Queensland Country Bank Stadium Visitor Guide
Before he arrived in Townsville, Blair Hughes knew that his first visit to Queensland Country Bank Stadium would be unique. For starters, it was the unveiling of the new home of the North Queensland Cowboys, a $250m venue on Wulgurukaba land in the heart of Townsville. Secondly, it was the 13th of March, 2020, so the build-up to the event was loaded with uncertainty: Whether the event itself would be cancelled, and what was going to happen in the country after it1.
Blair was attending to write a fan engagement review of the stadium for AusLeisure Magazine. Thankfully, the event went ahead. At the time of writing this article, the home opener between the Cowboys and the Broncos in March of 2020 remains the largest crowd to attend a sports event at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, which has a maximum capacity of approximately 25,000 people. As one of only twenty-two-and-a-half thousand people who has seen the venue in full flight, he was an ideal person to ask to contribute to this visitor guide.
We also spoke to Rane Reguson of italktravel & cruise Townsville. He told us how well received the venue had been by the locals. A challenge for the design, as explained by Cox Architecture, was that they wanted to strike a balance between a world-class venue capacity and a close-knit community feel. From the folded Pandanus tree leaves inspiring the roof to the Tiny Mountain beer on tap inside the Cowboys Castle members bar, they wanted everything about the venue to be an expression of Northern Queensland.
Here’s our guide for anyone lucky enough to be making the journey to Townsville.
Since we became an Authorised Travel Partner of the NRL, you can get your tickets to the Harvey Norman NRL All-Stars 2021 through Sports Where I Am. We’ll look to keep adding events throughout the year as domestic travel reemerges, so keep an eye on our Queensland Country Bank Stadium venue page.
Where to Sit at Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Before he saw the Cowboys and the Broncos play, Blair took a tour through the venue, observing the field from most angles. When he says that the impressive design allows for all sections to have a great view of the on-field action, it’s because he was able to test most of the possible sightlines:
So your decision about where to sit at Queensland Country Bank Stadium will likely come down to the type of experience you’re there for – there are no bad sections that you need to avoid. There are of course a variety of options, with grandstand seating, corporate boxes and the like. Blair’s pick is up in the SkyDeck section because it struck the balance between feeling right over the field whilst also being able to move around to get food and drinks easily. Having said that – a close second would be behind the posts in the open air area (sections 116 – 120 on the map below) because you’re guaranteed some of the cool Townsville breezes as the sun goes down on a game day.
Getting to Queensland Country Bank Stadium
The stadium is located within walking distance from Townsville CBD, so it’s very accessible to get there on foot or via public transport & ride share options. Getting away from the venue at the end of the match was easy, too. Attending on his own, Blair said it was quite a good experience to march to and from the venue with the waves of Cowboys fans. There are adequate signs, inclusive disability access and plenty of options to make this a seamless experience and fan journey to and from the stadium.
As someone who has travelled all across Australia and the world for game day fan experiences, Blair rates Queensland Country Bank Stadium as one of the best he’s seen when it comes to accessing the venue.
What to expect from North Queensland Cowboys fans
The Cowboys represent a large geographic area, and as such, many fans fly in from different regions of North Queensland on game day weekends. It’s probably a reason why Cowboys fans are renowned for their loyalty and passion for the team. Predictably, these Cowboys fans create lively match days with cheers, flags and smiles abundant when the action heats up on the field.
Blair has also found that they are some of the nicest and most welcoming fans within the NRL2, which is good to know for travelling sports fans.
What to do before and after a match at Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Townsville’s warm weather creates a lot of options for pre-and-post your Queensland Country Bank Stadium event.
Rane suggested checking out City Lane and Palmer Street, which both provide plenty of live music, food and drink options, and are walking distance to QCB Stadium. The Tiny Mountain Brewery sits on Palmer Street and was also a top pick of Blair’s.
Just a few hundred metres away is the Townsville Brewery and the Cowboys Leagues Club in the city centre, which Blair recommends, both for the food and for the atmosphere on match days.
Where to stay when in Townsville for a Cowboys game
If your primary consideration for a hotel is being close to Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Rane recommends the Oaks (on Palmer Street) and the Grand Chancellor hotels, which are walking distance.
If you’re not tied to the idea of being able to walk to the venue, Rane’s pick would be to stay at the Ville Resort & Casino, which is a bit further away.
What else to do if you’re in Townsville for a weekend
The consensus on this was Magnetic Island. It’s a twenty minute ferry ride away, and Blair insists that you simply must allow for a day or a weekend trip there when you journey to Townsville. Hikes, beaches, restaurants… an island paradise. The locals are lovely and they will ensure you have a great time.
Another option is to walk up Castle Hill, which gives you one more view of Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Anything we missed about Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville?
If there’s something you think we’ve missed or got wrong, please let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.
- There were around 22,500 attendees at the home opener that night. Due to the varied COVID-19 attendance restrictions in place for the remainder of the year, the next biggest crowd at QCB Stadium for the season was just over 7600.
- So much so that Blair signed up a membership for the Cowboys after his visit to QCB Stadium.