Castle Hill is the pink granite outcrop that has been a prominent Townsville icon since the town was built in its foothills. As seen from below, the colored hill is an impressive sight, especially at sunrise and sunset when its deepening pink hues make the monolith look spectacular. Stand on its summit for unrivaled views of the region, with Magnetic Island across the bay and the Ross River meandering through the suburbs below and spilling out into Cleveland Bay.
At 938 feet (286 meters), Castle Hill falls just short of making this monolith a mountain. It was known to the Aborigines as Cutheringa. In 1864, during early European exploration of the Ross River area, Andrew Ball named it Castle Hill. To save its vegetation, much of Castle Hill was declared a reserve in 1888.
Facing the northern cliff face from below, look up to see a large graffiti. The Saint is the lasting result of a 1962 prank by students of the local James Cook University. On the northern-most peak of the three-peaked summit is a 1942 bunker that served as an observation post during World War II.
Dotted with water reservoirs and radio communications installations, the hill still serves the town in more than one way, although its main use remains that of a recreation reserve. You can potentially find 300 plant species and 50 bird species on the hill, including nesting peregrine falcons and brahminy kites. Also look for rock wallabies, which can often be seen hopping around.
Head to the summit at your own leisure to familiarize yourself with the town. Many locals use the tracks for their daily exercise, especially the Goat Track, leading from the lower northern slopes to the top of the cliffs. The Summit Walk has a steep set of stairs, if you’re keen to get in shape.
Drivers can follow winding Castle Hill Road to the summit of the second peak. To the east, view the pink granite bluffs overlooking The Strand, the city’s bustling foreshore. See the nearby stone monument for Robert Towns, the city’s founder. Come here just before sunset and bring a picnic or takeout with you, to see a sea of lights come on over the town as you dine.
Castle Hill is located just above downtown Townsville and has many access point. Facilities include parking spaces, public toilets, water fountains and shaded benches.