Hiring a car in Townsville Airport
Townsville is a fairly small, regional airport but because it welcomes so many tourists to its shores each year, it is well serviced for car rental companies. Passengers will find the rental car desks located in the Arrivals Hall. With the rental park located at the end of the Arrivals Terminal, making it easy for customers that are picking up, or dropping off their vehicle.
Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty all service Townsville Airport.
You’ll find most cars available at these companies are your standard 4 door sedans, but there are options for economy and premium sized cars, from compact hatchbacks, to SUVs and passenger vans. Many of the cars offered at Australian rental companies will have an automatic transmission, though you will find if you opt for a manual drive, the hire costs are lower.
Leaving Townsville Airport
Townsville Airport is only a 10 minute drive from the city centre, making transport in and out of the airport a cinch.
From the TSV take Stinson Avenue onto Old Common Road, where you’ll meet the State Route 16, which will take you directly to downtown Townsville.
If you’re returning your car back to TSV Airport, and the rental company requires you to fill up the vehicle’s tank, you can find a Shell Petrol Station on State Route 16, the same road that runs from the airport into Downtown.
Driving in Townsville
Because Townsville is a small town, and the roads are well maintained, driving in this city is relatively simple, and easy to navigate. Remember speed limits can vary state to state in Australia, and often busy roads are equipped with cameras, so ensure you stick to the speed limit. Avoid heading into, or out of, the CBD of Townsville during the rush hours periods (7-9:00am and 5-7:00pm) if you don’t want to deal with congested traffic.
Parking in the city is well managed, with over 1000 free car parking spaces within the centre of the city. These consist primarily of handy park-and-ride systems, where you can leave your car all day, and then hop on a short bus to the downtown area for $2. There are also paid parking spaces closer to the centre of town.
If you’re carrying a foreign license, Australia requires you to hold an International Driving Permit (IDP). Please make sure you carry your IDP and license with you when you are driving in Australia.
What can you see and do in Townsville?
Townsville is in a brilliant location for exploring the northeastern coast of Australia. In the town itself, visitors can learn about the history of the city by visiting the Museum of the Tropical North, and then come out on Flinders Street for some boutique shopping. If you’re feeling antsy, climb up to Castle Hill for the best view in the city, or relax on The Strand, a beachside promenade, with restaurants, playground areas, barbeque areas, and walking and biking tracks, all of which allow you to make the most of the views of Magnetic Island and the sea.
However, a lot of fun can be had outside of Townsville and strapping on that seatbelt and taking a drive outside of the city limits offers a world of opportunity. For short day trips, take the car an hour north of the city to the Paluma Range National Park, where you can picnic and trek in the mountainous part of this region. You can also take the ferry (with your car) out to Magnetic Island, where you can drive to secluded bays and enjoy a day on the beach.
Lastly, there is of course the Great Tropical Drive, which typically runs from Cairns to Townsville (or vice versa), where you can cruise along the gamut of the Great Barrier Reef, and hike in the Woooroonooran and Barron Gorge National Parks. If you plan to go as far as Cairns, heading a little further north up to Port Douglas will mean a chance to see the magical Daintree Rainforest, and some of Australia’s most spectacular beaches.
Please note all information is current as of October 2015.