Interesting Facts about Antarctica

Coldest place on earth where a high ridge in Antarctica has recorded temperatures below -133F/-93C

Antarctica is the largest desert in the world

The average thickness of the ice is approximately 1.6 Km

Winds in some places can reach 320Km/h

90% of all meteorites ever found have come from Antarctica

The largest ice berg ever measured is bigger than Jamaica estimated at; 11,000 square/Km; it broke away in the year 2000

There is treaty signed by 38 countries that prohibits military/mineral/nuclear or waste disposal activities

There is over 300 lakes beneath Antarctica that are kept from freezing by the warmth of the earth’s core

Husky dogs have been banned from Antarctica since 1994

You cannot work in Antarctica unless your wisdom teeth and appendix are removed

Antarctica is the only continent without a time zone

The ice sheet of Antarctica has been in existence for at least 40 million years

Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on earth

90% of the world’s fresh water is in Antarctica

Some parts of Antarctica have had no rain or snow for the last 2 million years

Antarctica is the only continent without reptiles

There are no polar bears in Antarctica

The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is twice the size of Europe

Townsville Whale Watching Tours

A TOWNSVILLE man got a scare yesterday when he saw a pod of six humpback whales rushing towards his boat. Joe Martin took a friend out fishing near the Cape Cleveland Light yesterday about 2pm when he saw the mammals approaching. The whales were heading straight for his boat and he became afraid the boat would be swamped so he quickly started up his motor and sounded the horn. The whales dived underneath the boat and resurfaced on the other side. They came so close he was almost able to reach out and touch them.

Mr Martin said it was a surreal experience. "It was a once in a lifetime opportunity," he said.

He spent about half an hour watching the animals before they headed out to the open reef. Humpback whales have been frolicking in Cleveland Bay of Townsville over the past week as they begin their migration to warmer northern waters. Mothers and their calves are expected to be a common sight, playing in the waters off Townsville from now to August, and then in September as they move south again. Passengers on board the Magnetic Island ferry were treated to displays of whales breaching near the vessel in Nelly Bay last week and whale watching tourists were not disappointed. Townsville Whale Watching Tours marine biologist Chris Mirbach said the graceful giants had been sighted weeks earlier than was usual around the Palm Islands. "We have a 95 per cent success rate of seeing whales there, and every time we see them it is pretty special," he said. "They do have quite a few migration routes, Migaloo the white whale will change his migratory path every year."


Season Starts July 1st 2017 Max. 6 people Experience the new Townsville day tour, cruise around the beautiful Palm Islands searching for Humpback Whales and snorkel in the sheltered and calm waters of Curacoa Island. Departure: daily from Townsville CBD at 07.30 a.m. Launch vessel at 9.30 from Lucinda Return at approx. 5 p.m. to Townsville.

For Bookings: Contact Tropical Travel on p: (07) 47 72 58 00 Or e:

The Story of Leslie Allen (Bull Allen)

(Nick Named – Bull) because he was as strong as Bull with a heart to match

Born in Ballarat East, his early years were difficult. After he was abandoned by his parents at the age of 12, he began working as a farm labourer. By the time he enlisted in the army in 1940, the 23-year-old was a tall and powerfully built man who earned the nickname “Bull” for charging through the opposition on the football field. Personally brave, Allen struggled with authority.

Australian and American soldiers rarely served together in the front line in the war against Japan in World War 2. Buna in late 1942 is a notable exception. Another, and less known, instance took place on Mount Tambu in the mountains above Salamaua (Papua New Guinea) in mid-1943.   

In 1943, Allen was awarded a Military Medal for recovering Australian wounded under fire near Wau in February. Five months later, on 30 July, he again repeatedly risked his own life when rescuing at least 12 wounded American soldiers during fighting on Mount Tambu.

Yet Allen was also a man badly affected by his war service. In the Middle East in 1941, he had been hospitalised with “anxiety neurosis” and when he returned to Australia from New Guinea his behaviour became increasing erratic. In February 1944, he struck an officer and was demoted. In September, Allen was discharged from the army suffering “constitutional temperamental instability”, “anxiety symptoms”, and malaria.  

