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Campervan hire Townsville, Australia’s playground

Townsville is the largest urban centre north of the Sunshine Coast and a very popular spot for motorhome rental in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef lies off the coast and the dry tropics region is at the front door. So whether you’re seeking a relaxed getaway or an action-packed adventure, Townsville has at all. The gateway to Queensland is the perfect spot to begin a road trip.

Townsville campervan hire – top brands in one place

Townsville has various options for campervan travellers,and at Motorhome Republic we make it easy to choose by comparing all the Queensland rental companies in one place and finding the best result to suit you. Everything you need to know is right there on the results page.

From sightseeing as part of a road trip from Townsville to Cairns, or just taking in all of the stunning beaches, you’ll certainly enjoy your time camping. The small, converted vans with simply a double bed and cooking equipment make for the perfect surfing roadie, or a romantic getaway for two. And if you need to accommodate the family, or simply have a bit more room,there are plenty of RV-style options online.

Small and scenic – road trips from Townsville

Hit the road and drive the camper up the Great Green Way from Townsville to Cairns. This drive show cases the diversity of Queensland, from bustling cities like Brisbane to charming country towns, all lined by Australia’s natural wonders. The drive will take a little over four hours, but with a camper you can stop where ever you choose and can take your time soaking up all the secret gems of the region.

From Townsville, make your way up the coast, watching how the scenery changes from the cane fields of Ingham to the striking beauty of the region around Cardwell. Bluewater is a peaceful place to stop and stretch the legs. Free vehicle camping is available and waking up to the beauty of the freshwater attractions cannot be beaten. A fitness trail in the adjacent Urban Forest has eight different exercise stations and an 800m track if you’re feeling energetic.

Australia is known for its collection of giant sculptures to mark different towns and Queensland is no different. Have your photo snapped with the giant Golden Gumboot in Tully.

Paluma Range National Park is a wealth of lush rainforest, cascading waterfalls, rock slides and pristine rock pools.There are plenty of picnic spots and BBQ areas - and if you head to the top of the mountain, you can take a dip at the old stone bridge. Look out for wildlife, birds and butterflies.The picturesque beaches and bays of Mission Beach are another definite must-see.

The Tyto Wetlands are a unique natural wetland just outside of Ingham. Home to over 230 species of birds, you can explore 4km of walkways and viewing platforms and experience the tranquil beauty of the location without disturbing the wildlife.

Instead of following the coast, you can also head inland to discover the true heartland of the outback. Take your time and remember Australia is the size of Europe.

Motorhome camping – the places to stay around Townsville

Saunders Beach is beautiful with several access points where you can camp for free. Fish in the Althaus Creek river mouth or enjoy a picnic on the beach. Bluewater Creek is a really close and easy campsite. Again, it is free to camp here and you do not need a 4WD or boatto access it.

Toomulla Beach is popular with the caravan community. The campgrounds are free and have toilets, beach access and a playground. This campsite can get crowded in the holiday season, but the people are friendly so join a BBQ and make new friends. Rollingstone Creek is a 35-minute drive north of Townsville.There is a fantastic swimming hole that is easy enough to access with your motorhome and there is plenty of free camping.

For a more established camping ground, try Coral Coast Holiday Park where the sites are immaculate. This campsite is close enough to Townville without feeling like you are in the city and is the only option where you can bring pets.

Rowes Bay Caravan and Accommodation Park has picturesque views of Magnetic Island and is only a short distance from the city centre. It makes for an excellent base to begin your sightseeing around Townsville.

Another shrimp on the barbie– restaurants inTownsville

Townsville is not known as a foodie haven, but the freshness of the seafood and small-town hospitality makes for some impressive dining options. A Touch of Salt is the perfect way to relax, with lovely surrounds and truly delicious food. Start with the refreshing peach and lychee iced tea and the grilled haloumi with minted zucchini and red pepper pide. With modern Australian cuisine, great service and a well-developed menu you can’t go wrong.The Balcony Restaurant is a fantastic breakfast option in Townsville. There’s the necessary good coffee and delicious tropical fare. Plus the staff are very friendly.

Italian food is a staple dining experience in Townsville. Peppi Peppi in the Cannon Park Dining and Entertainment complex is a new, authentic wood fired pizza joint that uses traditional ingredients and has a wholly European atmosphere. Brandy’s is another Italian joint, and sticks less to the traditional but experiments with various herbs and sauces for some interesting combinations.

Townsville’s brewery has been open more than 100 years and subsequently is an institution in the region. But it’s not all about the beer. There are two restaurants in the brewery, a chilled, laid-back lounge with pub-style food, and the more refined and elegant Malt Restaurant. Try the beer sampler tasting plate – some hand-picked ale to go along with a range of starters that complement each other perfectly.

First-time visitors to the city who aren’t afraid to spend a few extra dollars should head to Michels. French-Australian fusion makes for great service and beautiful food – both visually and taste-wise. Boasting great decor, a high caliber of impressive service from attentive wait staff and a comprehensive menu of delicacies to choose from, there is little to complain about.

