Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park Townsville

Photo credit: Phil Copp © Queensland Government

Things to do

    Walk or cycle to Shelly Cove.

    Photo credit: Fiona O'Grady © Queensland Government

    Camping and accommodation


    Camping is not permitted in Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park.

    Other accommodation

    There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Townsville. For more information, see the tourism information links.

    Walking and mountain biking

    The Cape Pallarenda trails are a network of shared walking and mountain biking trails in the Cape Pallarenda and Townsville Town Common conservation parks.

    The trails range from short easy walks to challenging hikes and cross country mountain bike rides. Consider your fitness level before undertaking the extended trails.

    The give way code, Cape Pallarenda trails

    The Cape Pallarenda trails are shared between walkers, runners and bike riders. Please be careful and courteous to all trails users and follow the shared trails give way code.

    • Be alert for bike riders approaching from either direction.
    • Cyclists must alert others when approaching.
    • Everyone must slow down and go around wildlife.


    Trail descriptions

    Shelly Cove trail

    Grade 3 Intermediate

    Distance: 750m one way
    Time: allow 45min walking time; 10min riding time
    Details: walkers and bike riders share this trail. Following an old access road created during World War II, this trail provides access to the beach at Shelly Cove on the northern side of the Cape Pallarenda headland. Large rock steps lead to the beach at the end of the trail. Trail users can return along the way they came or continue along the Under the Radar trail.

    An afternoon sea breeze and stunning views across Rowes Bay are on offer along the Graves circuit walk.

    Photo credit: Phil Copp © Queensland Government

    Graves circuit

    Grade 3 Bicycles prohibited

    Distance: 2km circuit
    Time: allow 1.5hr walking time
    Details: starting 110m along the Shelly Cove trail, this circuit winds through woodland and vine thicket behind the Quarantine Station before returning along the Forts walk. Pass a weir built in 1925 and the graves of 13 people who died from meningitis at the Quarantine Station in 1920. Return along the Forts walk and the Shelly Cove trail.

    Find a WWII gun pit on the Forts walk.

    Photo credit: Fiona O'Grady © Queensland Government

    Forts walk

    Grade 3 Bicycles prohibited

    Distance: 500m one way
    Time: allow 45min walking time
    Details: this walk starts 290m along the Shelly Cove trail and leads up to a number of World War II gun emplacements and a searchlight station on Cape Pallarenda headland. Experience sweeping views of Townsville and Magnetic Island, return the way you came.

    Under the Radar trail (UTR)

    Grade 3 Intermediate

    Distance: 10.1km one way
    Time: allow 5hr walking time; 2hr riding time
    Details: this narrow, two-way trail is designed for cross country mountain biking. Walkers must be alert and considerate for mountain bike riders approaching from either direction.

    At its eastern end, UTR begins 700m along the Shelly Cove trail and crosses the northern and western slopes of Many Peak Range. It provides excellent views of the islands to the north and the Coral Sea beyond. There is a link trail 6.6km along UTR that leads to Smedley's trail. At its western end, UTR begins 500m along the Shelly Beach trail in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park. UTR has rough surfaces and some steep sections. Trail users can return the way they came or may use the other trails and internal park roads to return to their starting point (see Cape Pallarenda trails map (PDF, 200.7KB) ).

    Remember, follow the Parks and forests mountain bike and cycle with care and the walk with care guidelines.

    Enjoy a morning catch-up with friends or an afternoon picnic in the day use area.

    Enjoy a morning catch-up with friends or an afternoon picnic in the day use area.

    Photo credit: Linda Thompson © Queensland Government

    Picnic and day use area

    The Cape Pallarenda day use area is located on the foreshore overlooking Magnetic Island. Outdoor information displays describe the significance and history of Cape Pallarenda. Picnic tables, taps (treat water before use) and parking are provided.


    Marine waters adjacent to Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park are internationally significant and are protected in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Zones in the two marine parks, the Great Barrier Reef Coast and Great Barrier Reef, provide a balanced approach to protecting the marine and intertidal environments while allowing recreational and commercial use. Check zoning information and maps before entering or conducting any activities in the marine parks.

    Fisheries regulations apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

    Viewing wildlife

    The park is home to many types of birds, wallabies and lizards that are easily spotted in the open woodland environment.

    Read more about the natural environment of Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park.