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Magnificent Magnetic Island.
Magnificent Magnetic Island.
Horse-riding at Horseshoe Bay.
Driving along Magnetic Island.

Magnetic Island

Thursday, August 9, 2001
New presenter Brendon Julian takes us to low-key, low-rise, no glitz, no glamour, majestic Magnetic.

Magnetic Island is one of Queensland's oldest resort islands. It was given its name because of the spinning effect it had on Captain Cook's compass. Locals affectionately call their island Maggie, and they are very proud of its low-key, low-rise, no glitz, no glamour atmosphere. It is very popular with families, backpackers and honeymooners.

It first became a holiday destination in about 1887, and the 25 grand beaches and coastline, which are studded with hoop pines and granite boulders, began to attract mainlanders who stayed in humble thatched huts.

2500 people live on Magnetic Island, some commuting the eight kilometres each day to work in Townsville. There are four main communities — Acadia, Nelly Bay, Picnic Bay and Horseshoe Bay. Most activities centre around Horseshoe Bay as it faces north so gets most sun.

Magnetic Island has Australia's most northerly koala colonies, and they can often be seen bushwalking, with rock wallabies and possums. Two-thirds of the island is classified National Park and there are more than 100 species of birds including bluewing kookaburras, black cockatoos, curlews, plovers and sea eagles.

Divers love Magnetic for its colourful fish and the coral reefs that fringe the island. Several shipwrecks just metres off shore provide some rather interesting diving.

It is a dream for bushwalkers as well, with 25km of walking tracks through natural environments, and providing some rather spectacular views. The Forts Walk is about two kilometres long and takes you back to World War II, when two gun emplacements, an observation tower and command post were built. From there, you have fantastic views of the island and the Coral Sea.

Sailing and cruising are very relaxing ways to explore the island and beaches. You can swim and snorkel in uninhabited bays and beaches, feed the friendly fish and be amazed by the granite boulders which hang over the shoreline. For something to get the adrenalin going, you can jet-ski right around the island, or you may prefer gentle sea kayaking. Maybe you would like to ride a horse through the bush and along the beach. They love a swim at the end of a ride.

You can charter a boat for fishing trips, take a day-trip to the reef or go bare-boating. You can play golf, lawn bowls or tennis, watch a movie under the stars and, several times in the year, the island has festivals with various themes.

There is accommodation to suit most tastes and budgets, ranging from 4½-star resorts, self-contained apartments, holiday houses and units, backpacker hostels and camping grounds.

If you want to take your car, you can use the Magnetic Island Car Ferry or, for some fun island driving, why not rent a moke or a stretch Jeep Wrangler? There are also motor scooters, bicycles, buses and taxis, so you have a great choice as to how you get around during your stay.

There are some very good restaurants to choose from, and what better than a pre-dinner drink while watching one of the beautiful sunsets. If you enjoy mangoes, this is the place to get your fill — ice-cream, jam, cheesecake, smoothies — you name it and you can buy it mango-flavoured.


Off the north Queensland coast at Townsville.


Bluey's Horseshoe Range have two-hour bush and beach rides costing $55 per person.
Moke Magnetic have rentals at $47 a day.
Shaws on the Shore have two-bedroom apartments at $150 per night.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Magnetic Travel
Ph: 1800 626 891
Fax: (07) 4778 5348
Shaws on the Shore
Ph: (07) 4758 1900
Fax: (07) 4758 1911

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