What to do in Townsville, natural wonders galore

Townsville is a lucky combination of vibrant modern city with spectacular natural wonders and scenery. The Billabong Sanctuary is filled with a variety of Australian animals. Get up close to strange creatures like the wombat, platypus, crocs, birdlife and more. Feeding shows are every 20 minutes.

If you’re a history buff, the Army Museum of North Queensland has a collection of military memorabilia associated with the past and present. Take a stroll down the Strand for a great overview of Townsville and the friendly people that live here. You’ll find cafes, grassy parks, playgrounds and a marina. Take a dip in the Tobruk Memorial Baths for a relaxing swim.

Reef HQ is the safe way to get up close to sharks, rays and other creatures that call the reef home. It’s a great place to visit with your children. Magnetic Island lives up to its name by drawing in tourists from Australia and around the world. Located just 8km from Townsville, Magnetic Island is an ideal place for nature lovers. The National Park covers over 50% of the island and is home to a multitude of creatures.

Take in the breathtaking views of the region from the top of Castle Hill. Nearly 300m above sea level, it is a well-known natural feature along the Queensland coast and towers over Townsville. It’s an easy enough walk up Castle Hill, no matter what your fitness level.

Finally, in case you have some time to spare, you can start a journey along the coast heading towards Airlie Beach and the beautiful Whitsundays islands and make your way South until you reach the Gold Coast.

Townsville motorhome guide

Here are a couple of handy things to know for your campervan holiday in Townsville:

  • When trekking, stay on formed tracks and remember to carry sufficient drinking water

  • No fires permitted - use gas or fuel stoves for cooking.

  • Remember to register to camp at information centres.

Plan your campervan road trip from Townsville

Bask in the subtropical sun, adventure out to the Great Barrier Reef, and explore this coastal gem in all its glory: Townsville is an ideal place to start a road trip in Australia.


In this guide, you will find links to fantastic road trip itineraries that include Townsville - all of which are adjustable to your unique interests - suggestions for some great festivals and events to add to your ‘must-see’ list, and some recent articles that will help you get to know the region better.


Remember to check out our ‘On the Road’ section to read up on some important information regarding motorhome camping in Australia. You can also find out where the nearest dump stations are, and some rest areas to pull into, should you need a break from driving.


While Townsville isn’t as large as some other Australian cities, it does have prime access to the stunning Great Barrier Reef.


Itineraries to and from Townsville

Camp out in your motorhome rental at Saunders or Toomulla Beach, or hit the road and explore the incredible east coast.


Sydney to Cairns: East Coast Bliss (or Cairns to Sydney)

While this ultimate Australian east coast adventure usually begins in Sydney and ends in the northern Queensland city of Cairns, the beauty of a road trip is that you can begin and end wherever you like.


Heading south from Townsville

Pick up your motorhome rental in Townsville and follow the itinerary south along the coast to Sydney, taking in some of Australia’s most stunning landscapes and inviting beaches. Before heading off, be sure to hit one of the greatest natural attractions in the world - the Great Barrier Reef. On your way down, pop into the Capricorn Caves, where you will stand in awe and delight inside ancient caverns. Pay a visit to the furry marsupials at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie before reaching the iconic splendours of Sydney. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the sun, sand and surf of this seaside itinerary.


Heading north from Townsville

Head north to Cairns from Townsville for a short 6.5 hour roadie. Detour off the main road to visit the incredible single-drop waterfall at Wallaman Falls, and stretch your legs at the Tyto Wetlands to spot native birds. Visit the golden sands of Mission Beach and explore some of the surrounding villages. Paronella Park is a must-see; get swept away into another world when you visit this stunning castle-like structure tucked into the trees. Just past Cairns is the town of Palm Cove; wander out along the jetty for some beautiful views of the ocean. You may also wish to tack on a trip further north to Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation for some beachy, relaxed fun and exciting tropical rainforest adventures.


Don’t miss: Whatever you do, you must experience the wonder and magic of the Great Barrier Reef.


Events and festivals to check out

Townsville is ideally situated for you to head out in your campervan and experience exciting local events and festivals. With an array of annual festivals in the city and a sprinkling of events in the surrounding area, you’re sure to catch one that suits your fancy.



Every month people gather from Townsville and the surrounding area for a night of world-class entertainment, colour, bright lights and more. Hosted on Queensland’s Magnetic Island, you’ll be dancing into the early hours.


Join thousands of others for a week of Australian culture, food, entertainment, workshops, market stalls and more, at the annual Townsville Cultural Fest.


For 9 days, artists, poets and writers ‘pop up’ all over the city, showcasing their work in the streets and shops of Townsville. Expressly focused on the culture of Northern Queensland, the festival makes use of some of the empty spaces around the city, filling them with beauty and wonder.


