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Townsville travel guide — Townsville tourism and travel information

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about Townsville

Townsville is a city on the North-eastern coast of Australia. It is in the state of Queensland. The population as of 2004 was approximately 155,500. Townsville is positioned in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef in the dry tropics, although the more northern city of Cairns, in the wet tropics, performs the bulk of the reef's marine tourism.

The Townsville region is also known as the 'Twin Cities' as the area is split between the cities of Townsville on the coast, and Thuringowa inland. Townsville has been expanding west away from the coast over time into the previously rural district of Thuringowa. Thuringowa was the fastest growing city in Australia at the last census.

Townsville lies on the main east coast road (the Bruce Highway) and railway. It has a significant port at the mouth of Ross Creek. Townsville airport at Garbutt was greatly expanded by US forces during World War II. The Ross River flows through Townsville.

The city started life very inauspiciously when a sea captain by the name of Robert Towns commissioned James Melton Black to build a wharf on Cleveland Bay to service the new cattle industry inland. It also served (and still serves) as a northern port for sugar export. The town was gazetted in 1865 and was declared a city in 1903. It is now the largest tropical city in Australia and is seen as the long-established but unofficial capital of northern Queensland, and services a vast area of the interior.

Tourism has of late helped in the city's expansion, though its traditional role is as an industrial port for exporting minerals from Mount Isa and Cloncurry, also beef and wool from the western plains and sugar and timber from the coastal regions, and this continues to be of great importance. The city also has its own manufacturing and processing industries. Townsville is the only city globally to refine three different metals - Zinc, Copper and Nickel. There is also suggestion since August 2002 that a Magnesium refinery may be constructed.

Townsville has several large public assets due to its relative position and population. These include the only major university in northern Queensland, James Cook University, the CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the army at Lavarack Barracks and the Air Force at Garbutt. Both funnel considerable money into the local economy.

Popular attractions for locals and vistors include 'The Strand', a long well-maintained tropical white beach; ReefHQ, a large tropical aquarium holding many of the Great Barrier Reef's native flora and fauna; and Magnetic Island, a large neighbouring island of which the vast majority is national park.

The historical waterfront on Cleveland Bay possesses some excellent old buildings mixed with the later modern skyline though nothing dominates this more than the huge 300m mass of red rock called Castle Hill which has a lookout at the summit giving excellent 360° views of the city and its suburbs including Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island. Several new suburbs and the shifting demographics of the Twin Cities has produced some debate amongst the locals as to whether the CBD will stay directly on the coast or move to an inland geographical centre of the city. The position of pre-existing assets on the coast plus the rivalry between the two cities contributes to the debate.

In October 2000 a Solomon Islands Peace Agreement was negotiated in Townsville.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Townsville".

This city is also known as: Townsville.

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