Townsville / Australia
The Australian town of Townsville (96,000 inhabitants) is located in northern Queensland on the east coast of Australia. In 1770 James Cook discovered the Magnetic Island off the city, which owes its name to the circumstance that the needle of the compass of its ship was diverted in a wrong direction during the ride by. This phenomenon has never been observed again, and the cause is therefore unclear, under circumstances a "magnetic disturbance in the seabed" could have been the cause. In 1864, the first white settlers arrived in the neighborhood of today's Townsville, shortly afterwards goldfields were discovered in the hinterland of the settlement, which accelerated the development of the city. Townsville lies sheltered behind the Great Barrier Reef, at the mouth of the Ross River in the Pacific and is surpassed by the 286-meter-high Castle Hill.
In Townsville, the approximately two-kilometer promenade (The Strand) and the Castle Hill located in the city offer a beautiful panorama over the city and the nearby islands. Near the port is the Museum of Tropical Queensland as well as the tropical aquarium Reef HQ which is probably the largest aquarium coral reef in the world. The city is mainly known for the great natural spectacles in its surroundings. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef (about 1,500 species of fish) and can be explored on a cruise by glass-bottom boat or a semi-submarine or on a visit to one of the countless underwater observatories. The most popular way to explore the reef is however snorkeling or diving. Near Townsville are also tropical mountain rainforests, which like the reef have been declared by UNESCO as world heritage of humanity.