Top things to do

Top Choice Aquarium in Townsville

Reef HQ Aquarium

A staggering 2.5 million litres of water flow through the coral-reef tank here, home to 130 coral and 120 fish species. Kids will love seeing, feeding and touching turtles at the turtle hospital. Talks and tours (in…
Top Choice Castle in Around Mission Beach

Paronella Park

Set beside a series of creeks and waterfalls 50km northwest of Mission Beach (with at least one resident croc), this unusual tropical park is a romantic, Dali-esque escape from reality. Day trippers wander dreamily …
Top Choice Museum in Townsville

Museum of Tropical Queensland

An absolute must for school-age children and grown-up science and history fans, the Museum of Tropical Queensland reconstructs scenes using detailed models with interactive displays. At 11am and 2.30pm you can load …
Top Choice Modern Australian in Townsville

Longboard Bar & Grill

The coolest place in Townsville for a light meal and a light party overlooking the water is this surf-themed pub-restaurant, which does terrific nightly specials including tacos and buffalo wings. The regular steak,…
Top Choice Modern Australian in Mission Beach

PepperVine

On the Village Green, PepperVine is an uncomplicated contemporary restaurant borrowing from Italian, Spanish and Mod-Oz culinary influences, but nailing the atmosphere and service. Wood-fired pizza and a glass of Au…
Top Choice Diner in Tully

Redgates Steakhouse

A top bloke runs this spacious diner on the way into town. The menu is long and ever-changing, but the mainstays are the burgers – both the fish and beef ($12) get a massive thumbs up, while the thickshakes and coff…
Top Choice Cafe in Mission Beach

Bingil Bay Cafe

Sunshine, rainbows, coffee and gourmet grub make up the experience at this lavender landmark with a great porch for watching the world drift by. Breakfast is a highlight, but it's open all day. Regular art displays …
Top Choice Cafe in Magnetic Island

Cafe Nourish

Horseshoe Bay has become the hip cafe strip and our favourite cafe on the island does the small things well: fresh, healthy wraps, breakfasts, smoothies and energy balls. And don't even get us started on the coffee.…
Top Choice Deli in Innisfail

Oliveri's Continental Deli

An Innisfail institution offering goodies including 60-plus varieties of European cheese, ham and salami, and scrumptious sandwiches. Fantastic coffee, too.
Research Institute in Townsville

Australian Institute of Marine Science

Scheduled to re-commence free two-hour tours (10am Fridays from March through November) in mid-2017 after extensive renovations, this marine-research facility at Cape Ferguson conducts crucial research into issues s…