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Whitsunday Coast Towns & Holiday Destinations Queensland

Townsville, the capital of North Queensland is the the third largest city in the state. Located in North Queensland's 'dry tropics', enjoying an average of 320 days of sunshine each year. The city is the perfect stepping off point for tropical islands and the Great Barrier Reef, Magnetic Island being only 20 minutes away by high speed catamaran. Also close by are many National Parks the outback and magnificent rainforests . Townsville sits on the shores of Cleveland Bay where Captain Cook sailed in the Endeavour on June 5 and 6 1770. The first wharf was built at Ross Creek in1864 and after a report on dredging and construction the Townsville Harbor Board was formed in 1896. Today it is Northern Australia's premier port shipping over 6.5 million tonnes of cargo a year. Townsville's heritage has been retained with much of the Central Business District and waterfront areas now housed in magnificently restored historic buildings, adding character and charm to the city heart. The city centre is framed by The Strand Waterfront and the looming pink granites of Castle Hill. Tropical Flinders Mall, museums, attractions and eating places ranging from the sophisticated through to alfresco style contribute to the character of this precinct.

Mackay, located halfway between Brisbane and Cairns is surrounded magnificent beaches and country charm. The streets are lined with towering Royal Palms and ferns with colouful parrots giving the town a unique tropical appearance. With a population of 40 000 the town is an important centre for the sugar industry shipping almost one third of Australia's total production. There is easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, and beautiful mainland beaches and the spectacular Eungella , and Hillsbourough National Parks are close by.

Airlie Beach
The delightful coastal village of Airlie Beach is the mainland centre for the Whitsunday Islands.
Surrounded by the Conway Range National park to the west and the Whitsundays at its front door Airlie beach is holiday destination in its own right. There are many popular rainforest walks through the lush valleys of the Conway Ranges which take in waterfalls and some of the oldest surviving rainforest in the world. Daily 4WD tours are also available into the heart of the rainforest where visitors can experience the spectacular flora and fauna which includes:- red and white cedars; exotic wild orchids; enormous strangler figs and famous brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly. There are many stunning beaches around Airlie. Earlando and Dingo beaches are favorites for fishing and beachcombing while Funnel Bay, 4km from the village is one of the most picturesque spots on the coast.

Charters Towers
Charters Towers in is situated 135km south-west of Townsville, with a population of almost 10 000 In its "hey day" as a gold-rush town it maintained a population three times that of the present. From 1871, and until 1911, some seven million ounces of gold were extracted from the region. The enormous gold reserves prompted the building of Australia's first regional stock exchange. This magnificent heritage building has been fully restored in recent years. Grand hotels, banks and public buildings of that era are still in use today giving the visitor a glimpse of what life must have been like back in the boom times. The major industry for the region is now cattle, however renewed interest in mining has attracted many companies to the area, the remaining gold being reached only by modern mechanised methods.

Located 123 kilometres south-west of Townsville, the historic town of Ravenswood once boasted more than 50 hotels in the booming gold rush days of the turn of the century. Today Ravenswood is classified as a heritage town through the National Trust of Queensland. The Ravenswood Restoration and Preservation Society actively works to coordinate the preservation of the array of historic buildings. The town is a short 90 minute drive from Townsville, and gives a fascinating insight into the history and heritage of the areas gold rush era. A booklet is available on five heritage trails which incorporate the many heritage buildings of the town, historic mining sites and the "White Blow", an outcrop of white quartz located several kilometres out of the town. The impressive Imperial Hotel. Built in 1902 is magnificently restored complete with swinging saloon doors, a red cedar hand carved bar in the shape of a horseshoe and beautiful leadlighting.

Bowen situated on a peninsular in the shores of Port Deninson is Northern Queensland's oldest town. With a colourful past stretching back to 1770 the town was proclaimed in 1861. The historical museum and the Bowen Murals are some attractions

See also Islands of Australia for more holiday information on the region

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