Kayaking in Townsville

Places to Paddle

Townsville is full of great places to kayak. Check out some of the destinations below to find out more!

Ross river


Magnetic island

Further afield

Ross River, Townsville

  • The lower reaches of the Ross River course through the Townsville suburbs of Kelso, Condon, Rasmussen, Douglas, Crandbrook, Aitkenvale and Annandale above Aplins weir, before running through the lower reaches of the city and into the Coral Sea. Aplins weir provides a barrier to both salt water, and to Estuarine crocodiles, making the river upstream extremely safe for paddling at any time of the year.
  • Several launch spots for kayaks are available along the river – with the best ones at either Loam Island Reserve in Rasmussen, and at the Townsville Kayak Clubhouse at the Nathan Street Bridge. Both launch spots afford easy access to the river, with over 10 km of paddling possible along the river at Loam Island, and around 8 km of paddling possible at Nathan Street.

Magnetic Island

  • Magnetic Island is a beautiful tropical island, located 7.5 km off the coast of Townsville, in Cleveland Bay. Access to the island by kayak is best achieved by launching from either Pallarenda, or the Strand/Rowes Bay.
  • Magnetic Island has many stunning beaches. There are settlements at Arcadia, Horseshoe Bay, Nelly Bay, Picnic Bay, and West Point, with facilities at all settlements, except West Point.
  • In addition to settlement locations, there are numerous pristine beaches, with golden sand, granite rock formations, and tropical bushland, that make for ideal places to paddle away from it all.
  • Many kayakers paddle from Townsville to Picnic Bay, or Nelly Bay for breakfast at one of the islands cafes, making the return trip back home (16-18 km round trip)
  • A circumnavigation of the island is between 38-48 km in length (depending on how many beaches you stop at to swim!), and makes a great day-trip for the more experienced kayaker.


  • Pallarenda is 9.3 km from downtown Townsville. Pallarenda Beach is 2.6 km long, and has facilities including a seasonal stinger enclosure, public toilets and change rooms, a boat ramp, and access to the Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park and the Town Common.
  • Paddling options from Pallarenda include
    • Magnetic Island – from 7 km one way, depending on the beach you choose to land on
    • Bay Rock – 10 km one way. Bay Rock is located 10 km NNW of Pallarenda beach. There is a small, rocky beach landing on the Western edge of the island. A short walk up the hill to the old lighthouse station affords great views to Townsville, Magnetic Island, and the Palm Island group to the North.
    • Shelly Beach is a 3.1 km long stretch of sandy beach, located west of Cape Pallarenda, approximately 3.5 km coastal paddling from the Pallarenda boat ramp. Longer paddles can be achieved by paddling further west along the beach, and around a small rocky headland to a small bay, approximately 7 km from Pallarenda boat ramp.

The Strand

  • The strand, located near the CBD is a 2.2km world-class beachfront promenade custom-built for enjoyment. Along this palm tree lined stretch are bike and walkway paths, safe swimming beaches, picturesque picnic spots, playgrounds, exercise stations, a water park and restaurants and bars, all overlooking Magnetic Island. Kayaking in this area is possible along the length of the beach. It is a popular launch spot for people wanting to paddle to magnetic Island, or simply along the coastline into Rowes Bay, or into the Ross River or Ross Creek.

Further Afield

  • There are a large number of destinations around the Townsville region, either accessible by a short drive, or by longer, expedition paddles, lasting several days to weeks. We’ll have more details on these coming, soon, including paddling expeditions to Cape Cleveland, the Palm Islands, and beyond!

Being Prepared

Kayaking in the tropics is not without risk.
Specific precautions that should be adhered to include.