Affectionately Known as Maggie
Magnetic Island lies 8 kms north east off the coast of Townsville in Tropical North Queensland and is a wonderful place to get away from it all. With an average of 320 days of sunshine each year, it’s a special holiday destination that leaves you feeling relaxed and as though you’ve just shared life with a real community.
Things To Do in Magnetic Island
Named for its suspected interference to the ship’s compass by Captain Cook in 1770, it’s a beautiful looking island with an amazing blend of national park, a small residential community (of around 2,500) and holiday accommodation, all within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Marine area. Everywhere you look, huge boulders appear to have tumbled into one of the 22 beautiful clear bays, whilst green mountains rise up above. There is a variety of interesting wildlife on the island, easily spotted if you hit one of the many walking tracks.
Visitors have been going to the island since the 1800s and it was used as a strategic military post during World War 2; the ruins are now a popular tourist walk. Rock and coral mining for mainland constructions as well as pineapple growing have also been part of the island’s history.
There are four village-like residential bays all enjoying a relaxed lifestyle where the people are friendly and big on living the term ‘island-time’. It’s a nature lover’s paradise and a great place to do as little or as much as you like.
Things to do on Magnetic Island
Maggie caters for all types of travellers from the budget conscious to the indulgent, families and honeymooners. There are lots of things to do so even the littlest travellers will be entertained. Obviously water sports are big here – you can hire all sorts of water craft. There’s also a 9 hole golf course, 23kms of National Park walking tracks, horeseriding, fishing, reef snorkeling, a small range of shops, plenty of restaurants, numerous art galleries and great markets selling local art and produce. The beaches are lovely and the swimming safe in most areas. Other attractions include turtles and dolphins in the bays and whales migrating through the area usually in August or September. If you’re really lucky you’ll spot a sea eagle - they nest in the tall hoop pines surrounded by craggy rocks.
You can easily access Maggie by a fast catamaran ferry service from Townsville or take your car on the dedicated car and passenger service. It is necessary to book on the vehicle ferry however there is no need to book for the passenger ferry. Driving a mini-Moke is de-rigueur on Maggie and is a great way to feel the breeze as you cruise the island spotting wildlife; you can hire one by the day.
With an interesting blend of people both living and holidaying on the island, you’ll always find something interesting going on. One island institution you shouldn’t miss is listening to Verne Thomas Jack – the Toadmaster – calling the cane toad races outside the Arcadia Pub on a Wednesday evening. Put your hand in your pocket and sponsor a toad in the races – the money goes to the local junior lifesaving club.
Accommodation is varied on the island, everything from stylish new apartments (check out Champagne Apartments) to interesting old houses that have been renovated (consider “Lemonade”) to unique properties with beautiful views and even their own inclinators! (see this one). Or you might prefer a family resort with activities for the kids or any easy care unit with a pool. Whatever your preference, you’re sure to find great accommodation to use as a base to explore this unique and enchanting island.