Tour Description

Townsville and Magnetic Island Stayput

(Combined Adelaide and South Coast Departure)
Seven Days: 7th – 13th June 2021

Twin Share: $4095 per person. Sole Use: $4795 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

Considered to be the capital of north Queensland by the locals, Townsville boasts more than 300 days of sunshine a year! It’s a place where Australia’s iconic landscapes merge: from the wonder of the outback to the stunning beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. We explore this diversity with a trip to Charters Towers, a living montage of the grandeur and prosperity of the gold rush era; a day in the tropical paradise of Magnetic Island, and; a cruise in the waters of the picturesque reef. The dry tropical climate, spectacular scenery and warm hospitality, make Townsville the ideal destination for a winter getaway.

 

Day One – MONDAY 7 JUNE 2021

(includes light lunch and two course dinner)

After being picked up from our homes (limited areas*) we head to the Adelaide Airport where we are met by an Endeavour Tours representative. After being assisted through check-in, we make our way to the gate ready to board our Qantas flight to Townsville via Brisbane.

When we touch down in Townsville, we are greeted by our Endeavour Tours driver who helps with collecting our luggage and takes us to the mini-coach.

Situated on the shores of Cleveland Bay in north-east Queensland, Townsville is a large urban centre which services the northern half of the state. It has a laid back tropical lifestyle, complemented by the facilities and comforts of a larger city. The Ross River winds its way through the city and the pink granite cliffs of Castle Hill dominate the landscape.

We check into our accommodation at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Townsville (Ph: 07 4729 2000). Situated in the heart of the city this will be our home for the duration of the tour. We will enjoy dinner on arrival before taking the chance to unpack and relax in our rooms.

Day Two – TUESDAY 8 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course buffet)

After breakfast this morning we set off to tour the city. Established in the 1860s to provide a port for the surrounding pastoral properties, Townsville is one of Australia’s fastest-growing regional centres. The largest city in northern Australia, it is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the wet tropics and the Queensland outback. Townsville is probably most well known for being home to a large military base, but it also has one of the world’s biggest zinc refineries and a fast-growing tourism industry. In fact, the region has a strong and diverse economic base which apart from the above, also includes mining, agriculture and manufacturing.

Heritage-listed Queens Garden is located at the base of Castle Hill and is the oldest of three botanic gardens in Townsville. Originally established during colonisation as a trial garden for potential food and economic plants, today it is a cool, lush oasis where people can retreat from the busy city lifestyle. We stop at the Garden to enjoy our morning tea and take time to peruse the surrounds.

The award-winning Museum of Tropical Queensland is located on the banks of the Ross River. It tells the story of north Queensland’s natural and cultural heritage, with the star attraction being the HMS Pandora gallery. Pandora was the ship that was sent to capture the mutinous crew from the infamous Bounty. On her return journey in 1791, Pandora hit the Great Barrier Reef and sank, and she remained undiscovered for 186 years. Today, objects recovered from the wreck are part of the permanent exhibition at the museum.

Following lunch, we depart for a visit at the National Trust Heritage Centre, with its collection of heritage-listed buildings dating back to the late 1800s. The heritage houses featured have been furnished and restored to their original period glory and include a Worker’s Dwelling (1878), a grand villa residence known as The Currajong (1889) and an early North Queensland farm residence known as The Farmhouse (1921). The Heritage Centre presents special insight into the lives of workers, wealthier businessmen and professionals in Townsville in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

After discovering much the of history and understanding how it has shaped the city of Townsville, we have some free time to relax, explore the shops or walk along the foreshore before dinner.

Day Three – WEDNESDAY 9 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

After enjoying a delicious breakfast, we set off for one of the highlights of our tour, a trip to Magnetic Island. Known to the locals as Maggie Island, it’s name came from Captain James Cook who believed the Island to have a special magnetic force, based on the erratic behaviour of his compass when he sailed around the tropical oasis in 1770.

We board the Sealink Ferry for the short journey across to the Island, located in the Great Barrier Reef. Approximately 70% of Magnetic Island is preserved as a national park so it has an abundance of wildlife, and nature.

As we tour the Island with a local company, it will become increasingly evident why people call this Island paradise home. The tropical climate offers endless sunshine, there are pristine beaches with the perfect water temperature for swimming, and a unique and picturesque natural environment that will take your breath away. All of this surrounded by a complex coral reef system found nowhere else in the world.

After a full day exploring the island we return on the ferry and make our way back to our accommodation for a relaxing evening.

Day Four – THURSDAY 10 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

In contrast to yesterdays touring, today we travel inland to the Australian outback town of Charters Towers. Founded in 1871 after the discovery of a gold nugget, it was established as a place for prospectors to find their fortune in the gold fields. Once home to one of the few regional stock exchanges in Australia, as well as a school of mines that produced the nation’s top mining experts for many years, the grandeur and prosperity of this era can still be seen in the beautifully preserved civic buildings.

Our first stop will be at a unique local attraction. Texas Longhorn Tours is located at Leahton Park, a 1100 acre property just outside Charters Towers. It is home to one of the largest herds of Texas Longhorns in Australia, as well as Asian Water Buffalo, American Bison, Scottish Highland and a variety of other cattle.

