Reef HQ Aquarium
Townsville's excellent aquarium is a living reef on dry land. A staggering 2.5 million litres of water flow through the coral-reef tank, which is home to sharks, rays and over 100 fish species, plus brilliantly hued coral. Kids will love seeing, feeding and touching turtles at the turtle hospital. Talks and tours throughout the day focus on different aspects of the reef and the aquarium.Adjacent to the aquarium, you can continue to experience life underwater at the IMAX cinema.
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Arcadia village has the island's main concentration of shops, eateries and accommodation. Its main beach, Geoffrey Bay, has a reef at its southern end (DERM discourages reef walking). By far its prettiest beach is Alma Bay cove, with huge boulders tumbling into the sea. There's plenty of shade, along with picnic tables and a children's playground here.If you head to the end of the road at Bremner Point, between Geoffrey Bay and Alma Bay, at 5pm, you can have wild rock wallabies – which have become accustomed to being fed at the same time each day – literally eating out of your hand.
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If you're feeling energetic, the panoramic views from the top
of Castle Hill are worth the 2km scramble to the summit; the path to the top begins
at the corner of Wills St & Victoria St.
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Museum of Tropical Queensland
The Museum of Tropical Queensland houses a replica of the HMS
Pandora (which was shipwrecked in 1791 off the
nearby coast), a 1:24 scale model that took 7000 painstaking hours to complete, and
the biggest collection of Great Barrier Reef hard corals anywhere, including the
approaching-antiquity bombie coral. Colourful statues of larger-than-life pioneers
provide a laugh.
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This outstanding living coral reef aquarium showcases many of
the creatures and corals that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef. Every part of the
aquarium recreates a part of the reef: in the massive central tank a dense
population of vivid fish, sharks (including the likes of 'Cuddles'), sawfish and
rays dart across one another. Don't miss the new turtle rehabilitation centre on a
guided tour (strapped-on footwear required), or the opportunity to see the resident
blue-eyed white turtle.
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The Strand, northwest of town, is a zealously nurtured
beachfront esplanade with a marina, cafés, grassy parks, playground (complete with
water bazookas and pull-cord water jets) and stinger enclosure. Elderly citizens
gather around picnic tables, indigenous folk shade-nap by fig trees and languid
storks bathe in the fountains.
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