So traumatised was this veteran of the Libyan, Syrian and Salamaua campaigns, that Allen retreated to an uncle’s farm and lost the power of speech for a time. In early 1945, he was awarded the United States Silver Star Medal for his services to the Allied cause. Among the many people who expressed their congratulations was Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  In 1949, Allen married Jean Floyd, who had been a nurse during the war.

Battle of Waterloo

One of the most famous and powerful historical objects from the battle, this French cuirass, a breastplate worn as body armour by French cavalry, was holed by a cannonball that smashed through the unlucky soldier’s chest. The Waterloo campaign was the first occasion that British troops found themselves face to face with Napoleon’s armoured cavalry, whose cuirasses and metal helmets made them a daunting foe.

The armour belonged to 23-year-old trooper François-Antoine Fauveau – but there is a twist to the tale. Family legend has it that when his call-up papers arrived, François-Antoine was on the point of getting married, so his brother joined up, and died, in his place. Whoever was wearing it on 18 June 1815, this cuirass serves to emphasise the brutality of Napoleonic warfare at a most personal level.

Myths & Legends

Townsville has long been a place of great research and study. Today Townsville's James Cook University is one of the world leaders of tropical studies. It is Myth that the Ross River virus started in Townsville;

The first outbreak of Ross River Fever was in 1928 in the Hay and Narrandera region in New South Wales, Australia. The virus was first isolated in 1959 from a mosquito trapped along the Ross River in Townsville, Queensland. Since then, outbreaks have occurred in all Australian states, including Tasmania, and metropolitan areas. The largest outbreak occurred in 1979–1980 in the Western Pacific, and affected more than 60,000 people. Most notifications are from Queensland, tropical Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Geographical risk factors include areas of higher rainfall and higher maximal tides.  Other common areas for contracting the virus outside of the tropics are the townships along the River Murray that divides NSW and Victoria. Backwaters and Lagoons are breeding grounds for mosquitos. The virus is not contagious and is spread only by mosquitoes. The main reservoir hosts are kangaroos and wallabies, although horses, possums and possibly birds and flying foxes play a role. Over 30 species have been implicated as possible vectors. Symptoms of the disease may vary widely in severity, but major indicators are arthralgia, arthritis, fever, and rash. A blood test is the only way to confirm a case of Ross River Fever. There is currently no vaccine available.

Keith and Lin Teaching in Australia in 1960's (just another tour story)

 Keith & Lin were up here near Townsville, teaching at Giru back in the early days when they first started out as teachers. They explained how it was for teachers and students back in the 1950 & 1960's and what it was like for some of those more remote schools that did not have the resources that the larger schools and population centre's had. Keith taught wood & metal work skills and Lin home economics cooking & sewing etc. I never realised that this was part of the curriculum of those times; the remote schools did not have the necessary teaching facilities. I could imagine that the expense of building such facilities for such a small number of students located across Country Queensland could not be justified. But that won't stop us - in steps Australia's can do attitude of those times. The Queensland Government purpose built rail carriages, so they could provide the facilities at these remote locations, needless to say they were not the most ideal living and teaching arrangements by today’s standards. Keith would have his admin list to action before they turned up at any given location. He would order ahead of their arrival the stores, rations and equipment they would need for their stay at each location, which was normally around 6 to 7 weeks. While other schools with the facilities would learn over the period of a year or 2. The remote schools got there opportunity to learn the skills in a consolidated, intensive 6 week period. When Keith and Lin were in Town, that’s what the students did every day all day. They would park the carriage down a siding location, of the main line and children would turn up each and every day for Keith & Lin to teach them as much as they could. They would teach 7 schools in the one year, places like Saint Lawrence, Cabela, Mary bar and Giru. Keith would book the engine necessary to tow the carriages to the next location in advance sometimes allowing 2 days to get to the next location and set up. The schools knew they were coming 12 months in advance and they would have to cram the learning into those children so they could give up a 6 week period for Keith and Lin to do their thing. Their accommodation was also built into the carriage which Lin describes as the smallest bedroom she has ever known, picture how they live on a submarine and that’s close to the way these teachers lived. The carraiges were not air-conditioned, so the North Queensland heat along with the flies and mosquitos were an ongoing issue and fact of life you just learned to live with. Keith told me, he would fold up his bed in the morning and the whiteboard was pulled down in front of the folded up bed (ready to teach). Remembering that the stoves on the home economics carriage were wood stoves. So Keith being the gentlemen he was would reload the wood in the right area for Lin to use the next day. I said where did you eat, they said out of the home economics carriage of course. There was no special allowance to go eating out every night. Where were your toilets and showers I asked? Lin told me they did have their own water basin the smallest she has ever seen. The toilet was often the one at the railway station. I would have imagined not always that close bye, the shower they told me, was often at the local pub! I said what did you do for entertainment and one of the oldies on the Tour said each other, great laughter all around remembering this was where this married couple first met. Amazingly Lin had to give up teaching when she married Keith as the terms of employment for woman teachers back in those days, did not allow her to Marry Keith and continue teaching. They often did extra classes on weekends and after hours for the local adult population. Keith’s skills and machines were often put to work for doing little jobs that were needed around the town. He recalled that at one location all the children bar one were related to each other eyebrows and laughter around the table as he told that one. They both said the hours were long and they were kept very busy but they were great times. They said a big part of that were the people in those country towns and communities, they were fantastic people, on that point nothing much has changed in those rural communities of Australia.                                                  


