Great Barrier Reef Places



Getting Here and Around

Qantas flies frequently from Townsville Airport to Brisbane, Cairns, Cloncurry, Mount Isa, and Mackay, as well as to capital cities around Australia and overseas destinations. Jetstar has services to Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne; Virgin Blue connects Townsville with Cairns, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Rockhampton, Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra. There are no air connections to Magnetic Island; you need to take a ferry from Townsville (A$15.50 one-way, A$29 round-trip). Townsville Taxis are available at the airport. The average cost of the ride to a city hotel is A$21, more after 7 pm.

Townsville is a flat, somewhat dull 1,358-km (844-mi), 16-hour drive from Brisbane. The 348-km (216-mi), 4½-hour journey from Townsville to Cairns, with occasional Hinchinbrook Island views, is more scenic. Greyhound Australia coaches travel regularly to Cairns, Mount Isa, Rockhampton, Brisbane, and other destinations throughout Australia from the Sunferries Terminal on the Breakwater in Townsville.

Traveling to and from Townsville via rail is a low-stress, scenic option. The Sunlander plies the coast between Brisbane and Townsville three times weekly in each direction, taking just under 24 hours. You have the choice of economy-class seats and single, twin, or economy sleeper berths, as well as chef-cooked meals, premium Australian wines, and informative commentary from the maître d'. From Brisbane to Townsville a one-way ticket is A$209 in an economy seat, A$375 in an economy sleeper berth, and A$406.70 in a first-class berth.

On the smooth, state-of-the-art Tilt Train business-class passengers can watch movies and kids' shows on individual TV screens during less scenic segments of the journey, and every second seat's passenger can plug laptops, chargers, and consoles into seat-side 240-volt AC sockets. From Brisbane to Townsville it's A$298, business class. The Inlander connects Townsville with Mount Isa twice weekly in each direction (from A$174.90 in an economy seat to A$357.90 in a first-class berth, one-way). Trains are operated by Queensland Rail.

Once in town, you can can flag Townsville Taxis on the street, find one at taxi stands, hotels, and the island's ferry terminal, or book one online.