[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Plenty of tourists have felt the irresistible pull of Magnetic Island. Whether for the day or for an overnight stay, this is one hot destination for families, and with good reason!
It’s a 25 minute ferry-ride from Townsville and boasts 23 beautiful beaches and 25 kilometres of walking tracks. In the middle of the heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, this rugged paradise is the perfect place for young explorers to discover on their next family holiday. It’s also perfect for Mums and Dads partial to relaxing by the beach.
Most of the island is covered in national park. Outdoorsy types will feel right at home amid the boulders, headlands, wetlands and sandy beaches. Mild temperatures and sunny weather for much of the year mean you can make the most of an active family holiday. Try out Hawkings Point Track, which is short and sweet (and a little steep!) at only 1.2km return. You’ll have breathtaking views of Rocky, Nelly and Geoffrey Bays. You can even see as far as Townsville!
Beautiful Horseshoe Bay can be accessed by a 200 metre beach track where you’re sure to encounter a number of waterbirds. For a flat but long walk, you can trek 5 hours from Picnic Bay to West Point. The most popular track is the moderate Forts Walk. It’ll take 1-2 hours, following a ridge to World War II ruins.
Any foray into the National Park will prove just how abundant animal encounters are on Magnetic Island. You’re bound to see a koala when you delve into the national park, or spot a stray dolphin fin from your lookout.
Visit Bungalow Bay Koala Village for a cuddle with some sleepy balls of fur. Join a Magnetic Island Sea Kayak tour for a turtle sighting, and make sure to keep an eye out for dolphins! There’s also a dugong population, several fish nurseries, and a whole colony of bush stone-curlews which are pretty rare elsewhere.
And unfortunately, there are plenty of stingers out so you need to be super careful when you swim.
Water babies will certainly go wild with all that is on offer. Horseshoe Bay is a patrolled beach, and Alma Bay and Picnic Bay have lifeguards at the ready on weekends and during school holidays. Take a jet ski tour, or go diving for a spectacular view of the SS Yongola shipwreck. You can snorkel straight from the beach at Arthur or Florence Bay. Follow the white surface floats at Nelly Bay and Geoffrey Bay for a special snorkel trail that will show off a wide array of corals and marine life.
Hungry for History
The history of the region is pretty special as well. Magnetic Island is known by the Wulgurukaba people as Yunbenun, and old dreamtime stories explain how a giant carpet snake linked Magnetic Island to the mainland. It was given its English name by James Cook in 1770 because it seemed to influence his compass as the Endeavour sailed past. It was used as a lookout point for the major Townsville military base during World War II. You can still check out the artillery battery and signal station, and the Fort ruins. Learn more about the island’s heritage at the History and Craft Centre.
Magnetic Island is well worth the visit. Get around by in a rental buggy or mini and choose between cabins, self-contained houses and luxury villas for your accommodation. Best of Magnetic displays some great options for a range of budgets and needs.
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