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The largest city in the tropics of Australia, Townsville is home to the Captain Cook University and it is home to a world-class marine biology faculty. The Great Barrier Reef puts a stamp on just about anything in the region; “Reef HQ” is a most interesting underwater observatory, giant aquarium, the head quarter of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and it is also home to the largest “captive” reef in the world. There is a giant lagoon on Townsville’s The Strand; safe swimming year round is guaranteed. Castle Hill is a 300 m high craggy hill in the west of the city; a good all-weather road leads to the top from which visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the city, Magnetic Island just off the coast of Townsville and the Great Barrier Reef. Townsville has one of the most magnificent botanical gardens in the tropics of Queensland.