Arno Grotjahn and the story behind his Winton Wall

In the town of Winton he become a local legend and tourist attraction for the wall he had built over a long period of time. The wall made of scrap parts, motorbikes, lawn mowers, sewing machines and anything else you can think off, became a place to look and mavel at - what could you find inbedded in Arno's wall. In later life Arno chose Winton to escape the world and to live out his twilight years. But the man himself had lived an interesting life, German by birth, he emigrated to Australia in 1965 and went opal mining, before moving into Winton. He had been shot in the chest when fighting for the French Foreign Legion in Vietnam 1948 - 52. He was a big man and had done time in prison for bashing a French Officer. He recieved a monthly pension from the French Goverment (for Legion service) until the day he died. He had met Adolf Hitler as a boy in German his father had worked at the German shipyards during the war and during a visit to the the shipyards by Hitler. Young Arno saw Him approach - he said he I gave him the Nazi salute and said Heil-Hitler, Arno recalls that Hitler returned the salute. Arno was no angel many of his views were not always main stream but Arno was an individual that walked his own path and those type of individuals give character and interest to life itself. I am sure his wall will continue to give much enjoyment to those that visit Winton                 

Our city has a story to tell


If you are reading this then you have discovered our new website. 

To briefly explain our journey thus far, Townsville Military Tours started operating in November 2013 with one military tour product. A year later we added our second product, a scenic tour and changed our name to Townsville Scenic and Military Tours. The learning curve in those first two years was steep. However what we did have was an open mind, open ears and lots of enthusiasm for the tourism industry.

This industry is one that requires multiple skill sets in order to run a successful business. Knowing our limitations, we always knew we would need help from other people to make the business work. No one individual could hope to have all the skills that are necessary. I remember attending a conference where one of the guest speakers was John Anderson, the founder of Contiki Tours.  I remember him saying “seek out good people and surround yourself with those that have the skill sets required for your business to grow”. Well this website and the total rebranding of our business to Tour Townsville at the end of our third year of operation is a direct result of listening to and believing in that advice. 

Meanwhile we have been busy developing new tour products that are informative, entertaining and unique experiences. Our new City Lights Tour is a combination of activities including a visit to a local Art Gallery to enjoy a selection of wine and cheese and the opportunity to peruse local Art by an award winning Artist.  Followed by a drive to the top of Castle Hill to see the whole of Townsville at night and a divine meal at a local restaurant right on the bank of the Ross River providing scenic views of the city lights. We also have another tour lined up for release early next year.

While we still have a long way to go, looking back on how much has been achieved in three years from start up, it gives me faith and confidence we are on the right track. Our intent for the tours is to remain small, personalised and exclusive. It is important for us that we offer great value and experiences that are as unique as Townsville itself. To our past customers that continue to support us through word of mouth, thank you so much. We hope to see you on one of our new tour products next time you are in Townsville!

Our city has a story to tell