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Arcadia is a township in an island paradise, Magnetic Island, which lays only 8 kilometres away from the thriving North Queensland capital, Townsville. Magnetic Island is unique in that it is the only island within the Great Barrier Reef which has a permanent residential population. The idyllic tropical island combines holiday island resorts, Natural Park with virgin ecosystem and permanent resident settlements. With its natural beauty and attractions, it honours its magnetic name by attracting an ever increasing number of tourists lured by its charm and its atmosphere, which, as it is not exclusively an island resort, is more laid back and relaxed than other luxury resorts on tropical island getaways. Although small, Arcadia is a growing town situated on Geoffrey Bay which has over a kilometre of beach bordered by a coral reef.
If you are looking for that elusive dream of a utopian haven where to relax and unwind, and to immerse yourself in nature for the perfect retreat for body, mind and spirit, Magnetic Island, with its tropical sunshine, many beautiful beaches, its picturesque natural scenery, abundant wildlife, laid back atmosphere and wide, diverse offer of holiday accommodation provides just the perfect escape. A park within a park, over half of Magnetic Island is a World Heritage listed National Park, and the island lies within the also World Heritage Listed, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It’s virgin ecosystem and pristine waters provide stunning natural landscapes and seascapes, with a rich and varied wildlife including the iconic and endearing koala, rock wallabies, possums and echidnas as well as a diverse and colourful birdlife boasting over one hundred species of the feathered friends.
The Island is a delight for nature lovers and birdwatchers alike as well as for enthusiasts of bushwalking and hiking who will be enthralled with the many choices of incomparable bush trails. Divers and snorkellers will fancy themselves in paradise in this, a gateway to the world’s largest underwater wonderland. For those holidaymakers who just wish to laze back and relax taking in the sea, sand and surf, Magnetic Island is the place to be, with its pristine, fine, white sandy beaches, azure, sparkling waters and clear sunny skies. Its inviting warm weather and ocean breezes are perfect for sunbathing on the beach, or taking in the breeze on the sun deck by the pool of a holiday villa or the breezy terrace of a holiday apartment.
Because of its wide appeal, Magnetic Island also offers a wide and varied choice of accommodation to suit all circumstances, tastes and budgets. As the island combines its Natural Park and tourist destination projection with settlements of permanent population, choice of accommodation in Magnetic Island is broader than on other island resorts on The Great Barrier Reef. Holiday rentals range from budget accommodation to self contained accommodation, including serviced apartments and holiday homes.
Arcadia is situated around two bays, Geoffrey Bay, and Alma Bay and is less than five minutes away from the Townsville to Magnetic Island ferry terminal at Nelly Bay. Geoffrey Bay is a Marine Park Zone and fishing and collecting are prohibited, so it is recommended that the holidaymaker reads all signage at Marine Park Zones to be aware of activities which are forbidden in these natural reserves. Geoffrey Bay, however, offers excellent snorkelling opportunities as there is a large stretch of fringing reef running the whole length of the bay. On the northern end of Geoffrey Bay there is a ramp to the vehicle ferry, as well as an access road leading to it. At sundown, it is common around this area to spot rock wallabies, which you may feed.
Another great attraction at the Northern end of Geoffrey Bay is the coral encrusted Moltke Wreck, a German sailing ship sunk in 1913 which lies in 8 metres of water 100 metres off the shore in Arcadia. Although there are approximately twenty sunken wrecks surrounding Magnetic Island, the 50 metre sunken Moltke, has become one of the most popular dive sites on the Island, as it is encrusted with soft and hard corals and barramundi, epaulet sharks, and sweetlip amongst other species of fish have made the sunken wreck their home. The best time to visit The Moltke is in calm conditions and during high tide. Night dives to The Moltke are most attractive as the bright orange colours are particularly vivid by torchlight.
Alma Bay is the favourite family swimming spot in Magnetic Island, as it is patrolled on weekends and public holidays. The luxuriant parkland around Alma beach is ideal for a family outing as the area is very well appointed with shaded picnic areas and tables, children’s playgrounds, and facilities such as toilets and changing rooms. As Arcadia is mostly a residential area, a lot of the holiday accommodation around these two bays is family oriented, rather than resort style accommodation found in other parts of the island. The holidaymaker will have no problem finding holiday houses, or other self-contained accommodation, including pet friendly accommodation in Arcadia.
With 320 days of sunshine per year, on average, Townsville and is surrounding district is the driest along the Queensland Coast, even though it lies in the tropics. On Magnetic Island days are warm and sunny with very small temperature variations all year round, and due to sea breezes, the island’s temperatures are generally about one degree cooler than in Townsville. Swimming is possible throughout the year as average temperatures range between 19.5ÂºC and 29ÂºC.
As it is just a twenty minute fast catamaran ride from Townsville to Magnetic Island, Arcadia is easily accessible from the mainland. All transport to Magnetic Island departs from Townsville with both a passenger ferry which runs up to 14 return trips daily and a vehicle and passenger ferry with up to 7 return trips per day. With such comprehensive services, travel to Magnetic Island is simple and affordable. Each of these ferries departs from different terminals, but both are situated on Ross Creek within easy reach from the city centre. Townsville has a major airport, therefore whether travelling domestically or from overseas, there are connecting flights available. Flight time from the Queensland capital, Brisbane, to Townsville is approximately two hours and both national airlines have connecting flights with the state capital. Virgin Australia has various daily low fare services from Brisbane with connections from all other Australian state capitals. Other smaller airlines provide services from Cairns and other regional centres.