"Magnetic Island, off Townsville" Top 5 Page for this destination Magnetic Island by Kate-Me

Magnetic Island Travel Guide: 79 reviews and 120 photos

If you only have a limited amount of time to spend in the Townsville region (as we did) but still want to see a tropical island, Magnetic Island is an excellent choice.
There are very regular passenger and passenger/car ferries leaving from the Townsville harbour each day. The ferry ride only takes about 20 minutes to reach the island, so it's very close indeed.

As we approached the island on the ferry, I began to have some misgivings about choosing this particular island, as far from looking completely palm lined along the shore, the headlands were quite rocky between the strips of white sand, and it was quite hilly and looked filled with more bushland than tropical vegetation (the tropical vegetation was there, but it’s not till you’re actually driving around on the island that you really see it).
I hoped this wasn’t going to be some scrubby island rather than the tropical snorkelling paradise I wanted, but once right in close, I could see there were actually plenty of palm trees and much tropical vegetation as well.

When we disembarked, it was at a new terminal which had just been opened. This Marina was so far quite bare, and extremely rocky and artificially built up and we wondered why they had changed from the other terminal on the other side of the island at Picnic Bay, where we would be staying.
Soon we saw why - there is going to be a 10 million dollar waterfront development resort beginning soon, to add to the marina and the short stretch of inland ‘river harbour’ they’ve just created. All the land is laid out along the shore with For Sale signs for about 300 mts, and plans are on billboards with pictures - it looks like your typical multi storey concrete apartment resort - but hopefully the rest of the island can more or less stay as it is, as it’s very charming, and such a change from islands like Brampton where nobody actually lives there, it’s just a resort island. Magnetic, by comparison, has a permanent resident population of about 1000 people, and the houses are scattered in streets over the island, which is often quite hilly (but the residents live on the flatter areas, interspaced between resorts some times, but that’s ok, because even the resort hotels are only 1 - 2 stories high - so far, and blend in well into the tropical palm tree surroundings and tropical vegetation, flowers and flowering trees and bushes - almost like a bit of a jungle, and very nice
The island isn't too tiny either, measuring about 20 kms x 10 kms.

We only spent 1 1/2 days there, but still managed to see a fair bit in that time.

A view of Magnetic Island's forested hillsides and some of the more rugged terrain as we left on the ferry.

While we were staying at the backpackers close to Picnic Bay beach, some friendly birds dropped in for breakfast (Rainbow Lorikeets).

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A reasonable sized island, not just for honeymooners, but real residents live there too
  • Cons:If you haven't your own transport, getting around the island by public transport bus can be very slow
  • In a nutshell:Beautiful, tropical, rainforest, reef...not too exclusive, charming!
  • Last visit to Magnetic Island: Sep 2003
  • Intro Updated Oct 7, 2003
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Reviews (5)

Comments (7)

  • Tripack's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2005 at 2:41 AM

    A really Magnetic Island, when I went there I wouldn't leave this heaven... I even made mountain biking as on my Swiss Alps ;-)

  • stevezero's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2004 at 3:39 PM

    Magnetic is for me one of the most beautiful places on this earth. Would love to go back one day and hope they have not spoiled it with the new developments. Great Pages - best wishes.

  • bijo69's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2004 at 6:43 AM

    Wish I make it back to Magnetic Island one day...

  • 850prc's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2004 at 10:14 AM

    Your Magnetic Island page is very.....ah....."attractive". : ) What a beautiful lorikeet photo on the opening presentation.

  • tini58de's Profile Photo
    Jan 10, 2004 at 12:51 AM

    Nice page - brings back many wonderful memories!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Jan 10, 2004 at 12:42 AM

    The sunrise walk sounds lovely!

  • kiwi's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2004 at 2:12 AM

    Wow, what a lovely place, and really nice birds too! Diving and nice weather, wow. I'd like to go here one day, thanks!


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