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Explore Townsville with car hire from DriveNow

If you’re looking for an exceptional holiday destination, you might want to keep Townsville in mind. Located toward the north-eastern corner of Australia, this tropical gem is home to an amazing array of tremendous treats. Need to check the Great Barrier Reef off your bucket list? Do all the swimming, snorkelling, and diving you’ve been dreaming of on your Townsville trip. Or maybe you’re just looking for a welcoming climate in which to eat, drink, and relax during your time off. You can find that in Townsville, too. This outpost in north Queensland might be a bit further away than other destinations in the state, but it’s certainly no less worthy of a visit next time you have some time off.

Townsville, like other parts of Queensland, can be known for its hot, humid climate. But, unlike its nearby neighbours that are often sopping wet, the city does not get as much rain as one might think due to its location. Despite this drier disposition, the region has had to stand up to dangerous natural threats over the years, with tropical storms and other dangerous disasters buffeting its coasts with high-powered winds and flooding threats. However, the region and its people have always come good, consistently providing a friendly atmosphere and a thriving tourism industry to welcome visitors from all over Australia and the rest of the world via Townsville Airport.

If you love living life on the road, Townsville can also be the jumping off point for any number of memorable road trips. When you get your hands on car hire in Townsville, this fantastic destination becomes even more attractive. The city can be your gateway to the other amazing spots in the area, whether you want to head up north to Cairns and Port Douglas or south to Airlie Beach, Proserpine, or Mackay. There’s even Magnetic Island off the mainland, a floating national park full of amazing trails and luxurious beaches.

Wherever your travels take you, let DriveNow’s convenient car rental in Townsville help you get there in comfort and style.

How to Arrange Convenient Car Hire at Townsville Airport

Airport Information

Address: Corner of Halifax Street and Stinson Avenue, Garbutt, QLD 4814

Code: TSV

Telephone: +61 87 4727 3211

Location: Townsville Airport is located about 6.5km (4 miles) west of the Townsville

No. of Terminals: 1

Timezone: GMT/UTC +10:00

Townsville Airport, also known as Garbutt Airport in reference to the suburb in which it sits, is smaller than its larger southern counterparts. That’s great news for both international and domestic travellers visiting northern Queensland, as the airport’s single terminal is easy to navigate.

International and domestic arrivals operate out of the same building, so there’s no need to worry about deciphering shuttle bus routes or internal trains with your entire luggage. In addition to areas all over Australia, Townsville Airport has travel routes to and from Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby and well as popular holiday spot Bali. If you’re flying in from overseas, you’ll need to head to the opposite end of the terminal to pick up your luggage at the carousels.

You shouldn’t have much trouble if you’re looking to hire a car at Townsville Airport, especially if you get everything sorted with DriveNow before your trip. Comparing available makes and models and completing your reservation before you take off means you’ll have a set of keys ready and waiting for you upon arrival so you can get on with your holiday. You can choose from a diverse range of leading vehicles from our trusted partners, including Avis, Thrifty, Budget, Europcar, and Hertz. You can pick up and drop off your Townsville Airport car hire at the rental car park situated at the arrivals end of the terminal.

If your first port of call is Townsville itself, you’ll want to head east toward the CBD. There’s a few different ways to go, though the fastest tends to be making your way to Bundock Street/State Route 16 and taking it all the way into town. The drive is short, so you can drop your bags at your accommodation and get out and about quickly in your car rental from Townsville Airport.

Where to Stay in Townsville

Although you probably won’t be spending too much time in your room during your Townsville holiday, it’s still quite important to have a base from which you can operate and lay your head when you need to recharge your batteries. Here are some outstanding options for a variety of holiday experiences.

The Ville Resort-Casino

The Ville Resort-Casino offers a buzzing atmosphere, a collection of luxurious rooms, and a location that gives you easy access to all of Townsville either by foot or in your cheap car rental. When not out on the town, you can catch all the big games on the big screen, see bands and shows swinging through town, or, of course, try your luck in the casino.

In addition to the glitz and glamour that comes with staying at a ritzy casino, you’ll also get amazing views of Townsville and its beautiful surrounds. Located at the scenic Breakwater Marina, you can choose to gaze over the collection of boats, the Townsville skyline, or even outward all the way to Magnetic Island.

Beach House Motel

The Strand is a great place to enjoy the beautiful weather of Townsville, and the Beach House Motel gives you a chance to set up in the heart of an outstanding outdoor area. You won’t need plush 5-star amenities with this spectacular location, as you’ll be right in the heart of everything that makes Townsville such a sweet holiday spot.

Grand Hotel and Apartments

Looking for a little bit of everything that Townsville has to offer? The Grand Hotel and Apartments puts you within a short walk or drive in your car rental in Townsville of whatever it is you’re looking for. The Palmer Street location means you’ll have some of the city’s hottest restaurants and bars outside your door, while you’re just minutes away from the Strand, the Ville Casino, and the rest of the CBD.