We join a safari to get up close to these spectacular herds, the only tour of its kind in the world. The experience includes a meeting with JR, a Texas Longhorn who held the Guinness World Record for the longest horns in 2013, measuring 3.1 metres from tip to tip! While here we will also enjoy an ’Aussie Bush Smoko’ (morning tea) under the shade of the trees that surround the homestead.

Around midday, we head into town to explore Charters Towers where we take in the views from Tower Hill Lookout, admire the historic buildings of Mosman and Gill Streets, and stroll through Centenary Park to see the gold discovery monument and sculptures.

While Charters Towers is not just about gold, this precious metal obviously played a huge part in the towns history and one of the best places to appreciate this is at the Venus Gold Battery. After lunch in town we set off to the outskirts of Charters Towers to visit the largest surviving Battery relic in Australia, and the oldest in Queensland.

A guided tour of the Venus Gold Battery offers an insight into the amazing real life gold rush of the late nineteenth century. Constructed in 1872, in its prime it was used as a public or custom mill, before becoming a State Battery in 1919. The facility operated long after other mills had closed, not ceasing commercial operation until 1973, after a century of service.

The Battery is the closest we get to seeing how gold was extracted from ore, and we will appreciate the effort that went into this process, as well as hearing stories of the Battery’s working life and some of its ghosts.

Late afternoon we return to Townsville with time to freshen up before dinner.

Day Five – FRIDAY 11 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

After breakfast this morning, we return to Magnetic Island, this time to explore the beauty and tranquillity of the surrounding reef.

Once again, we take the Sealink Ferry over to the Island and on arrival, we board Aquascene, for a Magnetic Island Discovery Cruise. Hosted by the Hinks family, Magnetic Island locals of 34 years, we board their custom designed boat which makes it easy to access coral lagoons, fringing reefs and secluded bays

Set amongst a stunning landscape of rugged granite boulders and Hoop Pines, Magnetic Island has 23 bays and beaches to explore. As we cruise, we meet local marine and bird-life, visit some of the most beautiful spots around the Island and simply enjoy the relaxation of cruising these spectacular waters. There may even be the opportunity to dip your toes in the water! We enjoy morning tea and lunch on board, as our hosts share their stories and knowledge of the Island they call home.

After exploring more of this Island paradise, we return to Townsville once more on the ferry.

Day Six – SATURDAY 12 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Our first visit today is to the Maritime Museum of Townsville, established in 1986 in the old Pier Masters Office building. It didn’t take long for the museum’s collection to ‘out grow’ its space and it was relocated to its current site, near the mouth of Ross Creek.

The displays and exhibits tell the story of the regions seafaring heritage, as well as the role of the Royal Australian Navy. The museum is also home to many of the artefacts from the doomed ship SS Yongala, which sunk south of Townsville during a cyclone in 1911. Unfortunately there were no survivors and the wreck site, which was not discovered until 1958, is now considered to be one of the world’s premier dive sites.

There is a collection of expertly crafted models of naval vessels, and a number of antique wooden vessels in the Boat Shed. The Bay Rock Light House, formerly installed on Magnetic Island, is also here. It was one of Queensland’s first lighthouses and was moved to the museum grounds in 1992.

Palmetum is a unique botanical garden featuring only one family of plants, the palms. Covering 17 hectares, the entire collection contains around 300 species, with most native Australian palm species represented. The recreated tropical habitats contain a number of plants that are rare or threatened in their own natural environments, and the garden attracts numerous birds. Palmetum also features a Memorial to the Black Hawk Disaster which occurred locally during a training exercise accident in the 1990s. We will enjoy morning tea in the garden and have time to admire the surroundings.

Just 20 minutes from Townsville is Billabong Sanctuary, a haven for native animals set on 11 hectares of natural bushland. As the name suggests, the sanctuary is nestled around a billabong and was the dream of Bob and Del Fleming who left primary school teaching in Sydney to move north, over thirty years ago. The Sanctuary offers interactive wildlife experiences where we can get close to a koala, pat a wombat, pose with a parrot, feed the cassowaries or even hold a baby saltwater crocodile! There are also three walk-through enclosures where kangaroos and pademelons will hop up for a pat and throughout the day Rangers present dynamic wildlife talks and shows. The Sanctuary is dedicated to the conservation and preservation of native species and offers an exceptional wildlife experience.

On our journey back to Townsville, we detour to Mount Stuart Road, winding its way through picturesque low woodlands to Mount Stuart Lookout. Here we can see spectacular, panoramic views overlooking the entire city and across to Magnetic Island and Cleveland Bay.

We return to the hotel for our last evening on tour together.

Day Seven – SUNDAY 13 JUNE 2021

(includes cooked breakfast and light lunch)

After breakfast, we have some free time before we need to depart for the airport to begin our journey home. Cotters Market is one of the largest markets in North Queensland featuring over 150 stalls. It takes place in Flinders Street, which is just outside the front door of our hotel! The markets offer an amazing selection of arts and crafts, local produce and sweet treats. So it’s a great way to finish off our visit to Townsville and perhaps find something special to take home.

Late morning we head to the airport. Our driver will assist with the check in procedure before taking us to the gate ready to board the Qantas plane. In Brisbane, a guide will greet us and escort our group to the gate, ready for our next flight.

On arrival in Adelaide an Endeavour Tours representative will meet us and assist with collecting our luggage. As we return home, there is time to reflect on the inspiring and beautiful landscapes we experienced in northern Queensland, including the island paradise of ‘Maggie’.