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When to go

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Getting around

Airport information

Things to do

Rules of attraction

A 20-minute ferry ride whisks visitors to Magnetic Island in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Plunge into the waters at one or more of its 23 beaches and bays, enjoy a reef-based activity or two or hotfoot it along sections of its 25km of walking tracks. The wildlife here, which includes koalas, is another highlight. Entertainment options run the gamut from the Stage Door Theatre Restaurant to weekly cane-toad races.

Stage Door Theatre Restaurant, 5 Hayles Ave, Arcadia, Magnetic Island, tel: +61 (7) 4778 5448

What lies beneath

Ranked as one of the world’s top 10 dive sites, the wreck of the S.S. Yongala is located off the coast of Ayr. A challenge for even the most experienced diver, the sunken passenger ship is considered the equivalent of 10 separate dives. A host of marine creatures, including giant groupers, sea snakes, schools of trevally and turtles, has taken up residence here.

Fall for it

Wallaman Falls (pictured) is Australia’s tallest waterfall at 268m. Located at Girringun National Park, the falls are part of the Wet Tropics Great Walks. Try to spot the musky-rat kangaroo, the elusive platypus and the endangered southern cassowary. Access the base of the falls via Djyinda Walk and see spectacular scenery at every turn. Book your falls day trip with Hidden Valley Cabins and Tours or Kookaburra Tours and Charters.

Girringun National Park, Lumholtz

The wild life

Just 17km south of Townsville on the Bruce Highway, Billabong Sanctuary Australian Wildlife Experience is the place to go to get better acquainted with all manner of indigenous animals in their natural habitat. From dingoes and cassowarries to koalas and kangaroos, wildlife lovers of all ages can mingle with the many furry-footed (or scaly) residents of this 11ha, eco-certified park, take part in feedings and catch shows and talks. Bruce Hwy, Nome, tel: +61 (7) 4778 8344

Tunnel of love

The Reef HQ Aquarium, the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium, offers fun and educational experiences in cooperation with the adjoining National Reef Education Centre. The aquarium’s 20m tunnel allows visitors to scope out all the sea life without getting wet. The place is also home to a turtle hospital that’s open to visitors. Once you’ve deepened your understanding of marine life, venture out into the water with Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive or Remote Area Dive to explore Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

2-68 Flinders St, Townsville City, tel: +61 (7) 4750 0800