There is something for everyone from the more energetic to the sedate. Go bushwalking, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, fishing, swimming and camping.
Explore the spectacular Magnetic Island by foot, kayak or mask and snorkel! With approximately 300 sunny days per year, this warm climate is an adventurer’s paradise.
Magnetic Island is located nearly ten kilometres off the coast of Townsville, Queensland. World Heritage listed, this impressive island has 26 stunning bays, 21 pristine beaches, rocky headlands and fringing reefs. The highest point on the island is Mount Cook (497m).
Located on its hilly north-western side, the Magnetic Island National Park covers almost 60% of the island’s landmass. The surrounding waters are protected as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Pack a day pack and take one of the many walking tracks around the island and stop for a picnic. Take the Forts Walk and hike to the top of Magnetic Island for panoramic views of the island and towards the mainland. See koalas on the way.
Go snorkelling around the island’s fringing reefs. Go scuba diving around the shipwrecks and the famous Yongala wreck.
Launch your kayak, explore the scenic bays and stop for a swim at one of the palm lined beaches.
Exploring Magnetic Island’s beauty and paradise is outstanding.
Adventurers have a number of activities to choose from on Magnetic Island. There is something for everyone from the more energetic to the sedate. Go bushwalking, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, fishing, swimming and camping.
See gorgeous butterflies on the Butterfly Walk or hike to the Endeavour Falls. Test your ability on the Great Tropical Island Ocean Walk. Either way you will see incredible scenery, wildlife and bird life.
If bird watching is your thing then you will love it. Spot some of the 180 species of birds that frequent the island.
The beautiful waters and warm climate make it a water lover’s paradise. Put on a mask and snorkel around one of the many fringing reefs.
Bushwalking around the island is an exciting way to discover the views, beaches and bays. Explore the 24 kilometres of walking tracks that cater for walkers with varying ability levels.
Take the family on the Horseshoe Bay Walk. Stop for a picnic and then explore the Butterfly Walk named after the brilliant tropical butterflies.
If you are after something a bit more challenging, take the Forts, Florence Bay, Radical Bay, Balding Bay and Horseshoe Bays Walk. There are steep climbs that will get the blood pumping. This walk will take approximately 4 hours.
Hike to the Endeavour Falls on hilly terrain along the Nelly Bay to Arcadia and Endeavour Falls Walk. Or challenge yourself on the West Point Walk.
For the ultimate Magnetic Island walking adventure go on the Great Tropical Island Ocean Walk. This track takes approximately two days to complete (or longer if you have the time) and circumnavigates 75% of Magnetic Island. Starting at Picnic Bay you walk to Horseshoe Bay, Nelly Bay, Arcadia, Alma Bay and the Forts Car Park. Along the way you see 11 bays and beaches.
Go snorkelling in the many bays and reefs around the island. Snorkel around the Nelly Bay and Geoffrey Bay.
At Nelly Bay you can follow the reef closest to the shore. Wade into the water and a short swim will take you right above the reef. The white surface markers outline the trail and can be used as a float for those who tire. This is a great snorkel for beginners. See staghorn coral, cauliflower coral, lettuce coral and boulder coral and numerous tropical fish swimming around the area.
At the Geoffrey Bay Snorkel Trail you can swim around the Moltke wreck and see an abundance of fish. The WWII aeroplane propeller and engine block from a CW-22B Curtiss Falcon provide a great underwater adventure.
Go snorkelling around the rocks at Radical Bay and Florence Bay. There are also reefs at Arthur Bay and Florence Bay to explore.
Explore the azure waters, unspoiled bays and rugged coastline around Magnetic Island on your kayak. Paddle around the granite boulders along the coastline.
Launch your kayak and discover Horseshoe Bay. This bay is usually protected from strong winds and is a great place to explore. Paddle around the Bay and watch the striking topical sunset.
Go to White Lady Bay and take in the amazing scenery as you paddle over the waters. Stop here for a swim and another perfect view as the sun sets.
Glide over coral gardens. See turtles, dolphins, birds of prey, dugongs and wading birds. Look for migrating whales during July to September.
Circumnavigate the island for the ultimate adventure! Check the wind and swell before leaving. Going anticlockwise from Picnic Bay (at the southern end of the island) helps to avoid the afternoon swells on the last part of the trip. Launch your kayak at Picnic Bay and paddle towards Nelly Bay. From here continue to White Lady Bay and Horseshoe Bay, stopping at one of the bays for a picnic, swim and to admire the fantastic scenery, bird and wildlife. Paddle to West Point and watch as schools of fish dart under your kayak. The trip will take about 8 hours allowing time to stop for breaks.
Anglers will be in paradise at this tropical fishing destination. Fishing around the island is fantastic and anglers can hope to hook a blue marlin, black marlin, sailfish, mackerel, wahoo, giant trevally, dogtooth tuna, coral trout, mahi mahi, tuna, red emperor and sea perch.
Cast your line from one of the beaches or rocky points. Anglers at Horseshoe Bay, the rocks of Bright Point, Orchard Rocks and Picnic Bay Jetty are usually guaranteed a catch.
Walk over the boulders at Bremner Point, cast your line and feel the hit as the giant trevally takes the line. Work your way around the headland and catch perch. With a slice of lemon this makes a tasty dinner.
There are a range of different accommodation options on Magnetic Island including hotels, apartments, backpackers, bungalows, bed and breakfasts and limited camping.
There is no camping in Magnetic Island National Park, however, Bungalow Bay Koala Village is on 6 ½ acres next to the national park and has grassy campsites with large shady trees.
The best time to visit Magnetic Island is during the winter months. The summer can be hot and humid.
Access to Magnetic Island is by ferry from Townsville Breakwater to Nelly Bay Harbour. Sealink currently operates regular passenger ferries and Fantasea operate a vehicle ferry.
Once on the island you can catch the bus service that goes around the island.
November to May is stinger season, when the Irukandji and box jelly fish are most likely to be in the surrounding waters. When kayaking, swimming or snorkelling it is important to wear stinger suits, specifically designed to protect the body from stings. Swim within stinger net enclosures during this time. If stung, seek medical attention immediately.
Cyclone season is between November and May each year.
There are Swim Cards for each snorkelling trail that describe the species of fish and coral you are likely to see at each location. They are available from the Base Backpackers, Aquasearch Aquarium, MIArts Space, Foodworks, Bungalow Bay, Arcadia Store, Acadia Newsagency, Pleasure Divers, Island Plans, Fish’n N Fuel’n and MI Post Office. Leave at a drop box after each swim for recycling. Water clarity for snorkelling is poor during and immediately after strong south east winds in the Nelly Bay and Geoffrey Bay areas.
Check for events on the island as accommodation may be limited. This includes the Magnetic Island Adventurethon (March – April), Great Tropical Jazz party (August), Bay Days Festival (September – October), Magnetic Island Race Week (September) and the Full moon party (all year long).