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Base Magnetic Island

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Magnetic Island was named because of a magnetic effect it had on the compass of Captain James Cook's ship as he sailed up the east coast of Australia in 1770.

It is the only island on the north Queensland coast with a blend of untouched National Park, a resident population of about 2500 and a variety of holiday resorts. It averages more than 320 days of sunshine a year, making it a very popular holiday destination. Hotels and resorts cater for all budgets.

Fifty-four percent of Magnetic Island is National Park, which is mostly on the steep hilly interior and rugged north-western side. It is an absolute haven for wildlife.

Base Backpackers, on a small beach at Nelly Bay, is aimed at the 18 to 35 demographic and, as with the other Base sites across Australia and New Zealand, style, security and cleanliness are paramount.

It has dormitory rooms, double rooms, bures for couples and a Sanctuary for girls who want a dorm setting with a bit of extra comfort. There are large personal lockers under each bed.

The bar and dining areas are large, architecturally-designed spaces with one missing wall. That brings the outside in, with palm trees, sparkling ocean views and a coral reef just 20 metres away, creating a spectacular atmosphere.

There is a great pool and deck, plus the Red Eye bar and Thai Tarse restaurant. There is also a guest kitchen and barbecue. Relax in the television room with other travellers as you decide what to do the next day. And there is a great choice on Magnetic Island.

Reefs Safari scuba diving is for beginners to advanced divers. They offer cheap open water and advanced courses, night dives and trips to the Yongala wreck, one of the world's best dive sites.

Hire a bicycle, scooter, motor bike or topless car to explore in your own style. There are 23 beaches and bays to enjoy.

There are jetski tours, guided sea kayaking and some wonderful bushwalking through the National Park. Snorkel the coral reef or take a tour out to the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the island with Bluey's horseriding or on a four-wheel drive tour. You're guaranteed to enjoy encounters with local wildlife.

Magnetic Island is also home to Full Moon Parties, so if you want to be part of the fun, check your calendar before making a booking!

There are regular passenger and car ferries from Townsville and the Base bus offers free pickup from Nelly Bay ferry terminal.

Location

New Zealand's south island.

Cost

Base Backpackers camping sites are $12 per person a night. Use of all facilities is included. Campotel for two is $25 per person a night. Mixed dormitories are $27 a person a night and sleep up to eight. The Sanctuary for Girls is $28 per person a night. Towel, Aveda shampoo and conditioner are included. These sleep up to six. Budget double rooms are $62 a night, Waterfront cabins with shared facilities are $95 a night for two and Waterfront cabins with ensuite are $110 a double a night.

Steal Deal 1 is $79 per person. This includes return ferry transfer, bus transfer, two nights' accommodation in mixed dormitory, an hour of Internet access, one hour of kayaking and hot breakfast.

Steal Deal 2 is $99 a night. It includes three nights in a mixed dormitory, transfers, hot breakfast, an hour of kayaking, two hours of Internet connection and a day's snorkel hire.

Dive School Deal is $299 for a four-day open water dive course and includes accommodation in Campotel and six dives.

Virgin Blue has flights to Townsville.

One-way fare from;
  • Brisbane, $129
  • Sydney, $149
  • Melbourne, $209
  • Adelaide, $280
  • Perth, $310
  • Darwin, $315

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are Internet-only and one-way. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at May 10, 2007, and are subject to change.

More information

Base Magnetic Island
1 Nelly Bay Road
Magnetic Island 4819
Ph: (07) 4778 5777
Fax: (07) 4778 5507
Website: www.basebackpackers.com

Virgin Blue
Ph: 13 6789
Website: www.virginblue.com.au

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