Oh no, here we go again. We arrived late into Townsville, dropped off by the Greyhound at the ferry terminal where we would depart two days later to Magnetic Island. We walked back into town with our bags. It was Friday night, and the drinkers were starting to fill the streets outside the grotty-looking Irish bars.
The first hostel we tried was full, not that there was anyone to speak to, only a 'No Vacancy' sign on the window. We stumbled across a 2nd hostel close-by that had some dorm accommodation available. The front desk was closing for the night, and we were pretty desperate. We had to be really to even consider checking into this place, but it seemed to match our budget. Luckily, the two Belgian guys that we ended up sharing a room with were considerate enough. We walked around town for a bit, feeling a bit edgy in the rough atmosphere and decided to head for McDonalds to make use of the free wifi. It didn't work. Marvellous. Two nights was probably going to be too long in Townsville.
Luckily, apart from walking up and down 'The Strand' and visiting Coffee Club (for overpriced coffee with 30 mins free wifi) as a special treat, we found one activity that suited us very well, and it got us away from town for free. We walked up the 'Goat Track' to the top of Castle Hill, and had a good day out with a picnic and fantastic views from the top.
Townsville feels as though it is part way through a major rejuvenation project and there are still some stark contrasts in the people and buildings that make up the place. We weren't tempted by the museums or other paid-for attractions here but the good weather allowed us to enjoy walking and a brief period on the beach, setting us up nicely to visit Magentic Island.