Often coinciding with the Pop Up North Queensland festival, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music is a 9-day event in late July. Over 30 musicians take to the stage each year in Townsville, some even holding concerts out on the beach of Orpheus Island, creating a unique atmosphere of music, sand and waves.


Other festivals of note:


If you’ve never experienced the grandeur and beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, taking the time to do so during your time in Townsville is essential.


Attractions and activities to experience in Townsville

Explore stunning natural sites, wander through eclectic markets, and peruse excellent galleries and museums when you visit the warm and engaging city of Townsville.



Townsville has a great number of exciting sporting events you can attend while you’re in the area. Head to the 1300SMILES Stadium to catch a rugby game, or visit Townsville Stadium for basketball.


Sports teams:


Food & Wine

Walk down to the Townsville markets, or book yourself a wine tour; the foodie in you will be well satiated in this Queensland city.


Music & Art

Visit museums, galleries, and catch a show. If you love the music and arts scene, you’ll love what Townsville has to offer.


Outdoor Activities

Townsville’s seaside location makes it perfect for experiencing life above and below the waves. The famous Great Barrier Reef is right on your doorstep, so make sure this spectacular natural phenomenon is at the top of your to-do list.



In addition to an energetic city life, Townsville has some spectacular opportunities to get up close with the nature of Australia.



From colourful sea creatures to stunning views of the whole area, head out of Townsville to see even more spectacular sights.


It’s a bit of a drive from Townsville to Kakadu National Park, but it’s a journey that’s entirely worth it.


Australia road trips articles and blogs

A motorhome road trip in Queensland is a journey you’ll remember forever. Arm yourself with knowledge to make all of your travelling memories great ones.


  • Winter Motorhome Road Trip in Australia

Winter in Australia actually offers some pretty great weather for motorhome road tripping. Learn the ins and outs of planning your holiday during the cooler months.


  • Find an RV Friendly Town for Your Next Australian Road Trip

Pull into an Australian town on your next motorhome rental road trip knowing that you will be welcomed with open arms. With the RV Friendly Town programme, towns and cities around Australia have been pulling together their campervan friendly facilities, so roadtrippers like you have access to everything you need.


  • 3 Wildlife Experiences You’ll Never Forget

Names like Yellowstone and Serengeti come to mind when you ponder incredible wildlife experiences, but in the Northern Territory of Australia, the Kakadu National Park is up there with the best in the world.


  • A Traveler’s Guide to Australian Slang

Australians may speak English but like any country they have their own slang. Learn some new words before you hit the road in your Australian motorhome rental.

Travel Guide for your Townsville Adventure

What to do 

Umbrella Studio

Umbrella Studio in Townsville is not only a fantastic not-for-profit art gallery, it’s a community of like-minded people who celebrate art and culture in a beautiful, welcoming space. Located in the heart of Townsville, Umbrella Studio is host to many incredible exhibitions, with spectacular and unique pieces from talented established and up-and-coming artists. As well as the beautiful exhibition space, the studio offers workshops for both children and adults, and holds a large range of events throughout the year. It’s recommended you take between one and two hours to view the gallery, so be sure to schedule it in when you visit Townsville. It’s free to visit the Umbrella Studio art gallery, and only a 12-minute drive from Townsville Airport in your motorhome rental.

Where: 482 Flinders Street, Townsville, 4810, Queensland, Australia
Phone: +61 7 4772 7109
Hours: Monday - Friday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday - Sunday: 9:00am - 1:00pm


Rainforest Scuba

There’s more to the Finch Hatton region than beautiful forest, waterfalls and national park. Head below the Cattle Creek waters with Rainforest Scuba, winner of the 2015,2016, and 2017 Mackay Region Tourism award.Dive into the deep with or without any diving experience nor diver's license (certification). Not only will you see incredible creatures (freshwater shrimp, turtles, and the native platypus, to name a few), but you’ll learn all about the habitat and environment in which they live in. Through the exceptional educational tours and personal private platypus land tour, you’ll walk away from the Rainforest Scuba tour with a greater understanding of the animals who dwell in Finch Hatton, as well as wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Pick up a Townsville motorhome rental and hit the road - it’s a 3-hour journey south along the stunning Queensland coast, and then 1.5 hours inland to the Finch Hatton region.

Where: 55 Anzac Parade, Finch Hatton, Queensland, 4756, Australia
Phone: +61 04 344 55040


Venus Gold Battery

You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy the walking tour of the Venus Gold Battery. One of the survivors from Charters Towers’ gold mining days the mill was used to process gold, and now, after many restorations, operates as a tourist attraction. Your 75-minute historical tour will include an extensive education into the Venus Gold Battery, with a highly qualified and passionate tour guide, and an insight into the operation of the Battery. Your guide will tell you stories, indicate points of interest around the site, and answer all your burning questions. Group bookings are available for a minimum of 10 people, so gather together your friends and enjoy the tour! Pull off the main route and into Millchester in your Brisbane campervan hire to start your tour! 

Where: Millchester Road, Millchester, Queensland, 4820, Australia
Open: Visit website for full opening hours