picnic and enjoy the sights.
Both areas have walking tracks and great vantage points for budding photographers. For late afternoon/night visits be sure to pack the mozzie repellent though.
Strand Water Park
A favourite for tourists and locals alike, the Strand Water Park is a great boredom buster!
Free entry and open til 8pm most nights during summer means plenty of time to enjoy a drenching from the ‘big bucket’.
Strand Water Park is located towards the Marina end of The Strand, just up from the Toobruk Swimming Pool.
Jourama Falls/Crystal Creek/Wallaman Falls
There are a lot of options for day trips within easy reach of Townsville. Bowling Green National Park with the swimming holes of Alligator Creek is always a popular option for families to cool off during summer. However due to the ongoing drought this option is temporarily off the table and instead we turn our attention north.
If your family loves the type of day trip that includes exploring, bush walking, wildlife spotting, and sight seeing, then you will no doubt already have places like Jourama Falls, Crystal Creek and Wallaman Falls on your radar. Jourama is the closest to Townsville and offers a nice bush walk to the lookout to view the waterfall, while Crystal Creek offers a great swimming option. Wallaman Falls are simply spectacular and take out the honour of being the longest single drop waterfall in the country. There is a beautiful lookout and picnic area, or for the more adventurous there are bushwalks down to the base of the falls.
Please note that due to the ongoing drought conditions currently affecting our area, the ‘falls’ may not be as spectacular as usual.
Jezzine Barracks and The Rockpool
Jezzine Barracks has not long ago undergone a massive redevelopment project. The new look parkland surrounding this historical site offers a look back in time when Kissing Point was a defence post in times of war.
Take a walk around the area and along the boardwalk while picking up interesting pieces of trivia from the informative signs, relics and artworks.
The Rockpool, located adjacent to the Barracks, is a popular swimming spot as it offers beach swimming, without the threat of stingers, crocs and other such bities in our waters.
Jezzine Barracks & The Rockpool are located at the Northern end of The Strand, at the end of Howitt Street.
Is it behind that tree, under the park bench, or hidden somewhere at the base of a streetlight?
Using a handheld device with GPS capabilities (ie your smartphone with the Geocache app downloaded), you set out to find the “Geocache” location using the directions, map markers
Geocaching gets everyone off the couch and into the outdoors. You can work as a family unit to find each location and geocache, it’s free to participate and it’s portable with geocache locations all across Australia and the world.
For further information check out the Geocache website.
Perc Tucker Art Gallery
For information about exhibitions and what’s on, visit the TCC Website
Townsville City Libraries
Far from being the boring libraries of old where kids couldn’t make any noise, the City Libraries offer a range of kid friendly activities as well as drop in services for child development information. With three locations across town and regular activities at little to no cost, they will soon be become a popular destination for your kids.
For information on activities, opening hours and other services, please visit the TCC website or phone your nearest library on the phone numbers provided below.
Only 6km north of the City Centre (on the road to Pallarenda) is a nature reserve called the Town Common. This area is rich in native wildlife so is always a popular destination for birdwatchers and photographers.
With easily accessible walking tracks and bike paths, your family can enjoy an easy stroll or a leisurely bike ride in the natural surrounds. There is also a lookout.
Vehicle access to the park is via the main entrance on the turn-off from Cape Pallarenda Road, near the Rowes Bay Golf Club. The gate at this entrance is open from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm daily. For further information visit the NPRSR Website
This list is really only just skimming the surface on what is available around Townsville for free, I’m sure there is plenty more that I am yet to learn about. And of course this list hasn’t included the many parks and botanical gardens that are all over the city.
The best part is that these are available all year round, not just during school holidays!
Don’t ever let the kids say there is nothing to do ever again. With so much to see and do, there is always something going on in Townsville and it doesn’t have to cost you a mint.