Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park   

What's special?

This scenic coastal park is the site of a former quarantine station for the port of Townsville. The original quarantine station was relocated here from Magnetic Island in 1915 and operated until 1973. The buildings are typical timber Queenslanders with high ceilings and wide verandas. Most are now used as offices for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park contains the remains of gun emplacements and search light towers built on the headland as defences during World War II.

Open woodland and vine thickets in the park are home to a variety of wildlife including the yellow-bellied sunbird.

Exploring Cape Pallarenda

Have a picnic or barbecue on the foreshore overlooking Magnetic Island. Gas barbecues, toilets and parking are provided. See brush-turkeys scratching the leaf litter, sand goannas scurrying around, and agile wallabies feeding late afternoon.

Go birdwatching. See brahminy kites and white-bellied sea-eagles soaring high over the Many Peaks Range.

Walk over the headland to Shelly Beach. See the defence ruins and the heritage-listed homestead. Enjoy views over Townsville and Magnetic Island from the walking tracks. On a clear day, you can see the Palm Group and Hinchinbrook Island. Along the Graves circuit, see the weir built to supply water to the Quarantine Station and the graves of the Vietnamese deck passengers who died here in 1920.

Line fishing is allowed from the beach but restrictions apply to activities in the adjacent marine park waters. Beware of marine stingers October to May.

Camping is not allowed in the park. Visit the information centre to find out about other parks in the Townsville area.


Short tracks lead to picnic spots and the beach. A short track past the museum (now closed) leads to the remains of the old jetty destroyed by a cyclone in 1971. Other tracks lead over the headland to the gun emplacements.


The picnic area and toilets are wheelchair-accessible.

Getting there

Cape Pallarenda is at the end of Cape Pallarenda Road, 10km from the Townsville GPO on the city’s north-eastern outskirts. The gates are open 6.30am–6.30pm daily.

Sources & Further reading

Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
Photo Galleries
Site Map
                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading