Written by LenR on 03 Sep, 2010
About half of Magnetic Island is protected as National Park providing a haven for the native wildlife. Here is a quick run-down on where to see wild life.1 - KoalasEvery zoo, wildlife park, and animal refuge in Australia includes the koala in their displays.…Read More
About half of Magnetic Island is protected as National Park providing a haven for the native wildlife. Here is a quick run-down on where to see wild life.1 - KoalasEvery zoo, wildlife park, and animal refuge in Australia includes the koala in their displays. If you want to see them in the wild, however, head to Magnetic Island, which has one of the largest populations of koalas living in the wild. A baby koala is called a joey and is hairless, blind, and earless. At birth the joey, only about seven millimetre long, crawls into the downward-facing pouch on the mother's belly and attaches itself to one of the two teats. Young remain hidden in the pouch for half a year, feeding on milk only. During this time they grow ears, eyes, and fur. In captivity koalas can live up to 18 years, but not much is known about life expectancy in the wild. Koalas are generally silent, but males are capable of a very loud mating call that can be heard from almost a kilometre away during the breeding season. When under stress, koalas may produce a loud cry, which sounds similar to a human baby.The best place to see koalas in the wild is on the Forts Walk near Horseshoe Bay. While it is not possible to guarantee sightings, I have seen koalas in trees along here most times I have done this walk. Most koalas will be sleeping when you see them.If you want to get much closer and actually hold a crocodile, koala and snake you can do this at the onsite wildlife sanctuary at Bungalow Bay Village in Horseshoe Bay. You can even enjoy a champagne bush tucker breakfast with the Koalas. Bungalow Bay has its own koala sanctuary onsite, allowing guests and visitors to experience and interact with koalas, crocodiles and snakes, at a cost. Three daily interactive tours are held at 10.00 a.m., 12.00 p.m., and 2.30 p.m.,2 - Rock wallabiesThe Allied Rock-wallaby is a species of rock-wallaby found in north-eastern Queensland. There are several colonies on Magnetic Island. Probably the best known is the colony that lives on rocks near the old Geoffrey Bay jetty. They come down every afternoon to the car park and some of the locals go there to feed them. This is not encouraged by the authorities as some processed food can be dangerous for the animals but the locals feed them with mangoes or other fruit and the animals seem to enjoy this. We recently joined a couple of others in a feeding season here. The animals were initially shy but it didn’t take long for some of them to feed from our hands. This gave us a warm feeling knowing that we were being trusted by these wild animals.BirdsMagnetic Island is an ideal location for bird watching with over140 native bird species having been recorded on the island. The island supports a diverse range of habitats capable of maintaining a prolific population of bird life. The island vegetation includes pockets of lowland tropical rainforest, open eucalypt woodlands, dry-lands, mangroves, mudflats and a fresh water lagoon.Magnificent birds of prey nest on the island. It is possible to see sea eagles, osprey, brahminy and whistling kites. Brilliantly coloured birds abound. Blue winged kookaburras, yellow-bellied sunbirds, rainbow lorikeets, Jabiru, barking owls, and cockatoos can be seen in the wild.There are two places to see these birds up close. At the All-seasons Resort, the manager feeds kookaburras and kites each evening. The kookaburras take meat from his hand while the majestic kites swoop in and catch pieces on the wing. It is a spectacular sight. At the Bungalow Bay Village, they feed the rainbow lorikeets in a spectacular display of colour and movement. Both events are worth seeing. Close
Magnetic Island can be seen across the water from Townsville and rumour has it that there was once a plan to build a causeway across to it. I remember an alternate idea for a monorail but neither has ‘got off the ground’. The only way…Read More
