Castle Hill, Townsville – Indigenous name : Cootharinga

Castle Hill  dominates the skyline in Townsville, in Queensland’s Far North. Not only is it the landmark that provides orientation in this city, the views across to Magnetic Island are just spectacular.

In my previous visits to Townsville I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with the giant pink granite monolith that sticks out like a sore thumb, though this trip I’ve finally made my peace. Rising to a height of 286 metres (938 ft) above sea level it is only 62 ft short of being claimed a mountain. It was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1993.

The Hill’s vantage was used by visiting American soldiers during World War II. An observation bunker still sits on one corner of the Hill. ( According to local legend, the visitors famously offered to demolish the hill and use the rock to build a bridge to Magnetic Island.)

Looking back at Townsville from Magnetic Island.

With six months of a weekly Walking Group routine under the belt we thought we’d tackle one of the walking tracks to the summit. No better time than winter because of Townsville’s soaring summer temperatures as well as the Death Adders (snakes) that inhabit the bushland.

After studying the options in a guide that ranked the tracks by designating the number of PUFFS to complete – 5 PUFFS being the hike requiring the most physical effort – we selected the 1 PUFF Hiking Track. This was not a matter of being slack, but rather for romantic notions. You see, the Erythrina Track is also known as “The Ladies’ Track” because it was the inconspicuous route that ‘female friends’ took to visit the soldiers manning the pillboxes on the top of the Hill in WWII. Aaaargh, ain’t love grand……….

The 360 degree views were spectacular though I would argue the 1 PUFF ranking and suggest it be better considered 1 Breathe Away From Rigor Mortis. 

Looking across to Magnetic Island. The white structure in the right hand corner is the Far North’s latest cultural icon : the football stadium.

Next visit we aim to join the annual swim across Cleveland Bay to the Island. Only joking. Life is too precious…..

5 thoughts on “Castle Hill, Townsville – Indigenous name : Cootharinga

  1. Haha! I can commiserate! Sparky wanted to do several hikes in the National Parks in Utah – fortunately we opted to forgo the terrain 5 hikes and kept to the easy stuff. Even so there were a couple where we were pretty winded by the time we reached our destinations!

    Liked by 1 person

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