It's rare to find an island paradise such a short trip from a city but sure enough only 25 minutes by ferry from mainland Townsville you'll find Magnetic Island. “Maggie” as locals affectionately call it is perfect for all types of visitors, especially those with a love for nature.
Approaching by one of the ferries that depart up to 14 times daily you'll see the island's highest point, Mount Cook. Named after none other than explorer Captain Cook, Mount Cook reaches 497 metres above sea level. To either side lays lush parklands stretching out to shallow sandy bays littered with coral reefs. In fact about half of the island is mountainous national park, with settlements Picnic Bay, Nelly Bay, Horseshoe Bay and Arcadia all dotted along the coast.
Within the island are all manner of picturesque walks and a variety of native wildlife. If you're keen to spot a koala in its natural habitat, Magnetic Island is just the place to do it. Home to one of Australia’s largest concentrations of wild koalas, around 180 species of birds including lorikeets, currawongs, kookaburras and cockatoos also call Magnetic Island home.
As famous as Magnetic Island’s wildlife is its coastal life. Along Maggie’s stunning 23 beaches you'll find thrilling water activities such as diving and jet skiing though many are just as happy to soak up some rays and unwind. Stretch a line out to sea and with the right bait you could be cooking fresh marlin, tuna, wahoo or mackerel for dinner.
Good news for those that like to explore is that the island itself is small enough to drive around in half a day but large enough to harbour several small settlements for you to call on. All have a variety of places to stay and more good news is that for those on a budget, Magnetic Island accommodation is much more affordable than many of the more exclusive Great Barrier Reef resorts.