Magnetic Island was named for the mysterious 'magnetic' effect it had on the ship's compass of Captain Cook as he passed the island in 1770. Magnetic Island is just twenty minutes offshore from Townsville, by fast catamaran. Two thirds of the island is National Park. But Magnetic Island is much more than just a tourist destination; it's home to over 2000 residents... and that's not counting the koalas!
FEATURING 23 SPECTACULAR BEACHES AND A DRAMATIC COASTLINE DOTTED WITH MASSIVE GRANITE BOULDERS AND SUPERB HOOP PINES, MAGNETIC ISLAND IS THE "NATURAL DESTINATION" FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR A NATURAL EXPERIENCE.
Magnetic Island, within sight across the beautiful crystal blue waters of Cleveland Bay from Townsville, is a spectacular spot for those who love nature. A classic for both locals and visitors, Magnetic Island, with more than 300 sunny days per year, is one of the most spectacular sceneries in Australia.
Over half the island is a national park, protecting both the abundant wildlife and the diverse scenery: granite hills, rainforests, eucalypts, pines... More than 100 species of birds inhabit the area, such as Kookaburras, Cockatoos, etc, converting the island on a paradise for birdwatching. Magnetic Island is also home to Australia's largest and most northerly colony of wild koalas, which can be seen on the Forts Walk. Koalas can also be viewed in captivity at Bungalow Bay Koala Village. Bungalow Bay has a boutique wildlife park featuring Australia's native animals. Koalas, pythons, crocodiles and lizards can be handled. Tropical fish and all sorts of marine life are abundant in the coral reefs that surround the island.
Although it is only eleven kilometres across at its widest point, the island has more than forty kilometres of coastline and dozens of gorgeous bays and beaches, many of which are secluded and are often accessible only by foot or boat.
ATTRACTIONS AND THINGS TO DO - MAGNETIC ISLANDActivities on 'Maggie', as locals fondly refer to it, are numerous and will suit everyone. Water sports are popular all year round: discover the beautiful fringing coral reefs either by snorkelling or diving, take a guide kayak tour to see dolphins, turtles, and sea eagles, practice jet skiing or waterskiing or, if what you want to do is relax, hire a yacht or go fishing. There are nine ship wrecks located around the coastline of the island that can be explored. Feel part of the nature horse riding on the beach at Horseshoe Bay or experience the island from a bird's eye view skydiving. Or get ready for the Full Moon Party that takes place every month on the Friday closest to full moon.
NATURAL SITESMAGNETIC ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
The Magnetic Island National Park covers just over half of the island (2,533 hectares). The park features dramatic landscapes and seascapes, with 23 spectacular beaches and a wide number of coral reefs surrounding the island. Within the island there also are mangrove communities important as fish nursery areas and seagrass beds which support an important dugong population. Some of the beaches are home to turtle nesting areas.
The park is abundant in wildlife, including some rock-wallabies, a significant community of koalas, seabirds, waterbirds and forest birds. Fishing is also popular in the park, although with restictions in certain areas. Bushwalking is another interesting pastime when in Magnetic Island. A network of walking trails, from easy to moderate, allows you to discover the island's natural environment.
The island is the traditional home of the Wulgurukaba (canoe) people, who can still be traced down thanks to the shell middens, stone tools and art sites that still remain in Magnetic Island.
For more information about Magnetic Island National Park, please visit our NATIONAL PARKS page.
GREAT BARRIER REEF
Magnetic Island is surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef National Park, offering beautiful scuba diving and snorkelling. If you want to learn more about the Great Barrier Reef, please visit our GREAT BARRIER REEF page.
BUSHWALKINGThere are more than 25 kilometres of walking tracks through National Park that will allow you to see the wildlife in its natural habitat as well as to enjoy breathtaking views from the different lookouts. The fort walks, passing through forts that were built in 1942, just after the Japanese bombed Townsville, to protect the island, are highly recommended. Keep your eyes open, Koalas inhabit the area and you may even spot one.
But if you want to discover the island on wheels, rent a Mini Moke, the island traditional way of transportation, a Harley Davidson, a scooter, a bike, or a four wheel drive if you are more adventurous and want to explore the off the beaten track. Please visit our CAR HIRE page for an obligation-free quote (you may be amazed at the prices we can get for you).
EVENTSMAGNETIC ISLAND RACE WEEK
2007 will be the first year to see the Magnetic Island Race Week, Australia's richest Sailing Regatta. Attracting some of the country's leading mariners and yachts to the pristine waters of Cleveland Bay, the regatta will attracts more than 60 yachts, competing for prize money of at least $10,500.
Apart from the regattas scheduled for the weekend, social events will take place on the island and mainland in order to keep visitors, sailors, crew and accompanying families entertained.
MAGNETIC ISLAND RUN
Every September, the Townsville Roadrunners meet on Magnetic Island for their annual island run. Magnetic Island is the perfect location for a spectacular run because of its blend of national park, rugged mountain tracks, charming bays and perfect weather all year round.
GREAT TROPICAL JAZZ PARTY ON MAGNETIC ISLAND
Ten bands and over 40 leading overseas, interstate and local musicians present three nights and two days of exciting Jazz from Mainstream to Contemporary in a program of concerts and jam sessions in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere and beautiful tropical resort setting.
For more details about these and other events in the region, visit our TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND EVENTS CALENDAR.
ACCOMMODATION - MAGNETIC ISLANDMagnetic Island has long been a favourite family holiday destination, and that is evident in the number of holiday homes on the island. But there are also holiday units and villas, modern resorts, and guesthouses offering bed and breakfast accommodation. The young and young at heart may choose to stay of one of the Magnetic Island backpackers hostels. Scroll down to view the range of Magnetic Island accommodation, or use the buttons on the right to find holiday accommodation in a particular part of Magnetic Island; Horseshoe Bay, Nelly bay, Picnic bay or Arcadia Bay.
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