Magnetic Island is only 15 minutes on a boat from Townsville and offers fantastic National Park and relaxing, secluded beaches.
The island was aptly named in 1770 by Captain Cook, whose compass is said to have gone funny when sailing past the island. The island isn't based around a single resort like many of the islands within the Great Barrier Reef. Instead it has several small towns, and is more quaint than modern.
Picnic Bay is in the south of the island. The Picnic Bay Mall is a popular spot for shopping and has a great fish and chip shop. The Island's nine hole golf course can be found at Picnic Bay, as well as a selection of accommodation, including hostels and hotels. You can also hire bikes, cars and scooters to get around the island.
There is also a patrolled beach featuring a specially designed swimming enclosure. The two bays either side of Picnic Bay are well worth visiting. To the west is Cockle Bay where you will find the wrecked City Of Adelaide, and to the east is Rocky Bay which has a great beach.
Driving from Picnic Bay you can head along the sealed road on the east coast, or follow the rough track along the west coast, with only walking trails along the north coast. There is also a bus service which takes you along the east coast from Picnic Bay to Horseshoe Bay.
Horseshoe Bay is the largest bay on Magnetic Island and is a popular destination for water lovers. Enjoy sailing, jet skiing, swimming on horseback and much more. Horseshoe Bay offers a selection of accommodation and the whole area is popular for koalas. Horseshoe Bay also has a horse ranch which offers riding tours around the surrounding beach and bush.
Along the east coast you will come to Nelly Bay, the main residential town on the island, which has a pretty little beach. Nelly Bay is the location of the Magnetic Harbour Ferry Terminal and is a great spot to snorkel, swim or sail. Further along the coast is the town of Arcadia which looks out over Geoffrey Bay hosting some beautiful coral reefs. You can also join a diving course.
At the north eastern tip of the island is Horseshoe Bay and Radical Bay. There are also a number of good walking tracks around the north eastern tip. You can walk to Arthur Bay, Balding Bay which is a nudist beach (unofficially), Florence Bay and the old Searchlight Station.
If you are on foot you can get to Magnetic Island on Sunferries which departs from Townsville. To take your vehicle over to the island then you will need to head to Ross Creek, where the Capricorn Barge Company runs a ferry across to the island.
Destinations within North Coast
|Other North Coast Destinations|
|Magnetic Island||Mission Beach||Ravenshoe|