Townsville Town Common Conservation Park Townsville

Photo credit: © Qld Govt

Things to do

    Some of the trails are shared-use, for walkers and mountain bike riders. Photo: Fiona O'Grady, Queensland Government

    Some of the trails are shared-use, for walkers and mountain bike riders. Photo: Fiona O'Grady, Queensland Government

    Ride the Under the Radar trail for a view to Magnetic Island. Photo: Fiona O'Grady, Queensland Government

    Ride the Under the Radar trail for a view to Magnetic Island. Photo: Fiona O'Grady, Queensland Government

    A pair of binoculars will help spot the more elusive birds in the park. Photo: Fiona O'Grady, Queensland Government

    A pair of binoculars will help spot the more elusive birds in the park. Photo: Fiona O'Grady, Queensland Government

    Brolgas feeding near Long Swamp, Pandanus viewing area. Photo: Fiona O'Grady, Queensland Government

    Brolgas feeding near Long Swamp, Pandanus viewing area. Photo: Fiona O'Grady, Queensland Government

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    Camping is not permitted in Townsville Town Common 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 Townsville Town Common and Cape Pallarenda conservation parks.

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

    Maps

    Key to trail standards

    The classification system is based on Australian Standards. Please note that while each trail is classified according to its most difficult section, other sections may be of an easier level.

    Australian Walking Track Grading System
    Grade Description
    Grade 2 walking trackGrade 2 No bushwalking experience required. The track is a compacted surface.
    Grade 3 walking trackGrade 3 Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections and a rough surface.
    Grade 4 walking trackGrade 4 Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signs may be limited.
    International Mountain Bicycling Association, Australia
    Grade Description
    Easy mountain bike trailEasy Wide trail with gentle gradient and smooth surface. Some obstacles such as roots, logs and rocks. Suitable for beginner mountain bikers with basic mountain bike skills and off-road bikes.
    Intermediate mountain bike trailIntermediate A trail with moderate gradients, variable surface and obstacles. May include steep sections. Suitable for skilled mountain bikers with a good standard of fitness and basic off-road riding skills.
    Trails at a glance
    Trail name Distance Walking time Classification
    Shelly Beach trail 8 km return 4 hrs Grade 4 walking trackEasy mountain bike trail
    Under the Radar trail (UTR) 10.1 km one-way 5 hrs Grade 3 walking trackIntermediate mountain bike trail
    Smedley's trail 6.8 km circuit 3 hrs Grade 4 walking trackIntermediate mountain bike trail
    Many Peaks track 5.7 km one-way 3 hrs Grade 4 walking trackBicycles prohibited
    Lagoon trail 4.6 km one-way 2 hrs Grade 3 walking trackEasy mountain bike trail
    Freshwater trail 3.6 km one-way 2 hrs Grade 4 walking trackIntermediate mountain bike trail
    Jacana bird hide 450 m one-way 30 mins Grade 3 walking trackIntermediate mountain bike trail
    Wetland walk 850 m return 30 mins Grade 2 walking trackBicycles prohibited
    Forest walk 1.7 km return 1 hr return Grade 3 walking trackBicycles prohibited

    Trail descriptions

    Shelly Beach trail Grade 4 walking trackEasy mountain bike trail

    Distance: 8.2 km return
    Time: allow 4 hrs walking time

    Walkers and mountain bikers share this trail.

    Following the edge of a large marine plain, this trail leads through coastal woodland before finishing at the western end of Shelly Beach. Trail users must return the way they came. The northern part of this trail, towards the beach, is soft and sandy, and can be physically demanding.

    Under the Radar trail (UTR) Intermediate mountain bike trailGrade 3 walking track

    Distance: 10.1 km one-way
    Time: allow 5 hrs walking time

    This narrow two-way trail is for cross country mountain biking. Walkers must be alert and considerate for mountain bike riders approaching from either direction.

    At its western end, the trail starts 500 m along the Shelly Beach trail and crosses the western and northern slopes of Many Peaks Range. It provides excellent views of the islands to the north and the Coral Sea beyond. At its eastern end, the trail begins 700 m along the Shelly Cove trail. 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 the Cape Pallarenda Trails map (PDF, 209.2KB) ).