Magnetic Island can be seen across the water from Townsville and rumour has it that there was once a plan to build a causeway across to it. I remember an alternate idea for a monorail but neither has ‘got off the ground’. The only way across for visitors is by boat.The island is too large for walking if you want to explore the different townships, bays and beaches. If you haven’t taken your own vehicle across by barge there are a variety of options for island transport.1 - Passenger Ferry from Townsville (Tel: 4726 0800).Sunferries is an award winning ferry service providing the quickest link (20 mins) with 19 daily return services between Townsville and Magnetic Island. The company also offers a wide range of tour and accommodation packages for Townsville and Magnetic Island through its travel agency - Sunferries Travel.Magnetic Island is the most accessible island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. You can relax in air conditioned comfort onboard high speed catamarans and enjoy a drink from the bar as youtake in the clear blue waters of Cleveland Bay. Ferries depart from the Breakwater Terminal on Sir Leslie Thiess Drive, close to the casino and entertainment centre in Townsville. The terminal is conveniently located in close proximity to the Townsville CBD and is serviced by public buses, coaches, taxis and airport transfer buses. The Island terminal is at Nelly Bay. Current fare is A$27.00 round-trip.2 - Vehicular ferry (Tel: 4796 9300)Townsville based Fantasea Cruising Magnetic operates the M.V. Riverside Arcadia with frequent services between Townsville, Queensland's northern capital, and Magnetic Island. The ferry offers its passengers drive on drive off convenience. Campers and trailers are welcome.Fantasea Cruising Magnetic's Townsville terminal is located at Ross St, South Townsville, just across the river from the ferry terminal. The Magnetic Island terminal is located at the Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal. Round trip cost is A$164.00 for a normal vehicle plus the number of passengers that it can legally carry. The trip takes about 40 minutes and there are 5 or 6 trips a day. Bookings are highly recommended particularly during school holidays.3 - Car rentalThis is a popular way of getting around the island. Several companies offer brightly coloured Mini Mokes, but unfortunately they may not be around for much longer as spare parts are difficult to get and the number of available vehicles is diminishing quickly.Mi Wheels (4778 5491) is the company we used on our recent visit. This has topless convertible cars which seat 4 comfortably and in style - with an optional sun canopy available. It also offers classic Moke Hire and some larger vehicles. The office is only 50 metres from the ferry terminal so it is very convenient forvisitors.Other companies offering rental vehicles are Moke Magnetic (Tel: 4778 5377), C Drive car rental (Tel: 4758 1166), and Tropical Palms 4WD Hire (Tel: 4778 5076). 4 - Scooters.Road Runner Scooter Hire (Tel: 4778 5222) has new Dual Seat Scooters which are an easy and fun way to see the beautiful island. They also rent trail bikes. Beginners are welcome but you need to be age 18+. Trail bikes are allowed access to West Point & Radical Bay but scooters and Mokes are not. A courtesy pickup from the ferry is available upon request. You’ll need a drivers license, motorcycle license for trail bikes, security deposit, sensible footwear and a sense of adventure!5 - Public bus (Tel: 4778 5130)The local bus service meets every ferry and it connects all the towns on the island. It offers single tickets, an unlimited day pass or a three-hour tour at 9am and 1pm daily. If you are on your own, this is the cheapest way of getting around. For day trippers, the unlimited day pass allows you to visit all townships and get on and off where ever you like.6 - Bike Rental. (Tel: 4758 1333)Whether you are a regular cyclist or haven’t been riding since you were a kid, Magnetic Island Bike Hire at Arcadia probably has just the right bike for you; cruisers and kids bikes to explore the flat road to West Point or mountain bikes, road bikes and luxury electric bikes to explore the bays to the North. They provide comfortable helmets and large baskets for snorkel gear, fishing rods or your shopping to make riding a breeze. Bike rental is $15 for 4 hours or $20 for 24 hours. Electric bikes are $25 a day. Close
Horseshoe Bay is the largest bay on the island and it is ideal for water sports. Almost every watercraft imaginable is available for rent. Horseshoe Bay Beachfront is considered one of the best tourist strips of the Island, with a substantial array of restaurants, cafes,…Read More
