Known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Magnetic Island, Townsville is one of the country’s top destinations for anyone in search of the sun and sea. It’s also home to Reef HQ and the Turtle Hospital, and there are plenty of hiking trails inland, starting with the city’s hill, Castle Rock, which provides spectacular 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape.
Amid all these natural wonders, Townsville has quietly developed a diverse and delightful culinary scene. After all, you can spend the day adventuring but come home with only food on your mind. With its fantastic views and sunny climate, the city itself might end up being your favourite place to hang out and relax. From appetisers to dessert, from The Strand to Ross River Road, you can enjoy nature’s bounty without fear of wildlife – only of your dentist, perhaps. Here are some of the top areas for food in Townsville.
This 2.2 kilometre stretch of magnificent sand is no secret. Locals and visitors alike come here for views of Magnetic Island while enjoying picnics and barbeque. But there are also excellent dining options along the esplanade for you to relax and take in the sea breeze while being served great food. Longboard Bar & Grill offers a fusion of Australian, American southwestern, and Mexican food, while next door Cbar serves modern Australian food from breakfast till evening.
Overlooking the Breakwater Marina are some great food places. The Pier, fashioned from a former inn, serves up local seafood platters to match the scenery. Quarterdeck Restaurant at The Ville Resort-Casino is known for its weekly specials and dinner menus, while Miss Song’s is one of the city’s top restaurants for modern Chinese.
A favourite of local foodies, Palmer Street, showcases some of the best dining in Townsville. For many travellers, visiting at JAM is a must – the restaurant specialises in local ingredients and North Queensland cuisines, such as barramundi and bugs. They also offer evening degustation menus, a seasonal breakfast menu, and the Asian chicken omelette is highly recommended.
Other staples include IMC Steak House for a selection of high-quality Australian beef, and Cactus Jack’s, a long-standing bar and grill serving Tex-Mex cuisine. You can also walk around and explore the sheer variety of restaurants here – there could always be something new to discover.
With its New York precinct-inspired design, City Lane offers dining and entertainment options found nowhere else in North Queensland. Here you’ll find Donna Bionda, serving wood fire pizza, handmade pasta, and secondi. Also nearby, Born Wild caters to those following various diets, offering paleo, vegan, and gluten-free options.
Between City Lane and Palmer Street across the Ross Creek, A Touch of Salt is a well-known family-owned restaurant with an evolving menu – definitely worth a try as you explore the food hubs on either side.
Townsville is mostly overlooked for shopping – there aren’t that many options here compared to the capital cities. The Stockland Townsville Shopping Center is the main destination for shopping in the region. The huge 700 seat food court helps you look around for a quick bite and enjoy a break from shopping. If you’re looking for a more substantial meal, the Vietnamese Colour Restaurant is among the top-rated in the complex, with plenty of vegan options.
Most of our adventures come on foot, but others involve the palate. Wander around the city, and you’ll find Townsville’s various food options to be a great complement to its natural attractions.