You can choose from more standard hotel rooms that you’re used to or fully serviced apartments perfect for families or those travelling on business. There’s even a swimming pool and full gymnasium for you to take advantage of during your stay if you need to get some physical activity in.

What to do in Townsville

Hit the Strand

The Rockpool at the Strand provides a safe, fun aquatic area for swimmers of all ages

A beachy oasis minutes from the city by foot, the Strand provides more than 2km (1.24 miles) of beachside fun for travellers of all ages. Start the day off with a walk, jog, or cycle around the promenade surrounding glistening beaches. Grab the family and have a picnic before heading in for a swim in the Rockpool, an enclosed swimming area perfect for splish splashers of all ages. Or post up at one of the great restaurants dotting the area, sipping on a glass of wine or another favoured beverage while drinking in the stunning views. The Strand’s proximity to the CBD makes it one thing for which you don’t need a Townsville car hire.

Gardens Galore

There are several great botanical gardens in Townsville. Queens Gardens is only about 1.2km (.75 miles) away, close enough to walk if you feel so inclined. This heritage listed garden is stuffed full of unusual, colourful plants as well as a section dedicated to the tropical rain forests for which the region has become known.

The other major botanical garden nearby is much larger and newer. The Anderson Park Botanic Gardens are about 6km (3.7 miles) southwest of the Townsville CBD, so you’re most likely going to want to get behind the wheel of a hire car in Townsville to check out the hectares and hectares of great plants, as well as the conservatory and lagoon that make up this great spot.

Bluewater Park

If you’re up for a bit of a drive, Bluewater Park features a scenic freshwater creek along which you can have a relaxing picnic with your fellow travellers. Bring chips, dips, and antipasto for some quick and easy nourishment, or grab some snags and use the free BBQs available near the creek. With one of the rental cars in Townsville, you can hop behind the wheel and head about 30 minutes northwest on the Bruce Highway to this stunning destination.

See the Cowboys in Action

Those looking for horses and lassos might be sorely disappointed here. But if you’re into hard-hitting, high quality sport, the North Queensland Cowboys can provide it in spades. The 2015 National Rugby League (NRL) champions call Townsville home, hosting opponents at 1300SMILES Stadium and enjoying some of the best support in the entire competition. Cheap car hire in Townsville is your ticket to checking out some pulse-pounding NRL action on your holidays. From the Townsville CBD, take Flinders Street south to Woodcock Street west. Then hang a left on Dalrymple Road and take it all the way to Golf Links Drive.

Great Places to Eat and Drink in Townsville

From pub grub you’ve come to know and love to locally sourced delicacies, the Townsville food scene has a little bit of something for everyone!

A Touch of Salt

Looking for fine, delicious dining that puts a fresh spin on Aussie classics? You’ll find it at A Touch of Salt on Ogden Street bordering the Ross River in the Townsville CBD. This hatted establishment features carefully crafted dishes perfect for sharing or devouring yourself, with amazing steaks and locally sourced seafood options just the tip of the incredible tasty iceberg. Local foodies have made a habit of indulging in the exquisite degustation menus (with matching wines, of course).

Flinders Street East

If you’re after some action when the sun goes down, Flinders Street East is the place to be. This hip part of Townsville combines classic buildings with new-age eating and drinking experiences that run the gamut from traditional Australian pub fare to international dishes from Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, and Italian restaurants. The recent improvements made in the area have made it a local favourite.

One of the top spots in the area is the Townsville Brewery. Operating out of an old post office, this mainstay has been through quite a few changes over the last decade. But one thing has remained the same — locals and visitors still love pulling up a chair and drowning a few locally produced frothies at this iconic pub.

The Townsville Brewery’s lounge area is a step up from your standard pub experience, featuring a bit more comfort than your local’s sticky floors and dingy posters. If you want something even finer, you can check out the connected Malt restaurant. Serving up high quality Australian fare with beer to match, sit down to a mighty steak and pint that won’t remind you of the tough, rubbery $10 chucks you’re used to.

Palmer Street

Another happening spot in Townsville that can provide a sweet backdrop for a night out with your friends, family, or partner is Palmer Street. This stretch is stuffed full of great restaurants, many of which pride themselves on using high quality ingredients sourced from around the region.

The Strand

We told you this place had the eating and drinking hubs to match the activity paths and swimming spots! The Strand has a handful of great establishments lining its sandy shores in which you can sit down for a meal or grab some quick takeaway.


You can work up quite the appetite strolling and swimming at the Strand. When it happens, make tracks for Juliette’s, one of Townsville’s favourite places to grab a cup of gelato, coffee, or both. You’ll find friends meeting up, professionals grabbing some joe with which to face the day, exercisers recovering after a tough workout — this Strand spot is great for hanging out solo or with mates.

