Rishab Pillai: Looking for a hideout in a new home!

One of the spots on the riverwalk. Most of the walk has a good amount of shade, so helps you beat the heat if you’re planning on going for run, cycling or just for a stroll.

So, it’s Week 5! And most of us would have reached the one-month mark since moving to Townsville. The last month would have provided most of us with an influx of new experiences and I hope everyone is now finally settled and I have accepted the tropics as your new home! Well done everyone! Change can be scary and once we pass that stage it all seems like a breeze!

As a teenager in Mumbai, I always looked for some place which gave me a bit of relief from the hustle and bustle of a fast paced city and just let me dwell in my thoughts. I found such a place which was termed my personal hideout by family and friends in the patches of mangrove forest, which were just few meters away from our home in the northern suburbs of Mumbai. What started out as just an excuse to get away into nature, soon turned into one of my favorite spots to read, study or just photograph some landscapes or vast array of avian fauna that called this place home.

They say habits you cultivate in your formative years, often stay with you for life. So I think this applies a bit to me always looking for such a hideout no matter where I lived. Living in the tropics, is like a dream come true for me and for amount of nature Townsville has to offer, I couldn’t ask for more.

It’s that time in the semester when the coursework starts to build up, for me this means spending more time at my so called ‘hideout’ going though subject readings and brainstorming for assessments. I chose to live in Douglas as I wanted to be walking distance from university, and I guess this will be the case for most, new students in Townsville. So the new hideout for me is the Ross River!

Another spot on the Riverwalk, there are plenty of such spots surrounded by vegetation. I would need ten posts more to cover all of them.

The view from Gleeson’s Weir, which was built in 1908 to ensure a steady supply of water for the growing population of Townsville at the time

Just a ten-minute walk from the campus, Ross River is the preferred place for lot of people to just spend some time relaxing, exercising or just spend some time taking in the beauty of the river. The Riverwalk which runs along the river provides the chance to enjoy the natural beauty which is literally right in our backyard! Whether you are looking for a place to escape from your routine or just spend some time with friends, this is the ideal place to be. There are barbeques near the pontoon and if you are keen to just be outdoors and experience the great Townsville weather with your friends, this is an ideal place as you don’t have to worry about transport to get there.

It’s a great place to catch up on some uni work as well, as I do escape from the campus to study there often. If you are into bird-watching or photography, this place is home to a vast variety of birds. You can often see entire colonies of Flying Foxes during sun set (which are really scenic at various spots along the walkway) or click away and capture the stunning views on offer. The river is teeming with Kreft’s river turtles (Chelymys krefftii) and they are not shy to come up to you expecting food (I know it can be tempting to feed them, but its avoidable feeding wildlife as it makes them dependent on humans for food). There’s also the Riverside Tavern which is a popular spot among uni students to grab a meal and have a few drinks. It overlooks the river and offer some great views (I reckon the only thing that can be better than food itself, is looking over some great views while you’re eating it :P)

A Kreft’s river turtle basking. You will see a lot of them along the river, like a lot!

If you look closely at the surface of the water, you will hundreds of heads popping up! Like this smiley one I shot recently.

If you look closely at the surface of the water, you will hundreds of heads popping up! Like this smiley one I shot recently.

Lastly, a magnificent sunset at the pontoon! (Make sure you carry insect repellent if you plan on sticking around for the sunset)

I really couldn’t be happier with living in Townsville, where there is an abundance of nature which gives us the opportunity to escape our daily routines and experience the outdoors!

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