A quick hiking guide to the Castle Hill hike in Townsville, North Queensland, Australia.
Castle Hill is a 286-meter granite monolith that stands proud overlooking Townsville city.
Although it’s not a strenuous hike, hiking to Castle Hill is one of the best things to do in the city for those looking for a bit of adventure before heading to Magnetic Island.
From Castle Hill lookout, you will get sweeping 360-degree views of Townsville city, Magnetic Island and even as far as the Great Palm Islands and Cape Cleveland.
- How to Get to the Castle Hill Trailhead in Townsville
- Castle Hill Townsville – The Goat Track
- Castle Hill Viewpoints over Townsville
- The Return Trip
- More North Queensland Hiking and Travel Guides
How to Get to the Castle Hill Trailhead in Townsville
The hike to Castle Hill lookout begins not far from the city itself. While you can drive nearly all the way up, the best way to reach the viewpoint is by taking the windy goat track (pink markers, roughly 860 meters one-way).
There are also several other routes, marked on the map from the Townsville government site below. These include:
- Cudtheringa Track: Green, 760 m total distance
- Erythrina Track: Yellow, 500 m total distance
- Triandra Track: Purple, 850 m total distance
- Iron Bark Track, Dark blue, 775 m total distance
- Dianella Track, Light blue, 1.2 km total distance
- Maiden Hair Track, Red, 1.2 km total distance
Castle Hill Townsville - The Goat Track
While there are a few marked tours, there are two main hiking trails that lead to the top of the granite rock formation. The best track is known as the Goat Track. It won't take you more than an hour to reach the Castle Hill summit from metro Townsville.
The total walking distance is 860m from the start (Hillside Cres) to the Castle Hill car park at the top.
You can then follow the signs for roughly 5 minutes through some pedestrian streets before gaining entry to the Goat Track Trail.
It's a fairly steep climb to the top of the Castle Hill Lookout. However, the trail is clearly marked and is serviced to cater to hikers with clear tracks and even built-in steps for the steeper parts.
The Goat Track ends, and you'll have to continue the last part of the hike on a steep road for about 5 minutes before reaching the top.
Tip: Beware of Snakes
The hot, exposed sun and long grass that surrounds the Castle Hill track is prime territory for snakes. During our hike, we saw a small Brown Snake, which could easily send hikers to the emergency room quite quickly.
While we didn't see any, there are also signs for wild dog populations on the tracks. So, best to keep an eye out.
We made this short hike on our short stop-over in Townsville, Read the Sailing Log
Castle Hill Viewpoints over Townsville
If you're looking for a lookout that you can have all to yourself, then you're out of luck.
You'll most likely see several people hiking to the top of Castle Hill Townsville, as it's one of the most popular things to do in the city.
However, once you reach the Castle Hill carpark, you'll have a few choices for different viewpoints.
Townsville and Magnetic Island View from Castle Hill
The best view is immediately on your right when you reach the car park. You can take the trails and steel steps that lead to some rocky outcrops.
All of the viewpoints on this side offer surprising views of the city and Magnetic Island.
The Summit Circuit - Views of Palm Islands, Townsville Suburbs and Halifax Bay
The Summit Circuit will be directly in front of you when you reach the top of Castle Hill car park.
The summit itself is used as a communications tower, however, you can walk around to get some better views of the distant mountains and far out to Halifax Bay.
50+ More Cairns Bucketlist Items
- Visit the Cairns Islands
- Kuranda Railway & Skyrail
- Rusty's Markets
- Day trip to Cape Tribulation
- ... +51 more things to do in Cairns!
The Return Trip
Wrap the Castle Hill hike up by heading back down the Goat Track, or take the alternate track down from the base of the Castle Hill outcrop.
Where to Stay in Townsville for Backpackers
Depending on your budget, these are some of the best places to stay in Townsville.
- REEF LODGE BACKPACKERS - One of the cheapest options available to backpackers in Townsville with several dorm options to choose from. It's also Conveniently located only 500 meters from the Magnetic Island Ferries
- THE AVENUE GUEST HOUSE - One of the highest-ranked places to stay in Townsville. This one is also popular with backpackers with dorm options available. There's also an outdoor pool!
- ADVENTURE BACKPACKERS - A pool and free breakfast, what more could you want? It's also a highly-rated hostel in the heart of Townsville.
More North Queensland Hiking and Travel Guides
I hope you enjoyed this quick guide to hiking Townsville's famous Castle Hill Track. Before you shoot off, make sure to check out some of my other guides below for more inspiration for your travels in North Queensland.