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Cruises to Townsville

(Photo: Eldar Nurkovic/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Eldar Nurkovic/Shutterstock)

About Townsville

The port city of Townsville, which is located four hours' south of Cairns, is blessed with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, making those blue skies appear painted on. The weather is so balmy in Townsville that it throngs with visitors year-round as they use the city as a jumping-off point to explore the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics' rainforest.

The city was founded in 1864 when it was established as a port at the mouth of Ross Creek. Named after businessman and entrepreneur Robert Towns, the site of the city was chosen because it was conveniently located near to mining settlements in Ravenswood and Charters Towers and grazing land in the Gulf. The city's location was also considered strategic during World War 2, when more than one million tonnes of war supplies passed through the port up to 1943.

Military nerds will be fascinated to learn that enemy planes even bombed Townsville and that a major air raid on the city was cancelled just two days before the Battle of the Coral Sea. The port's military past is evident in sites such as Jezzine Barracks, which is also significant to the local Indigenous people. A walk through time in Townsville also traces the city's origins as a working port, which remains part of its lifeblood today and examines the 1880s' transformation of the city's Flinders St East precinct.

Climb to the top of Castle Hill at sunrise and you will gain a great perspective on what locals love about their lively city, which is worth exploring for everyone from history buffs to backpackers, foodies and game fisher folk, eco tourists, golfers and scuba divers.

Townsville has all the laidback ambience of a regional outpost but plenty to offer in the way of cool bars, exciting restaurants, cultural activities and spectacular islands just offshore. In addition to the abundance of street art, an excursion to the outer islands brings the colour of Tropical North Queensland to life. The sea off the coast of Townsville exerts a strong pull: every day you will hear fishing boats and tour boats motoring out to the reef and you will be lured to get amongst it.

The weather in Townsville is most amenable during the Australian winter -- from June to August -- which is the busiest time of year. Whether Townsville is your port of embarkation or debarkation or a port of call mid-cruise, one certainty is you will encounter friendly locals and an array of appealing tourist attractions.

Walk along the 2.5-kilometre-long promenade, The Strand, which is a lively spot at dawn and dusk as it attracts a steady crowd of locals, low-key hippies, tattooed hipsters and curious out-of-towners. Flanked by palm trees, The Strand has remained true to the city's laidback roots: there are cafes, waterfront bars and restaurants scattered like confetti along the coastline.

Worth noting is the long-held good-natured rivalry between the two cities in the northernmost part of the state of Queensland -- Cairns and Townsville. You will win the hearts of locals if you indicate your ties are with Townsville.

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120 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
San Francisco
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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DAY 1: Sydney

14 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Sydney
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Brisbane, Townsville ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Miami

139 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Miami
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Cartagena, Panama City ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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DAY 1: Sydney

35 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Sydney
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Brisbane, Townsville ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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123 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Los Angeles
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Honolulu, Maui ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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111 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Los Angeles
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Honolulu, Maui ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Sydney
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Newcastle, Brisbane ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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92 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Auckland
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Tauranga, Napier ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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78 Night
Cruise to Townsville

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Sydney
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Newcastle, Brisbane ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Sydney
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Brisbane, Airlie Beach ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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26 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Singapore
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Semarang, Surabaya ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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16 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Bali
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Lombok, Komodo Island ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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92 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Auckland
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Napier, Wellington ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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33 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Auckland
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Tauranga, Nelson ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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78 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Sydney
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Newcastle, Brisbane ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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32 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Bali
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Lembar, Komodo Island ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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16 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Brisbane
Visiting:
Townsville, Cairns ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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28 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Sydney
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Newcastle, Brisbane ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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18 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Brisbane
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Airlie Beach, Townsville ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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22 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Brisbane
Visiting:
Townsville, Cairns ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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32 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Bali
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Darwin, Cairns ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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23 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Singapore
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Semarang, Surabaya ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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32 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Auckland
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Tauranga, Nelson ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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35 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Auckland
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Paihia, Tauranga ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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26 Night
Cruise to Townsville

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Brisbane, Moreton Island ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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Why go to Townsville?

Pros:

Exudes an old-world regional Australian town appeal

Cons:

It's the tropics, so expect high humidity and heat in summer

Bottom Line:

Townsville is conveniently located to explore both reef and rainforest

Townsville Cruise Port Facilities?

If your vessel is up to 238 metres long, you will be docked in the port of Townsville at the near-new cruise ship terminal, Quayside Terminal (Lennon Drive, South Townsville). Larger vessels anchor off Magnetic Island and passengers are ferried to shore with SeaLink Queensland.

Quayside Terminal is located on the banks of Ross Creek, and is just two kilometres from the Townsville CBD. Stand at the outdoor Breezeway at the terminal to enjoy views of Cleveland Bay, Magnetic Island, Castle Hill and Townsville city.

There are buses and taxi bays at the terminal, which is within walking distance of Townsville's CBD and Palmer Street precinct. There is also parking provided 400 metres from Quayside and guests can walk or take a shuttle bus to the venue.

There is an information desk, restroom facilities and the terminal building has air conditioning and fans. Expect live music and volunteers on hand who are there to provide information about Townsville's top attractions.

There are ATMs dotted around the CBD (at 87/95 Flinders St and 81 Palmer St) and a friendly meet-and-greet team from Townsville Enterprise will be on hand to welcome cruise passengers embarking or disembarking in Townsville and to distribute city maps. The terminal provides free Wi-Fi Internet access and has a dedicated Wi-Fi lounge. Ask a member of the meet-and-greet team to direct you to tour coaches, shuttle buses, taxis and private pick-up areas.

Passengers arriving at the Quayside Terminal can walk into the city by taking a left on Ross Street, which turns into Palmer Street, the city's main eat street. Follow the path across the pedestrianised Victoria Bridge into the city centre.

Good to Know?

Townsville is located in the dry tropics of north Queensland, so receives less rain than its northern counterpart, Cairns. But the fact the city boasts 300 days of sun means you will need to get serious about protecting your skin.

Getting Around?

By Foot: Getting around Townsville is easy as a lot of the city's main tourist attractions are within a 20-minute walk of the port. Walk across the Heritage-listed Victoria Bridge -- a swing bridge - across Ross Creek and you will arrive in the city centre.

By Bus: There's a free shuttle bus service that takes passengers from the Quayside Terminal to the City Bus Exchange.

By Taxi: Taxis service the Townsville CBD and wheelchair-accessible taxis are available on request.

By Rental Car: If you want to travel a little further before or after your cruise you can hire a car at

Avis Australia car rentals. You can book in advance on the company's website. (81-83 Flinders Street East, 07 4799 2022; open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, 9 am to noon, Saturday 9 am to noon, Sunday 9am to noon)

By Ferry: If your ship is moored at Magnetic Island you will arrive at SeaLink near to the Quayside Terminal. It's an 8 km ferry ride to Magnetic Island from the Townsville terminal.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the Australian dollar. For current currency conversion figures, visit www.xe.com. There are several ATMs and banks in the centre of the city for obtaining Australian dollars. Credit cards are widely accepted.

Language?

English, with a heavy Aussie accent.


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