One Full Day On Magnetic Island
Magnetic Island can be found 8km off the shore of nearby Townsville. The island is effectively a suburb of Townsville, due to the ease of accessibility to the island, it has over 2000 permanent residents. It is no wonder that people who work in Townsville would want to reside on Magnetic Island and take the boat to and from work every day. The island is absolutely stunning. It is mostly a mountainous island with surrounding picturesque bays, which all make for fantastic views.
How To Get There
As I mentioned, the closest mainland town to Magnetic Island is Townsville. I also mentioned that Magnetic Island is basically a suburb of Townsville now, which says it all for how easy it is to reach the island from the mainland. There are two separate ferry companies who operate ferries at regular intervals to and from the island. Sealink operates a regular passenger only services to and from the island and they will have you there in a mere 20 minutes. A return ticket with Sealink will set you back 32 AUD ($24). The other ferry company is Fantasea who offer a vehicle ferry service (recommended to book in advance with Fantasea). Both ferry companies drop you off at the ferry terminal located at Nelly Bay on Magnetic Island.
Where To Stay On Magnetic Island
When we stayed on Magnetic Island, we stayed at Base Hostel. If you’ve stayed at one of the Base Hostels before, you’ll know that it’s not a place to stay if you’re looking for an early night, it’s basically a party hostel. It was what we were looking for when we stayed there. It was a great night when we stayed and the bar closes at12 am, so if you do have to or want to get up particularly early the next day, you won’t be kept awake by music all night long. However, if you are looking for a more chilled out vibe from your accommodation, there are plenty of other choices around the island.
What To Do In A Day On Magnetic Island
Rent A Car
First things first, renting a car should be number one on your agenda on Magnetic Island. It is possible to get around the island on buses, however it’s much easier to get around if you rent a car. You will have more than likely seen people with pictures from Magnetic Island, driving around in one of the topless cars. I was tempted to rent one of these topless cars, they do look like the most fun way to venture around the island. The only problem with the topless cars is that they cannot reach everywhere on the island. My advice would be to rent a 4 wheel drive, that way you are not restricted with where and where you can’t drive. The roads aren’t perfect and some potholes require a 4WD to monouver over them. Having said all that the 4WD cars are slightly more expensive, we paid 80 AUD ($60) for the day, but if you split that between 4 it’s not so bad.
Now you’ve got your car, it’s time to make your way to your first stop over of the day. My advice would be to do the forts walk in the morning. Although the the walk is only 4km, it is uphill and can be quite tiring, especially in the midday heat!
It’s on this walk that you will be most likely to spot a Koalas in the wild. Luckily for us Koalas are very lazy and don’t move for the majority of the day and earlier that morning someone had made an arrow from stones pointing to where the Koala was in the tree, so it wasn’t that difficult for us to spot. I’m sure if there is a Koala in a tree along the walk, one of the passing walkers will let you know if they have spotted it.
**You can go to Bungalow Bay to see Koalas and get the customary picture of you holding one at their wildlife park, but there is an entry fee of 25 AUD ($18) for backpackers and 29 AUD ($22) for adults**
There are a number of walking trails around the island, but the reason we chose forts walk and I would recommend to do the forts walk, is solely down the the magnificent 360 views you get around the island once you reach the top and ascend into the old WWII fort. The views are absolutely fantastic, the rocky island is covered with lush green jungle, in the distance you can see multiple sand bays, followed by glistening, turquoise waters.
Explore the Islands Bays
Once you’ve made your way back down from the forts walk, probably grabbed yourself a spot of lunch, jump back in your car and explore the beautiful bays scattered around Magnetic Island. I mentioned earlier that I would recommend to rent a 4WD car, that’s down to the road being full of huge pot holes leading to the further out bays such as Radical Bay. If you don’t rent a 4WD you will have to park the car in a car park before the road has pot holes and walk the rest of the way.
I know one day on such a beautiful island seems hardly enough time to explore it to its full potential and you are probably correct. However, time may not always been on your side and the upside to renting a car to explore the island means you can get around pretty quick and another positive is that it definitely doesn’t take long to whizz around the island from bay to bay.
Feed The Rock Wallabies
Just before sunset jump back in your car and head down to the Arcadia and then to the pier, where there is a car park just before the ocean. This is where you will find the cute and tiny Rock Wallabies. They’re used to being fed from around 4:30pm onward, so as long as you’re heading down around this time, you’re more or less guaranteed to see a few of them jumping about. They are a little shy at first, but once they realise you have food, they soon lose their timidness. If you are going to feed the Rock Wallabies, it is recommend that you only feed them the following; Carrots, Sweet Potato, Apple, Papaw, Rockmelon or Wallaby pellets (which can be bought from the nearby shop).