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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Australia: Townsville

Townsville town centre
The lipstick-shaped architectural icon that lies at the centre of Townsville

My next stop after two days' recuperating in Cardwell was Townsville. Townsville's main claim to fame on the travelling circuit is its ferry port, which serves nearby Magnetic Island, and most visitors head straight through with little more than a stop to stock up on sun tan lotion and books for the beach. Having just walked across another island, I thought I'd stay in town for a while before heading for the ferry.

1 Though it's important to note that some visitors love Townsville, and never leave. For example, the slightly cheesy tourist brochure for the town contains the usual political waffle from the mayor, the usual content-free sales talk from the tourist bureau, and the usual exhortations that whatever anyone else says about the rest of Queensland, Townsville does it better. But most telling were the words of wisdom from a local DJ who had come to Townsville for a temporary assignment, and had stayed because he had fallen in love with the place. 'Home is not where you were born,' he wrote beneath a bizarre photograph of him in a dinner jacket emblazoned with 'Townsville, Queensland' and pictures of tropical paradise, none of which bore any resemblance to the town centre I'd been exploring. 'Home is not where you were born, home is where you want to die,' he said. I couldn't help thinking that, perhaps, this wasn't quite what he'd meant to say...