Back Townsville Town Common Conservation Park

Townsville Town Common

Recreational trails spanning mountain tops, sandy beaches and coastal wetlands. Ride, run or walk the Cape Pallarenda Trails to absorb some amazing views and enjoy nature-based recreation close to Townsville city centre.

Getting there and getting around

Townsville Town Common Conservation Park is 6 km north of the Townsville city centre. Vehicle access to the park is via the main entrance on the turn-off from Cape Pallarenda Road, near the Rowes Bay Golf Club. The gate at this entrance is open from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm daily.

Vehicles must remain on Freshwater Lagoon and Causeway roads (see map). Driving is not allowed in all other areas.

Walkers and mountain bike riders can also enter the park from the eastern end of the Lagoon trail, off Cape Pallarenda Road, and from the Shelly Cove trail in Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park.

Wheelchair accessibility

The Freshwater bird hide and its access track from Freshwater car park are wheelchair accessible.

Townsville Common

Park Features

Known locally as the Town Common, the park is close to the bustling city centre of Townsville and is a great place to enjoy nature and fantastic coastal views.

Visitors can hike across the Many Peaks Range, enjoy expansive island views while riding the Under the Radar trail or take the trail to the beautiful and secluded Shelly Beach.

The park features a variety of habitats including deep-water lagoons and seasonal wetlands, coastal woodlands and vine thickets, and sheltered beaches bordered by rocky headlands. Mangrove-lined tributaries of the Bohle River meander across the floodplains that fill each year during the wet summer months.

Up to 280 bird species have been recorded in the area. Magpie geese, brolgas and many others gather here to feed and nest, particularly as the wetlands dry out and food sources become concentrated in the remaining lagoons.

Camping and Accommodation


Camping is not permitted in Townsville Town Common Conservation Park.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Townsville.

Walking & Biking

Things To Do

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.


Trail descriptions

Shelly Beach trail     grade 2 bike

Distance: 15.6 km return
Time: allow 4 hrs walking time (return)

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     

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

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. The Under the Radar trail 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 Townsville Town Common map (PDF, 204K)* and the Cape Pallarenda map (PDF, 164K)*).

Many Peaks track      

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

Starting 200 m along 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      

Distance: 4.7 km one-way
Time: allow 2 hrs walking time (one-way)

Walkers and mountain bike riders share this trail.

Starting at either the Bald Rock car park 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 Link trail      

Distance: 1.8 km one-way
Time: allow 1.5 hrs walking time (one-way)

Walkers and mountain bike riders share this trail.

Starting at either the Freshwater car park or 1.2 km along the eastern end of the Lagoon trail, Freshwater Link passes through coastal sand dune vegetation and provides access to the Jacana bird hide. This short trail is soft and sandy in dry weather, and boggy in wet weather, making it physically challenging. Trail users can return the way they came or use the Lagoon trail and Causeway Road to complete a loop.

Jacana bird hide      

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

Walkers and mountain bike riders share this trail.

Access the Jacana bird hide from the Freshwater Link trail—the turn-off to the hide is 350 m from the western end of the trail. 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 Link trail.

Wetland walk      

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     

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.



parkwildlifebike trailswetlands

Submit A Comment