One of the most popular islands on the Queensland coast
10 km north of Townsville, and 40 minutes by regular ferry. This is one of the most popular islands on the Queensland coast, mainly because it’s so easy to get to. In fact, it’s almost a suburb of Townsville. Despite its popularity, the island is large enough to absorb its many visitors, being more than 8 km long.
Magnetic Island was discovered by Captain Cook in 1770. He named it Magnetic Island because his compass started fluttering off true as he sailed along its coast. The central peak, Mount Cook, rises to 500 m and the island is criss-crossed by many fine walks through the national park and the woods (where there’s even a koala park).
The ferries put in first at Picnic Bay, which has fabulous swimming (protected from box jellyfish). The south-eastern side of the island has three settlements overlooking the sea, with a shark aquarium, a reef (great for walking) and bike-hire facilities. There are more than 25 km of road on the island, and even a bus service from Picnic Bay up to Horseshoe Bay in the north.