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.
Reviewed on 19 Jan. 2020
Reviewed on 3 Sep. 2019
There are plenty of ways to experience this spacious beach on Magnetic Island, including swimming, fishing, watersports, horseback riding and beachfront picnics.
Take in panoramic views, spot koalas in eucalyptus trees, clamber over granite boulders and stroll along a golden-sand beach in this idyllic nature reserve.
This easy-to-navigate and very scenic transport hub is the gateway to the beaches, bush walks and wildlife of one of Queensland’s most idyllic islands.
Catch the sea breezes on this pink granite landmark in the city’s heart and enjoy 360-degree views of the city’s harbor and across to Magnetic Island.
Cuddle a koala, hold a snake and hand-feed cassowaries and wallabies at this interactive sanctuary that protects native wildlife on the shores of the billabong.
Set out on a discovery tour of the cultural and natural heritage of North Queensland in this interactive waterfront museum with ever-changing exhibits.
Enjoy the secluded paradise of Magnetic Island, a tropical destination known for its quiet beaches, rugged landscape, and abundant wildlife. Easily accessible via the ferry from Townsville City, Magnetic Island is an idyllic place to get away even if just for a day.
Soar over the crystal waters of the Coral Sea to take in the sights of Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island, sights only truly appreciable from the air. Relax as your experienced and knowledgeable pilot provides insight to Australia from the seat of a state-of-the-art helicopter.
Itinerary Our Discovery Tour is a combination of snorkelling and exploring beautiful Magnetic Island. Activities, wildlife interactions, stories and history all in the one tour.
Experience the world's largest living coral reef aquarium at Reef HQ Aquarium, the National Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef. This is your chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet.
Take to the sky and admire the Great Barrier Reef with a helicopter flight over the Palm Island archipelago. This collection of islands forms a natural jewel amid the reef, and experiencing it from the air is the only way to gain a true appreciation for the scope of its wonder and beauty.
Itinerary Experience the Central Section of the Great Barrier Reef for yourself. Our preferred reef for day trips is Lodestone Reef, chosen for its diversity of sites, great coral cover, fish life and reasonable protection.