Newest Review: ... from 5.30am until 11.30 pm. Tickets cost 32 dollars return for an adult and 16 dollars for children aged 5-14. The crossing is by fast c... more
Magnetic Island (Australia)
Member Name: anwar7
Magnetic Island (Australia)
Advantages: lovely Island with lots to do
Disadvantages: none for me
Magnetic Island ( or Maggie as it is known) lies just 8 KM off the coast of Townsville in Queensland. The Island measures 52 square km's and has 40 km of beautiful coastline and 60 km of roads to explore. The Island is 2/3 National park and is situated on the Great Barrier Reef. The granite rock formations are softened by the lush greenery .The Island has a resident population of around 2,500,so feels like area so feels like a real living Island!
There are 4 main small towns on the Island; Picnic bay, Nellie bay, Arcadia and Horseshoe bay. We stayed in Horseshoe bay. The Island was named by James Cook who believed the Island rock caused his compass to fail to operate-he was wrong! He also made the mistake of not paying a visit to this gorgeous Island!
Getting to the Island is easy if expensive! There are 2 ferry terminals; one for passengers only and one for the car ferry. The passenger ferry leaves from the breakwater terminal on Sir Leslie Thies road, Townsville. It is well signposted and easy to find. There is a large car park at the terminal where, for 7 dollars a day you can leave your car. The car park is not secured although there is an attendant on duty during the day.
The sea link ferry leaves19 times a day from 5.30am until 11.30 pm. Tickets cost 32 dollars return for an adult and 16 dollars for children aged 5-14. The crossing is by fast catamaran and there are toilets and a small café on board. We were luck enough to spot dolphins on our crossing and the captain paused so we could all get a good look and take some pictures! If you intend taking your car then I suggest you check the sea link website for prices!
The ferry terminal is in Nellie bay and the local bus service meets the ferries and stops at the 4 main townships on the Island.
Why visit ?
If the thought of a tropical Island with miles of white sandy beaches and sparkling water is not enough for you then Maggie does have a lot more to offer! Each of the 4 small towns has its own beach, all of which are sandy and accessible. We stayed in Horseshoe bay and the beach is a long stretch of white sand with protected swimming. The protective net just off the coast is designed to keep sharks and stingers away! The water is usually warm even during the winter!
We also visited Arthur bay where there is good snorkelling to be had. If you enjoy driving then it is worth knowing that Magnetic Island had several good wrecks to explore. Many of the bays are secluded and only accessible via unsealed roads.
If you enjoy walking then you will appreciate the 24 km's of walking trails. We visited during the winter but the temperature was still around 26 degrees and you will need to remember to carry plenty of water and sunscreen.
I would particularly recommend the walk that goes to the fort. The forts walk is well signposted and the local bus stops at the start of the trail. The walk takes about 2 hours to complete and is on mainly good tracks. The fort refers to the ww2 ruined fort and command post that were built to protect Townsville during ww2. There are great views of the Island from the top of the command post accessed via a metal ladder. This is also the best area to spot Koala's with the best time being the late afternoon.
When you tire of walking then there are several water activities to enjoy including the excellent Jet Ski tour from Horseshoe bay. We took a tour with Adrenalin Jet Ski hire and can highly recommend it! The tour is expensive but was far more than just a ride on a jet ski! The guide was very knowledgeable and made the trip fun and safe! There are also kayaks for hire if you prefer something a bit slower!
Other activities include horseriding, scenic flights, scuba diving lessons and windsurfing. There is also good fishing to be had from several of the beaches.
I love wildlife spotting and Magnetic Island has this is abundance! Apart from the Koalas (we saw several) there are rock wallerbies, possums, and over 120 species of bird. We spent some time watching a white bellied sea eagle fishing- pure magic!
Although we didn't take our hire car to the Island due to cost, we did hire a 4 wheel drive for the day from our hostel. I can't remember exactly how much I paid but it was around 80 dollars. I think it is well worth while to hire a 4 wheel drive car as there are some lovely places that are only accessible via unsealed roads. I would particularly recommend west point on the west coast for the amazing sunsets. The beach at west point is lovely and often deserted. There are no facilities on the beach so bring your own picnic. The unsealed track to the beach is an enjoyable if challenging 25 minute drive.
There are also minimokes for hire although these are not allowed on the unsealed roads. The main roads are sealed although narrow and winding in places. When we visited at the beginning of August there were lots of roadwork's causing lengthy delays. There is petrol available in Arcadia and Nellie bay.
Eating and drinking.
There are lots of places to eat in all the main townships. We choose to self cater to save money and there are several small, expensive supermarkets on the Island. We used the one in Horseshoe bay although the one just outside Nellie bay was better stocked and slightly cheaper. There is also a bottle shop where you can buy alcohol (alcohol is not available in supermarkets in Oz) in Arcadia.
There are numerous places to stay from expensive private villas to hostels. We stayed in bungalow bay hostel .this is the only place you can camp on the Island.
Overall I loved Maggie and would love to return someday! It has so much to offer and although it receives many visitors all year round we managed to find deserted beaches and saw few other people on our walks!
Summary: Island 8 km off the coast of Townsville