Horseshoe Bay is the largest bay on the island and it is ideal for water sports. Almost every watercraft imaginable is available for rent. Horseshoe Bay Beachfront is considered one of the best tourist strips of the Island, with a substantial array of restaurants, cafes, and bars with live entertainment. The area is also great for families with playground facilities and sheltered picnic tables. Several fishing boats can be seen anchored at the eastern end of the bay making ready for their trip out to the Great Barrier Reef.Beach activities include a unique round the island Jet Ski guided tour with Adrenalin Jet Ski Tours (Tel: 4778 5533). The tour goes every day and takes 3 hours. This company also provides a 75 minute tour which travels around the northern bays of the island. Bookings are essential. Jet skis can also be hired from Arne (Tel: 4758 1100) on the beachfront at Horseshoe Bay. It is claimed that Horseshoe Bay is the biggest jet ski area on the East coast of Australia. Water skiing, tube rides, catamaran hire, and water tricycles are available from the Horseshoe Bay Water Sports (Tel: 4758 1336). The same company operates the Blue Parrot sunset sailing cruise Thursdays to Mondays at 4.30pm. Then there is the famous Red Baron seaplane (Tel: 041289 6770) which featured in "The Phantom" movie and is the only two passenger, open cockpit bi-plane on floats in the world.Magnetic Island Sea Kayak (Tel: 4778 5424) go every day for a tour with a qualified instructor. This is a nationally accredited Eco-tour which takes only photographs and leaves only footprints. Barnacle Bill (Tel: 4758 1837) runs fishing tours and has been operating for well over 20 years. He is an expert fisherman and has amazing success rate on his trips. Island Cruising (Tel: 4778 5952) also run fishing trips and a round-island family cruise with lunch. The boat has a shady deck and full toilet facilities and offers boom-netting on all trips.Back on land there are some good eating and drinking options. The Marlin Bar is open from 11.00am to 10pm serving meals and is open till mid-night for drinks. It also has a great bottle shop. Noodies on the Beach is a Latin/Mexican restaurant serving traditional food. It is fully licensed and serves great margaritas. It opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner but is closed on Thursdays. The Bounty on the Bay has fish and chips which you can enjoy on the beach. Open 11am till 7pm daily. Barefoot Art, Food & Wine Bar is set in relaxed surroundings and open for Lunch and Dinner Wednesday to Monday 11.30 am till late. Try and book on the balcony for superb views.For those visiting between November and May the protected swimming enclosure is directly across the road ensuring safe swimming during the marine stinger season. Also, just a few hundred metres from the main road, in the Horseshoe Bay Lagoon Environmental Park, you may see some of the many water birds which frequent this fresh water lagoon especially after a good wet season. A little further inland, Bluey’s Horse Ranch (Tel: 4778 5109) provides guided bush and beach horse riding in fun groups.There are some walks well worth doing. Balding Bay is just over a slight ridge on a clearly marked track commencing at the eastern end of the Horseshoe Bay Beach. It is a beautiful unspoiled beach, which is a favourite of sun-lovers. Radical Bay is probably the best bay on the island and can be reached by walking in from the main road or over the ridge from Horseshoe Bay. The walk to the Forts commencing at the Radical Bay turnoff provides a look at a unique part of Australia’s World War II defences and the important role played by the Townsville area in that crucial time. You are likely to be rewarded with sightings of the island’s famous koalas in the wild. Close
Nelly Bay is the Island's passenger ferry arrival point from the mainland (Townsville).and is a great place to go for that early morning run or a leisurely walk. It is good too for swimming, wind-surfing, sailing a catamaran, or snorkelling on the fringing reef. Towards…Read More
Nelly Bay is the Island's passenger ferry arrival point from the mainland (Townsville).and is a great place to go for that early morning run or a leisurely walk. It is good too for swimming, wind-surfing, sailing a catamaran, or snorkelling on the fringing reef. Towards the northern end of the beach is a sheltered, coin-operated Barbeque area and a children's playground and further along, sheltered picnic tables and toilets. Despite operating for about seven years the area around the ferry terminal looks as if it is a recently completed construction zone, lacking in vegetation and appeal. This is a pity because the rest of the island is very attractive and mostly natural..Nelly Bay is Magnetic Island's main residential bay. It is the first point of access to the island, as both the passenger and car ferries terminate here. Most transport facilities, from bicycles to car hire, are available for collection near the terminal. Tour operators also meet with corresponding ferries here. The local bus services and taxi rank are conveniently located just outside the terminal. Most of the Magnetic Island's shopping and amenities are now located in Nelly Bay. These are scattered in several locations and no area has the facilities or the ambience that Picnic Bay Mall once had. We had morning tea at the island’s bakery and sat outside at