Geography and Surrounds
The Region (North Queensland)
North Queensland is a diverse geographic region, offering a range of lifestyle and career experiences in unique and spectacular locations – from the Whitsundays, up the coast to Townsville, west through to Mount Isa and up to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The region is home to welcoming communities, a laid-back culture, rich history and ancient landscapes waiting to be explored.
From holiday spam-worthy beaches to the rusted dirt of Queensland’s outback… there’s something for everyone in North Queensland!
The North Queensland region encompasses vibrant urban centres, productive agricultural land and of course, the spectacular Great Barrier Reef. It has two distinct weather seasons. The wet season is over summer, with most of the rainfall between December and March and temperatures from 24 to 32 degrees Celsius. Winter is much drier, with temperature ranges between 15 and 26 degrees.
North Queensland’s economy is diverse and includes mining, manufacturing, agriculture including sugarcane, beef, and small crop production, and small businesses with a growing focus on technology and innovation.
Townsville, the capital of North Queensland, is a garrison city with Army and Air Force bases, a busy port and ferry terminal that links the mainland to scenic Magnetic Island just off the coast.
The North Queensland region boasts some of the most beautiful sections of the Great Barrier Reef, picturesque Hinchinbrook Island, as well as the wreck of the SS Yongala, one of the top 10 dive sites in the world and is home to the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) installation.
Townsville is a major regional city which provides all the modern conveniences of a big city without the commute time or crowds.
Known as the second capital of Queensland, Townsville offers a laid-back tropical lifestyle.
The city is known for its boutique shopping, spectacular major sports and cultural events, live concerts and entertainment, urban street art and its wide-range of restaurants, cafes and street side dining options.
Come and enjoy one of the many alfresco dining experiences, relax with a cool drink at one of the many cafes and restaurants that look out upon The Strand or embrace the city’s thriving nightlife at one of the numerous laneway bars or eateries.
Nature lovers will be at home in Townsville, which has an average of 300 days of sunshine each year to explore the many local natural wonders with their family, partner and friends. In your downtime, you’ll be able to explore the tropical islands, wetlands, the Great Barrier Reef , wet tropics rainforests and beachfronts, all at your doorstep.
Townsville is just a short ferry ride from the picturesque Magnetic Island and it’s many beaches and forts walk through the national park.
You can also spend your weekends front row at a Cowboys home game or be trackside at the Townsville 400 V8 Supercar event.
No matter what your ideal lifestyle looks like, Townsville offers a diverse range of historical, military, outback, island, active and tranquil experiences to suit anyone.
Townsville lies approximately 1,350 kilometres (840 mi) north of Brisbane, and 350 kilometres (220 mi) south of Cairns. It lies on the shores of Cleveland Bay, protected to some degree from the predominantly south-east weather.
Cleveland Bay is mostly shallow inshore, with several large beaches and continually shifting sand bars. Magnetic Island lies 8 kilometres (5 mi) offshore, to the north of the city centre. It, together with Castle Hill in the town centre and Mount Stuart to the south of the city, form a large quartz monzonite igneous province.
The Ross River flows through the city. Three weirs, fish stocking and dredging of the river in these reaches has resulted in a deep, stable and clean waterway used for many recreational activities such as water skiing, fishing and rowing. Thirty kilometres (19 mi) from the mouth (at the junction of Five Head Creek) is the Ross River Dam, the major water storage for the urban areas.
The historic waterfront on Ross Creek, site of the original wharves and port facilities, has some old buildings mixed with the later modern skyline. However, the central city is dominated by the mass of red granite of Castle Hill, 286 metres (938 ft) high. There is a lookout at the summit giving panoramic views of the city and its suburbs, including Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island. There are a number of parks scattered throughout the city, including three botanical gardens — Anderson Park, Queens Gardens and The Palmetum. See also, ‘The Climate’ for insight to the city’s regional weather and climate profile.
Located just an hour and a half west of Townsville, the outback town of Charters Towers will captivate history lovers.
Take a step back in time and visti one of Queenslands most historically important towns.
Charters Towers quickly grew to become the second largest town in Queensland after a chance discovery of gold in 1871. Prospectors rushed to the town and discovered over 200 tonnes of gold over the next 36 years.
You won’t find hordes of prospectors looking to find their fortune in the gold fields today, so the pace is much more relaxing. The magnificent heritage buildings remain in the heart of the town and are a standing reminder of its memorable Australian gold-mining history and heritage.
In your downtime, explore the Overlander’s Way which runs through the town, take in the views from Towers Hill Lookout , visit the iconic drive-in cinema, pan for gold or do a tour to meet some Texas Longhorn cattle.
The town is a living tribute to the history of western Queensland and a fantastic place for teachers to start or progress their career.
Famous for being the sugar capital of Australia, the Burdekin district is located about a 1 hour drive south of Townsville.
Nestled in the delta of the Burdekin River, its 2 popular townships, Ayr and Home Hill, are linked by the iconic Burdekin Bridge.
The region produces the biggest sugar cane crops in the country, together with a diverse selection of vegetables and tropical fruits.
Along the coast, you’ll find Alva Beach, a popular launching spot for dive boats heading out to explore the S.S Yongala shipwreck . This shipwreck has been ranked as one of the top 10 wreck dives in the world because of its abundant mega-marine life and corals. The Burdekin region is also a popular spot for fishing, well-known for its barramundi, mud crabs, other estuary species and off-coast reef fishing.
Whitsundays is in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, stretching from Proserpine in the south to Bowen in the north; west to Collinsville and east to Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday islands, an archipelago of 74 green islands and sandy atolls surrounded by tropical blue waters.
Bowen – the northern jewel in the Whitsundays crown
Bowen, home to the Big Mango, is a leisurely 45-minute drive from Airlie Beach. With Instagram-worthy beaches, beautiful bays and a warm tropical climate, it’s perfect for teachers looking for a laid-back lifestyle by the water.
Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the infamous Whitsunday Islands seen on many travel brochures promoting Queensland. With soft, white sands, crystal clear waters and spectacular corals, you could make this popular travel destination your home. Learn more about living in the Whitsundays from the Whitsundays Regional Council .
Ingham is a tropical paradise located an hour and a half north of Townsville.
There is plenty to love about living and teaching in Ingham. On your weekends, relax in the beautifully peaceful Ingham Memorial Botanic Gardens , bask in the natural beauty of the TYTO Wetlands or follow the Hinchinbrook Heritage Trail to learn the history of the area, which includes its rich Italian history.
With over half of Ingham’s population being of Italian descent, it is no surprise that it is often referred to as ‘Little Italy’. The annual Australian-Italian Festival in August brings thousands of visitors to the town to enjoy Italian wine, cuisine, music and culture.
A short drive south will take you to the awe-inspiring Wallaman Falls , Australia’s highest permanent single drop waterfall, or travel north to the pristine Hinchinbrook Island, a nature lover’s paradise.
Palm Island is an Aboriginal community, located northeast of Townsville in the Great Barrier Reef, also known by the Aboriginal name ‘Bwgcolman’.
The island has an active art community and works can be seen on display at the Palm Island Artists Centre all year round. Fishing, whale watching, horse riding and bush walks are popular past times, as well as snorkelling the abundant coral reefs that surround the island.