What do you do for an afternoon in Townsville when the temperature hits 37 degrees C? Not a lot is the answer (apart from sweat a lot and constantly complain about how unbearably hot it is).
Actually, you do have a few choices – you could go to Reef HQ (an aquarium which boasts that it has the world's largest living reef), or visit Magnetic Island, or go to the Billabong Sanctuary to cuddle a koala. However, we rejected all these options, preferring to traipse around the roasting semi-deserted streets of the town, and to explore its attractive esplanade. I presume that it was too hot for even the Townsvillites, because there was scarcely anyone around, apart from overheating cruise passengers, hugging any shade they could find.
One place where we did encounter people, was at the water park on the esplanade where lots of families were frolicking in the water fountains, trying to keep cool. It's ironic that Townsville's beaches, which you'd assume would be perfect for cooling off on, are actually off limits – the presence of lots of nasty stingers mean that it's not safe to get back in the water.
Townsville is clearly a place that's got lots of potential – it has some attractive historic architecture (dating from the days when it was the main port for the Queensland Gold Rush), and it has redeveloped its riverfront in an attempt re-invigorate its rather provincial feel. If it were 10 degrees cooler and a few percent less humid, it would have been a lovely place to visit.