Imagine yourself in Townsville, you're sitting on a nice patch of grass or lying on the sand soaking up the sun on the Strand. Out in the horizon, but not too far away, you see this beautiful island calling out your name, you could almost swim to it, in fact some people even kayak over to it from Townsville's coast! Welcome to Magnetic Island!
More than 2500 people call Magnetic Island home but it's locals of the furry kind that really stand out. This island is home to Northern Australia's largest colony of koalas living in the wild! Thanks to it's lack of threats and abundance of eucalyptus trees, Magnetic Island provides the ideal home for this Aussie icon along with many other Australian animals for example the wallaby!
You have an amazing opportunity to feed these wallabies in their natural environment and, if you're lucky, may even see a joey in it's mother's pouch! Only a short drive from the ferry terminal, their feeding station is on Old Arcadia Jetty Road which is across the road from the Arcadia Hotel. You can purchase Wallaby Pellets at surrounding stores including Arcadia Newsagent at 4/7 Marine Parade or if you have handy, some carrots, sweet potato, apples and rockmelon.
Although very use to human interaction, these wallabies are still quite shy creatures. If you pursue them they will hop off into the bush, instead crouch down low holding your hand out full of food and with patience they will come out to you and may even start eating out of your hand! These creatures are very gentle and will not harm or bite you so there's no need to be nervous. If you do make sudden movements they may get spooked and hop away.
The wildlife only scratches the surface of the beautiful natural features Magnetic Island has to offer, there are also 23 bays and beaches waiting to be explored! Some bays are easily accessible by foot just off the main streets, others take a bit more work where you venture through bush tracks and mountain trails and then there's some only accessible by boat! One thing's for sure, you can't step foot on all of them in one day, so if you're on the island for a short trip be sure to see at least a few. Each and every bay is beautiful and all of them are worthy of a look!
A couple of personal favourites are Horseshoe Bay and Arthur Bay. Horseshoe Bay is the place to be for all your water activities including jet skiing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and more! Horseshoe Bay also provides an ideal swimming location as it is sheltered from winds meaning the conditions are calm and it is also patrolled so you can swim in comfort. During stinger season (November - April), Horseshoe Bay provides a stinger net which allows people to swim safely. Horseshoe Bay is also home to a wide variety of eateries, retail shops, hire equipment and picnic areas.
Another favourite of mine, Arthur Bay, is more secluded making it the perfect location to lay out your towel, take in the scenery and listen to the waves kiss the shore! Getting here does take quite a bit of a walk though and I would recommend only physically able people to walk the track. At the base of The Forts walk is a small gravel car park, where you can park your vehicle and make your way down the hill but if your vehicle is suitable, you can drive down and park yourself on the gravel road at the bottom. From there you then make your way through a track in the bush and mangroves, timing is the key if you wish to visit Arthur Bay because during high tide the mangrove track fills with water making it almost impossible to go through. Once you step foot on the beach you instantly feel at peace and realise the walk was all worth it! Arthur Bay is an unpatrolled beach so swimming here will be at your own risk. If the conditions are calm it offers the perfect opportunity for some snorkelling, but in rough conditions the water becomes cloudy and the currents are strong, so if you're not a confident swimmer, best to stay out of the water and enjoy exploring around the sand and rock formations instead.
Not only are the coastlines a highlight for visitors but so are the breathtaking views that The Forts walk offers! If you have the time and love a good adventure, The Forts walk is a must for everyone! This walk leads to historic WWII fortifications and infrastructure with lookouts that offer views that have to be seen to be believed. With a distance of 4km return taking about 2 hours (longer if you stop a lot along the way), its truly a beautiful walk whether you're doing so for fitness, going for an afternoon stroll or simply taking photos to treasure forever, be sure to also keep an eye out for koalas along the way!
For some, this walk will be no easy task. It does take quite a good level of physical fitness as along the walk there are some uneven surfaces, rocky terrain and steep stairs however, the reward waiting for you at the top makes it all worth it with 360 degree views!
So how does one get to this slice of paradise you ask? Easy! You get on board with either Fantasea Cruising Magnetic or Sealink Queensland. Both companies operate to and from Magnetic Island most days and times of the week, these can change during public holidays and special events so it's always good to check out their websites for timetable information.
Fantasea not only takes on board passengers but also vehicles so if you have the convenience of your own, you can take that over to Magnetic Island and that saves you hiring a car or relying on public transport. As this is a vehicle vessel it does take a little bit longer than Sealink to reach the island.
There are also plenty of accommodation options on Magnetic Island including holiday homes, apartments and back packer retreats. I'll share with you in another post my go to place to stay!
Sealink Queensland: https://www.sealinkqld.com.au/