a table but the only view was of the adjacent car park. There is a supermarket adjacent to the ferry terminal and several other stores at other locations. Nelly Bay has also become the main centre on the island for accommodation. The major resorts are all here – Bright Point and Peppers Blue on Blue are adjacent to the ferry terminal, Magnetic Island apartments are close by, and the All Seasons Magnetic International is about a kilometre away. There are several smaller properties here as well together with several holiday rentals.The beach is white, long and clean and this is still the appeal for many people. Certainly it is a great place for a leisurely walk and there are restaurants at either end if you need to relax. This is not the place to swim during the wet season, however, because there is no ‘stinger net’ here for protection again marine stingers or any beach patrols by life savers. These facilities are at Picnic Bay and Horseshoe Bay. The local school has a pool which is open to the public at certain times and most resorts have their own pools. Close
For some visitors, Picnic Bay has become a bit of a backwater. For many years Picnic Bay was the first glimpse visitors had of the Island as they arrived on the passenger ferry from Townsville. It was a lovely view of coconut and pine trees,…Read More
For some visitors, Picnic Bay has become a bit of a backwater. For many years Picnic Bay was the first glimpse visitors had of the Island as they arrived on the passenger ferry from Townsville. It was a lovely view of coconut and pine trees, huge boulders and sandy beach and I marked it down in the mid-70s when I first visited as one of those idyllic tropical locations. In 2003, however, the passenger ferry service relocated to the new Magnetic Harbour Ferry terminal in Nelly Bay and this little town took a big hit. This was compounded when the big multi-storey apartment development on the foreshore was halted during construction and has never been completed. Nevertheless, the town still has a sizable resident population and buses do connect it with Nelly Bay.The jetty still remains and is a favourite spot for fishing, strolling or for an evening picnic meal. There is also a specially designed swimming enclosure for safe swimming during the summer months. It consists of a floating net allowing for all tide variations. This beach is also patrolled by the Picnic Bay Surf Life Saving Club on week-ends and public holidays. The town’s commercial centre is the Picnic Bay Mall, a relaxed and tranquil spot for shopping, dining, a quiet drink at the Hotel or just sitting with a paper or book at one of the many shady tables scattered along the lovely gardens that line the beach. Parents will really appreciate the two children’s play areas in the gardens, something for the kids to enjoy whilst they relax. The Island's picturesque nine-hole golf course is also in Picnic Bay and visitors are made most welcome. It is claimed that this is where Greg Norman first played golf. Picnic Bay is also home to the Magnetic Island Police Station, the National Parks office and the History and Craft Centre. Off the coast the wreck of the George Rennie is visible at low tide.The first known settlement of Picnic Bay was by Harry Butler and his family who established a small dairy, orchard and mixed farm here in 1877. The family experimented in the cultivation of pineapples and, as part of a tourism venture, built a number of small huts and established an intermittent ferry service from Townsville. Having purchased the Butler family's huts in Picnic Bay in 1898 Robert Hayles, an entrepreneur, formerly a pastoral worker in western Queensland, erected a two storey hotel, dance hall and a temporary jetty at the western end of the bay to establish a larger tourist operationA permanent jetty was established later and the Picnic Bay hotel became just one of the many parts of the Hayles tourism venture. As Magnetic Island grew in popularity, rental car, tourist information, and tour offices were established here and the town boomed. In 1990 when I visited, this was the centre if island activity. Now it is more suitable for visitors who are looking for some peace and quietness. There is some nice accommodation here in units and rental houses and the hotel still operates for food and beverages. The Mall houses a couple of restaurants and boutiques and it is extremely pleasant to sit out in the gardens watching the world go by. Close
Written by cushla on 22 Apr, 2004
Island Palms Resort sits among the palm trees in Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island, a 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville. Townsville has a domestic airport. The closest international airport would be in Cairns or Brisbane.