    Smedley's trail Intermediate mountain bike trailGrade 4 walking track

    Distance: 6.8 km circuit
    Time: allow 3 hrs walking time

    Accessed via a link from UTR (6.6 km from the eastern beginning of UTR) or 2.8 km from the beginning of Shelly Beach trail. This circuit winds around Smedley’s hill taking in panoramic views over the Town Common wetlands, Bohle River and the Coral Sea to the north. It is a challenging but rewarding ride with steep sections, rock obstacles, rock armoured corners and optional B lines that are rated as difficult.

    Many Peaks track Grade 4 walking trackBicycles prohibited

    Distance: 5.7 km one-way
    Time: allow 3 hrs walking time

    Starting at the western end, or 450 m along the eastern end of the Lagoon trail, this challenging walk across Many Peaks Range leads to the summit of Mount Marlow, before descending through vine thickets and woodland towards the wetlands below. The walk has spectacular views over the Town Common wetlands and along the coastline from the Palm Islands in the north to Cape Cleveland in the south. Some sections of the trail are very steep and there are many steps. In some areas the trail can be indistinct and walkers must follow the orange trail markers. Walkers may return on the same trail or via the Lagoon trail.

    Lagoon trail Grade 3 walking trackEasy mountain bike trail

    Distance: 4.6 km one-way
    Time: allow 2 hrs walking time

    Walkers and mountain bike riders share this trail.

    Starting at the intersection of Freshwater and Shelly Beach trails or opposite Walter Nesbit Park at the end of Cape Pallarenda Road, this trail follows the edge of Freshwater Lagoon at the southern base of Many Peaks Range. The trail can become boggy after wet weather. Trail users can return the way they came or can walk the Many Peaks track or ride the Under the Radar trail to complete a loop.

    Freshwater trail Grade 4 walking trackIntermediate mountain bike trail

    Distance: 3.6 km one-way
    Time: allow 2 hrs walking time

    Walkers and mountain bike riders share this trail.

    Starting at the intersection with Shelly Beach and Lagoon trails, or 1.2 km along the eastern end of the Lagoon trail, Freshwater passes through coastal sand dune vegetation, crosses the dam wall of Freshwater Lagoon and provides access to the Freshwater and Jacana bird hides. Trail users can return the way they came or use the Lagoon or Under the Radar trails to complete a loop.

    Jacana bird hide Grade 3 walking trackIntermediate mountain bike trail

    Distance: 450 m one-way
    Time: allow 30 mins walking time

    Walkers and mountain bike riders share this trail.

    Access the Jacana bird hide from the Freshwater trail—the turn-off to the hide is 350 m from the Freshwater car park. The track leading to the hide is 100 m long. Overlooking Freshwater Lagoon, the bird hide is a good place to spot nesting and foraging waterbirds. Trail users can return the way they came or continue along the Freshwater trail.

    Wetland walk Grade 2 walking trackBicycles prohibited

    Distance: 850 m return
    Time: allow 30 mins walking time

    This short walk starts 150 m along the eastern end of the Lagoon trail and meanders through melaleuca forest within a seasonal wetland.

    Forest walk Grade 3 walking trackBicycles prohibited

    Distance: 1.7 km return
    Time: allow 1 hr walking time

    Starting beside Freshwater Lagoon Road in the southern part of the park, this walk follows the edge of Barramundi Waterhole and is shaded by melaleucas, eucalypts and acacias. In the cooler parts of the day this is a good area for viewing forest birds such as honeyeaters and kingfishers.

    Viewing wildlife

    The Town Common is home to many woodland and waterbird species. Five observation points are provided for keen birdwatchers but many birds (including brolgas) are regularly seen from the roads and trails within the park.

    The Freshwater and Jacana bird hides overlook Freshwater Lagoon. Pandanus and Melaleuca viewing areas, beside Long Swamp are located on Freshwater Lagoon Road and provide space for a vehicle to pull over on the roadside. A car park and short track lead to Payets Tower in the south of the park. This observation tower looks out over seasonal wetlands.

    Sand monitors roam the park and are sometimes seen sunning themselves on the roads and trails. Agile wallabies also live in the area.

    Read more about the natural environment of Townsville Town Common Conservation Park.