Magnetic Island is a 52 km² mountainous tropical island located a short 20min Sealink ferry ride (8km) off shore from Townsville. The island features rocky granite headlands with towering pines, swaying palms and eucalyptus woodlands overhanging an almost crystal clear blue ocean with sandy bays, and let’s not forget that the island is surrounded by bustling colourful coral reefs.
The name “Magnetic Island” came about because of the apparent “magnetic” effect it had Captain Cook’s ship’s compass as he passed the island when sailing up the east coast of Australia in 1770, however this has since been disproved and is known by the locals as “Maggie”.
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Drive around topless (wink wink)
Get your head out of the gutter, I didn’t mean literally drive around with no top on! The best way to get around the island is by hiring one of the Tropical Topless cars or mokes (by the way, they don’t have doors either!). Driving our in a multi coloured topless car, makes you feel like you are on “island time”! The island has are no traffic lights to “slow down your adventure”.
Over 23 Beaches! How can you pick just one!
Magnetic Island has over 23 beaches and bays. Most of these beaches are secluded and private making it easy to enjoy a romantic day out with your partner, to make things extra corny you can head over to “Lovers Bay” ;). You can snorkel off of most of the beaches, the water is amazingly clear and there is lots of sea life.
Become one with Nature and learn a little about the islands history
2/3 of Magnetic island is a National Park which made up “dry tropics”. They are called the dry tropics because there is not much rain, the trees are shorter. There are several nature walks/bush walks you can do around the island. We had the chance to walk along the “Forts Track” where you will come across structures from WW2.
The Magnetic Island National Parks have recently spent a lot of money to upgrade the walking track and the structures in the area to feature the amazing things the soldiers did from these posts in WW2. Still standing are 2 observation posts at the top of the Fort track and a gun station. The views from these posts are worth the hike, you can see out to sea, Horseshoe Bay to name a few! If you’re lucky you might see a koala in the wild (keep your eyes on the tree’s above you, they blend in well – but watch your step… makes sense right, look up but look down….).
Stop at Bungalow Bay Koala Village to meet Harry the wombat and cuddle a Koala and so much more
Make sure you make a stop at Bungalow Bay Koala Village and take part in the wildlife presentations (there are 3 per day), here you will get up and close (and hold), lizards, a crocodile, a snake, a bird or 2 an of course you get to “act like a tree” and cuddle a koala (which by the way, feels like a woollen jumper – haha!).
Also located at Bungalow Bay Koala Village is Harry, he’s a 7 year old, 30kg male Southern hairy nose (fluffy!) wombat. Harry was rescued as a baby, because his mother was hit by a car and killed; he was alive in her pouch (I didn’t realize wombats had pouches!). Tony the ranger has fantastic knowledge of Magnetic island and clearly has a great passion for the environment and cares about the animals.
Magnetic Island is located in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, due to this there is an abundant coral reefs surrounding the island and no shortage of places to go scuba diving or snorkelling. A few dives sights close to Magnetic Island are Moltke Wreck, which is located off Geoffrey Bay, it’s encrusted by corals and attracts a wide range of colourful fish and marine life. S.S Yongala which was voted as one of the top 10 wreck dives in the world or go diving anywhere along the 2,600km Great Barrier Reef.
Get your water activities on!
Magnetic island is a tropical island, it is warm and mostly sunny all year round, the water is warm which means there is an abundance of water sports to play with, such as Jet Skiing, Kayaking, Knee boarding, Fishing, Wakeboarding, Waterskiing, Tube rides, Sailing, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and Kitesurfing/Windsurfing. One of Magnetic Islands, “social calendar” highlights is the annual
SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, which features 6 days of sailing races. If you want a touch of luxury, hire the Providence Sailing ship for a full day of sailing around magnetic island or go for a sunset cruise.
Hop on horseback
Go trotting through the dry tropics bush lands towards the beach and then go bear back (the horse not you..) with the horse in the Coral Sea for a nice refreshing dip with Horseshoe bay Ranch.
Hand feed Rock Wallabies at Geoffrey Bay in Arcadia
An almost surreal experience, in coming face to face with the local Geoffrey bay rock wallabies, these guys love visitors and especially when you hand feed them! You can collect food for them from the local newsagent… yes I said newsagent. Remember to remain calm, if you get too excited you will scare them away.
Get your party on at the monthly Full Moon party
There’s no longer a need to go to Thailand to go to a full moon party, join 3,000 people on Magnetic Island for their monthly Full moon party!! The only one of its kind in Australia! This monthly party is hosted my BASE Backpackers, they source the best DJ’s and put on a “rockin party”.
Sit back and relax at Horseshoe Bay
Horseshoe Bay is a small hub of fantastic restaurants, cafes and bars. Grab and drink with some mates or relax on the beach with a book with the knowledge a cocktail isn’t far away.
Fly high with the Red Baron
The Red Baron was the bi-plane used in “the Phantom” starring Catherin Zeta-Jones and Billy Zane. Take a tour of the very scenic Townsville or get a great view of Magentic Island form the air. You might even spot a whale or two (when in season Aug-Oct)
Frolic in the islands waterfalls
During the wet season on Magnetic Island, after heavy rains, new waterfalls spring up everywhere around the island. The most popular and probably the easiest to get to is Endeavor Falls in Arcadia, there is another on West Point Road at Cockly Bay Road entrance. It shouldn’t need to be said but there is always one person who ruins it for everyone (you know who you are..), please be aware, after a heavy rain these waterways can be quite dangerous and can swell quickly.
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