There are so many natural wonders and settings for adventure around Townsville and the surrounding area and something for all levels, ages, and abilities. As such, our goals with Wanderstories are threefold: 1) to provide information, 2) to foster inspiration, and 3) to encourage inclusion. These three words – information, inspiration, and inclusion – not only resonate within our Wanderstories community but also among the numerous licensed and social walking, hiking, and adventure clubs and groups around Townsville and North Queensland. While we felt these themes were lacking in Townsville and the Greater North Queensland area with respect to outdoor adventure several years ago, they have really developed nicely in recent years thanks to the numerous groups we describe below.
The official clubs of the region include for rock climbing, bushwalking, running, mountain biking, and kayaking are RANQ, TBWC, TRR, Rockwheelers, and TKC, respectively. Note that there are other official clubs for different disciplines.
Rock climbing is an extremely rewarding, unique sport that presents both physical and mental challenges to people from all walks of life. RANQ aims to promote rock climbing in a fun, safe, and supportive environment. Connecting climbers spanning beginner levels to experienced climbers, RANQ fosters a sense of community among their members, facilitating skill- and knowledge-sharing. As a member of RANQ, gear is provided for you, and you are welcome to join in on regular outdoor climbing trips and events.
The Townsville Bushwalking Club (TBWC) was formed in April 1961 and is Townsville's only government-supported walking, hiking, and bushwalking group. This club is included under the 'umbrella' with all of the other bushwalking clubs around Queensland (e.g., Brisbane, Tablelands, Cairns, etc.). The TBWC conducts regular trips with most being within an hours drive of Townsville, and the club holds monthly meetings where members are available to provide information. The club is funded by guests who join in on walks (i.e., $5 per event for non-members), its members (i.e., $40 annually), and the Queensland Government's Gambling Community Benefit Fund. The TBWC has decades of logbooks, hikes, and experience that a newcomer to Townsville and a Townsville veteran can both appreciate. Most of the walks that the TBWC take include off-track hikes, true bushwalking, rockhopping, and scrambling up scenic mountain creeks, through gorges, or up to mountain peaks. The club conducts a bushwalk every fortnight except during December and January. One-day walks are held on Sundays. Multi-day bushwalks are often planned for long weekends.
Townsville Rockwheelers is the second largest mountain biking club in Australia, with over 1,000 members and growing! They are a mixed bunch, spanning all ages, and are always interested to meet new riders on their social rides. The Rockwheelers are also keen to compete in their club events. Check out their Facebook group, Rockwheelers Adopt A Trail Tribe, which aims to maintain the trail network.
Townsville Kayak Club is a local community organisation affiliated with Queensland Canoeing. They are happy to have anyone in the group join in on their adventures. Membership is not required. They even host "Come and Try Day" on the Ross River and work with the North Queensland Ocean Paddle Series to host competitions.
This club is based at the Ross River between Gleeson's and Aplin's Weir. They have an array of sculling and rowing vessels as well as tinnies for coaching. The club is an official not-for-profit and works with several Townsville schools as well as the wider Townsville community via programs including 'Learn to Row', 'YouthROW', the Townsville All Schools Rowing Association (TASRA), and they participate in competitive and recreational Masters programs. The club hosts regular regattas (school, club, championship) and pride themselves for producing many excellent rowers over the years, some of whom have a represented Queensland and Australia in competitions. Check out the club's Rowing Programs and Memberships pages for more information. The Townsville & JCU Rowing Club Facebook page is where they regularly post information on happenings, events, and courses along with general rowing related content. Finally, do keep any eye on their events calendar as well.
Townsville Road Runners Inc was started in 1972 by a dedicated group of runners. The club welcomes and caters for runners of all ages and abilities. For those who are just starting out, are not so fit or less competitive, most runs incorporate a short course and the club also has a dedicated group of walkers. Members of the club range from teenagers to members well into their seventies and from all walks of life - none of this matters on the regular Saturday morning event. See also the Townsville Road Runners Facebook page.
The Townsville Sailing Club is one of the oldest clubs in Townsville and one of the oldest sailing clubs in Queensland. The Club's present location on The Strand is the latest in a long line of dinghy sailing venues going back over a century. The first settlers in Townsville established the town in 1864 yet as soon as 1895 there was sufficient interest to establish the Townsville Sailing Club. Dinghy sailing is their specialty with over a dozen instructors ready to pass on their skills and introduce you to the sport they love. See the Townsville Sailing Club Facebook page.
DSMRA is a nationwide network of licensed riders who enjoy exploring the bush trails and desert tracks of the great Australian outdoors. As the name "Dual Sport" implies, the club caters for enduro and adventure motorcycles on all terrains. From sealed roads to the toughest bush tracks, we ride responsibly, legally and respectfully. The DSMRA was formed in 1995, in response to increasing restrictions on access for recreational vehicles to public land. See the DSMRA Townsville & Cairns Facebook group.
There are many social groups in the Townsville and the Greater North Queensland area focussing on outdoor adventure. Below are the most relevant, active, and useful groups to date; however, as you may notice, some groups are more active, with respect to events and activities, than others. Still, these social groups provide a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and sense of community.
This adventure group was created in 2020 as a place to ask questions, share trip reports and photos, and to share anything else adventure-, explorer-, expedition-related. The Wanderstories authors work closely with the official clubs (TBWC, RANQ, and Rockwheelers) and Townsville Alive!
This group began in late 2017 as a means for getting active and outdoorsy people together regularly within and around Townsville. One of the most popular activities is a ritual skate night that has evolved since to include all kinds of wheels (e.g., rollerblades, penny-farthings, bicycles, etc.). Skate night commences on The Strand on Monday evenings at 7:30pm and finishes at the Seaview Hotel for drinks and dinner. Weekly yoga and acro-yoga sessions are often held at various locations as well. Many members also have kayaks, surf skis, and stand-up paddleboards and often post on the Townsville Alive! Facebook group about when they are going out and if they have extra gear to loan. Townsville Alive! also helps out the community when they can.
This group was created for like-minded people that are keen on walking around Townsville. This group does walks up Castle Hill, along The Strand walks, through some of the mountain bike trails in Pallarenda and Douglas, and some full day and multi-day hikes. Let's Walk Townsville post their events on the Let's Walk Townsville Meetup Page.
This group includes adventurous, energetic people that enjoy exploring new places and experiencing the outdoors. Activities include bushwalking in Townsville and surrounding areas on Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting. RSVPs are managed through the Townsville Hike And Explore Meetup Page.
The North Queensland Kayakers are relatively informal group of kayakers who mainly paddle white-water and most often on the Tully River, a few hours drive north of Townsville. One key value of this group is inclusion. They welcome all who like to have fun on the water, be it for short paddle trips, day trips, multi-day expeditions, or even a game of canoe polo. As kayaking is a risk-taking activity, it is important to note that this group is also known for looking out for one another. They post about their kayaking events and other activities on their
NQ Kayakers Facebook Group page.
This canyoning group is about sharing canyoning information, trip reports, photos, and social trips in North and Far North Queensland. Canyoning involves a free-flowing watercourse that has drop offs, waterfalls, gorges, canyons, and/or caves where you will be rock hopping, scrambling, jumping, abseiling, and swimming. You will likely get wet!
Hungry Runner is an athletes training group where they often get outdoor for a group trail run and share advice for running, triathlon, and adventure racing. See also the Hungry Runner Facebook Page.
Other Facebook and Meetup Groups
If we've missed any outdoorsy groups or you find a broken link, please contact Wanderstories.