Longboard Bar & Grill

If you’re looking to sink a few brews and order up some decent pub grub with mates, all while wrapped up in a scenic setting, Longboard Bar & Grill is a more-than decent shout. This beachy, surf-themed venue is perfectly perched on the Headlands of the Strand. The breeze from the sea air that cools the outdoor seating and the air conditioned area inside means you’ll be able to drink and eat in comfort regardless of the weather.

Great Road Trips for You and Your Townsville Car Hire

The Queensland coast is covered in amazing towns in which to visit, whether you’re looking to spend a day out on the road or the better part of a week. With affordable car and campervan hire in Townsville, you can have a wonderful trip within your trip.


About 720km (447 miles) down the coast of Queensland sits Rockhampton, home to amazing weather throughout the year as well as numerous outstanding outdoor activities to take advantage of such conditions. Mount Archer National Park is a particular highlight, as are the nearby Capricorn Caves. You’ll also find some signs of a time gone by, with rustic, heritage-listed buildings throughout town that harken back to the city’s creation in 1853.

While the town itself is plenty worthy of a visit, Rockhampton can be a perfect bookend for a memorable Queensland cruise in your Townsville hire car.

About 275km (171 miles) into your journey, you can make a stop at Airlie Beach, the hub for the breath-taking Whitsunday Islands. Perhaps the most popular location for travellers looking for a taste of the Great Barrier Reef, you can park your hire car and hit the water to experience the bursting colour and vibrant wildlife found beneath the ocean’s surface. Mackay is another quality stop on the route, about 336km (209 miles) from Rockhampton, and holds heaps of outdoor fun for the whole family here.

The Great Green Way

With a name like that, how could you resist? If heading south from Townsville doesn’t float your boat, point your compass north and set off for Cairns, another beautiful coastal Queensland destination. Known as the Great Green Way, this trip from Townsville is about 410km (255 miles) long and packed with views as far as the eye can see. You’ll get bursting rural areas, lush forests, and glittering beaches along the way. And don’t forget to swing by for a happy snap at the giant Golden Gumboot!

Overlander’s Way

This one is not for the faint of heart! The Overlander’s Way road trip encompasses a massive 1081kms (672 miles) and can take upwards of a week to complete. However, the journey is worth it, as you’ll get to see several of the greatest aspects of Queensland. You’ll begin with the beautiful coastline of Townsville’s beaches and speed toward the border of the Northern Territory, slowly transitioning to rocky, dusty terrain associated with the Outback. Along the way you’ll pass through key historic cities such as Charters Towers, Hughenden, and Mt Isa.

Dive in to Amazing Aquatic Attractions around Townsville

There are plenty of amazing things to do in and around this remarkable slice of Australia, whether it’s the amazing places to pull up a chair for a pint of ale or a plate of phenomenal food or the routes you can cruise down in your Townsville car rental.

But the magic of Townsville extends well beyond the physical borders of Australia. If you’re ready to give your sea legs a go, chuck on your swimmers, slap on the sunscreen, and dive into these magnificent marine experiences.

Magnetic Island

Much like Rottnest Island is to Perth, Magnetic Island is just a short ferry ride away from Townsville and offers a diverse collection of wildlife and activities for travellers of various ages and interests.

While Cairns and Port Douglas can be excellent options from which to dive in, Magnetic Island offers something a bit different to the other islands found within Great Barrier Reef National Park. Whereas other islands in the area are generally characterised by fantastic tropical rain forests, Magnetic Island serves up mountainous beauty and a landscape chock full of awesome walking trails. That being said, you can certainly get your fill of Vitamin D via the sun’s rays at one of the sweet beaches on the island if you so please.

The ferry takes about half an hour to get you from mainland Townsville to Magnetic Island. While the Fantasea ferry gives you the chance to take your Townsville car hire over for increased island investigation power, make sure to do a bit of research before rocking up to the pickup point. Consider if it’s worth paying the extra fees to get your vehicle over to the other side based on your itinerary. You’ll also need to check with your car rental supplier to see if they have any restrictions on using car ferries or driving on Magnetic Island.

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef needs no introduction!

It’s hard to pass up a chance to get amongst the living, breathing natural wonder of this attraction when in Townsville. Luckily for you, there are all sorts of ways you can get yourself in the water, whether you’re more comfortable snorkelling up on the surface or want to reach the deeper depths of the area via SCUBA.

You can take a tour amongst the marine life from the aforementioned Magnetic Island, or you can follow some of the great self-guided snorkelling trails established in the area. Of course, you don’t have to head to Magnetic Island to get your fix of the Reef. You can simply hop on a boat straight from the shores of Townsville and before you know it be kicking your flippers and staring in awe at the amazing fish swimming below you.

It’s alright if you can’t bring yourself to hop in the water and swim around with the wildlife. You can still get a taste of some reef action at the Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium. Here you’ll be able to take a tour of a virtual coral reef, learning all about how its created and how it continues to survive.