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About Magnetic Island

A couple on rocks look out at the view in front of them as the sun rises

Magnetic Island's relaxed tropical lifestyle, quiet, secluded beaches, rugged nature, abundant wildlife, and easy access to the Great Barrier Reef make it a wonderful place to relax and unwind. Magnetic Island is just a short ferry ride from Townsville, making it the perfect holiday destination. Whether it's a short public holiday break, a weekend adventure, or something longer, you'll be spoilt for choice.

Magnetic Island is only 8km from the coast of Townsville. Our blue fast ferries take only 20 minutes to get there.

The island is a haven for local wildlife. The Magnetic Island National Park encompasses 76% of the island's total land area of 52 square kilometers. Most of the National Park is in the steep, hilly interior and on the rough north-western side. Mount Cook, at 497 meters above sea level, is the highest point on the island.

Bring light, airy clothing. Summers are hot, winters are mild, and the island receives over 300 sunny days annually.Wearing loose, breathable garments is always a safe bet. But you should always protect yourself from the strong UV rays by donning a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, as well as a long-sleeved shirt, no matter the time of year. In general, the average annual temperature on Magnetic Island is 28 degrees, making it a tropical destination.

  • Seasonal highs of 25°C to 30°C (December to February),
  • Autumn temperatures range from about 18°C to 30°C (March to May)
  • The average winter temperature ranges from 14°C to 25°C (June to August)
  • Springtime temperatures range from 18°C to 30°C (September to November).
  • Magnetic Island was known as Yunbenun long before it was given its current name. The Wulgarukaba people, who lived on the island for thousands of years before European settlement, gave it that name. Cockle Bay, near the island's southern tip, was one of their favourite camping spots. The bay provided easy access to the reef, the mangrove system sheltered mudcrabs and oysters, and there was plenty of hunting in the bush behind the bay.

    When Captain Cook arrived to the Island in 1770, he believed it had a magnetic force causing interference with his compass, hence the name Magnetic Island. Subsequent tests disproved his theory, but the name remains.

    The population of Magnetic Island is currently an estimated 2,100, distributed across the island's four villages. Horseshoe Bay, Arcadia, Picnic Bay, and Nelly Bay. There are more than 20 restaurants & pubs on the island, including a Theater Restaurant; visitors can also choose from several accommodation options, the Magnetic Island Brewery, and a number of exciting tour experiences. There are a number of amenities available on the island, including a 9-hole golf course, grocery stores, a police station, a fire station, and a medical centre.

    Fun fact - A continental island composed mostly of granite; it was once part of the mainland before the sea level rose about 7500 years ago.

    • Just 8km from Townsville in Tropical North Queensland
    • Boasts 23 beautiful bays and beaches
    • The Island is two thirds protected National Park and is situated in the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
    • The highest point on the Island is Mount Cook at 497m (1,631 ft.) above sea level
    • The only fully self-contained Island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
    • Magnetic Island has a resident population of over 2,100
    • Home to Northern Australia’s largest colony of Koalas living in the wild.

    To discover more and learn about what to do on this magnificent island, download our Magnetic Island brochure.