Magnificent Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is located just 8km off the coast of North Queensland, Australia, a jewel in the Coral Sea.

Named by Captain Cook in 1770 for supposedly affecting his compass, the island is attracting those who wish to experience the relaxed atmosphere of this holiday suburb of Townsville. The mode here is casual and stress is completely unheard of.

The island has 2000 permanent residents who live in several villages from Picnic Bay in the south to Horseshoe Bay in the north. For visitors, there are numerous accommodation choices from backpackers to International class hotels. Popular activities include bush walking in the extensive World Heritage National Park, jet skiing, snorkelling, diving fishing, sailing, reef eco tours, breakfast with the koalas and even sky diving from the clear blue skies above.

If you are planning to get married and would like to find a place unlike any other, then you will be well catered for on Magnetic Island.

The best time to visit Magnetic Island is from May to October, when the marine stingers go elsewhere for their holidays and the air is cool and clear. Ferries run frequently from Townsville and the 20-minute ride costs $29 return or half that amount concession. There is also a vehicular ferry but if you are only staying a short while, a better option may be to rent one of the topless eco cars, a moke or perhaps a scooter or motorcycle on the island. Rates are very reasonable. The distance from the south to the north of the island is about 10km.

Even without your own set of wheels, getting around on the island is easy as there is a regular bus service. You can get an unlimited day ticket for $6.80 or $3.40 concession. The bus calls at all the popular villages and resorts on the island and runs frequently.

Whether you are just going for a few hours or staying for a week or more, you will find Magnetic Island holds a strong attraction, making it difficult to pull yourself away.

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