Stroll along a golden-sand beach, snorkel with a turtle, hike through a eucalypt forest and enjoy a drink beneath the palm trees on this enchanting hideaway just a short ferry ride from Townsville.
Magnetic Island is an attractive combination of national park and small coastal villages. This pleasant vacation spot is nestled in Cleveland Bay, just off the coast of bustling Townsville.
Magnetic Island, or “Maggie” to the locals, is 12,627 acres (5,110 hectares) in size with more than half of the island covered by national park. The hilly island dotted with boulders is home to some 2,500 people and a wide variety of wildlife.
Take the ferry over to the island and marvel at the scenery during the cruise. Once you reach Magnetic Island Ferry Terminal at Nelly Bay, go your own way by renting a car or let someone else do all the driving by joining a guided tour. Walkers are easily catered for as well with over 15 miles (24 kilometers) of walking tracks mapped out in Magnetic Island National Park. Koalas and rock wallabies are commonly seen among the eucalyptus trees and granite boulders.
Make the most of the warm tropical weather by trying some watersports. Many exciting options are available, but snorkeling among the fringing coral reefs never gets old. Let the sun warm your skin to dry off while lazing on one of the many golden beaches, including those at Picnic Bay.
Challenge yourself to the Forts Walk on Mt Cook, which marks the island’s highest point at 1,630 feet (497 meters). The forts date back to World War II and, along with an interesting history, provide panoramic views over the island and Queensland coast.
After a day of activities, relax with a meal and drink at one of the many bars and restaurants around the island. Enjoy fresh local seafood with vegetables sourced from the rich agricultural areas on the mainland.
Choose from the wide range of accommodations options if you are able to stay the night. After sunset, listen for the mournful call of the curlew and point a torch up in the tree canopy to spot a brushtail possum out on its nightly forage.
Magnetic Island was named by explorer James Cook, who said it affected his compass. No proof of any such magnetic interference was ever found, however everyone who comes to Townsville will feel the pull of this irresistible island.