Island Palms has 12 two-bedroom apartments, all with ensuites.…Read More
Island Palms Resort sits among the palm trees in Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island, a 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville. Townsville has a domestic airport. The closest international airport would be in Cairns or Brisbane.
Island Palms has 12 two-bedroom apartments, all with ensuites. It is a three storey walk up. All rooms have been recently refurbished with terracotta tiles and furnishings that complement the atmosphere and island surroundings.
The beach is across the road from the resort, great for swimming and snorkelling. There are stingrays, sharks, giant groper turtles, and Nemo’s, I'm sure, plus the coral colours are brilliant. All the bays on the island have snorkelling and dive shops so you can hire or purchase gear. The 8th Wonder of the World, the Great Barrier Reef, is a two-hour boat journey away -- there are daily trips to the reef, which is a must.
Maggie offers many amazing walks through the tropical bush. Lots of koalas and wallabies will join you on your way. . . and snakes!!! The views from these walks are breathtaking. Getting around Maggie can be fun in a moke or car; the bus service too is excellent and very flexible!!
There are many different things to do to kept you busy, including horseback riding, a jet ski tour around the island (huge adrenalin rush!!), four wheel drive touring, cruises, sailing, snorkeling, or sitting under a palm with a great book.
You can eat very well on this small tropical island – there’s Mexican, Thai, and French food, plus many others, and seafood, bistros, two great bakeries, and an excellent supermarket and deli!
Special events on Maggie are the Jazz Festival every October, the Film Festival every May, and New Year’s Eve.
This is a very romantic place to get married. There are outdoor movies, live bands, cabaret dinner shows monthly, and much much more.
My family and I lived on Magnetic Island for three years and we managed Island Palms Resort -- it was a fantastic experience for our children and us. The locals are so friendly. The weather really is perfect one day brilliant the next. I would really look at Magnetic Island when planning your next holiday.
I thought I would just add that there is a gay and lesbian community on Maggie -- a great bunch, too!
Arcadia is the town that surrounds two of the Island's prominent bays; Alma Bay and Geoffrey Bay. I used to have a house here and it is still my favourite area of the island. There is a wide range of accommodation on the beachfront and…Read More
Arcadia is the town that surrounds two of the Island's prominent bays; Alma Bay and Geoffrey Bay. I used to have a house here and it is still my favourite area of the island. There is a wide range of accommodation on the beachfront and close to the beach overlooking Gregory Bay.Geoffrey Bay is a Marine National Park Zone, which signifies no fishing or collecting, but is great for exploring during low tide. The old barge jetty, which is situated on the left side, is a great spot for feeding rock wallabies at dusk.Alma Bay is a very picturesque little bay, just 150 m in width at the beach. It faces due east and has two prominent granite headlands running out for 300 m on either end of the beach. Large granite boulders and rocks fringe the beach. It is a very popular swimming spot for local and visitors alike. The Arcadian Life Saving Club, which was founded in 1928, patrols the beach on weekends and public holidays. The beach is often calm and only receives waves when the south-easterlies are blowing. The waves have built a gently sloping beach, that is 50 m wide at high tide and more than doubles in size at low tide. This is also a popular spot for fishing off the rocks. There are public amenities such as a gas barbecue, picnic tables, shaded children's play ground, changing areas and toilets. Alma Bay is also famous for its ANZAC Day Commemorations. Real-life soldiers from the Thirty-fifth Field Squadron (Reservist Engineers) annually re-enact the events that took place and make a dawn landing right onto the beach. Arcadia has some of the best facilities and shops on the island including the Stage Door Theatre Restaurant, Arcadia Village comprising of the Magnums resort, caffe ‘dell’ isola, The Arcadia Store, Butler's Pantry, Magnetic Island Bike Shop and Banister's Seafood. Also located at the top of Hordern Avenue is the local RSL sub branch which is a buzz of activity on Friday evenings for markets and Sundays for roast night.Arcadia is home to a range of accommodation from the budget Magnums and Arcadia Beach Guest House through the mid-range Magnetic Retreat, Brooke Haven, and Arcadia beach Apartments to the more luxury end with the Champagne Apartments and Samsara House. Close