Magnetic Island Travel Guide

Magnetic Island is a beautiful holiday area that is situated in Cleveland Bay. The island is located eight kilometres off the coast of Queensland, so it is a wonderful place to escape from the distractions of modern living. The mainland settlement closest to Magnetic Island is Townsville, a peaceful town on the eastern coast of Queensland. Magnetic Island is populated by approximately 2,200 people, but most of the area is remote.


Prior to its discovery by Europeans, Magnetic Island was occupied by the Wulgurukaba Aboriginal people. These indigenous people relied on the resources of the large island for survival, but they were displaced after the arrival of Europeans. When you explore the island, you may find rock art and burial sites.

Magnetic Island earned its name after Captain James Cook noticed that his compass was behaving strangely when he sailed near the island. While Cook attributed this strange behaviour to a magnetic field, modern experts have not found any anomalies near Magnetic Island.

Things to do and see on Magnetic Island

Before you embark on your adventure on Magnetic Island, prepare yourself with sturdy bushwalking shoes and provisions. The north-western portion of Magnetic Island is rugged, and the inland areas are hilly. Regardless of where you go on the island, you will be challenged with technical trails. The most isolated areas of the island are sheltered by Magnetic Island National Park.

Townsville – Magnetic Island, Queensland

View towards Magnetic Island over a residential part of the city of Townsville in Queensland.

When you are in the park, climb to the summit of Mount Cook. The peak of this mountain is located about 500 metres above sea level, so be ready for an exhilarating journey. Test your bush skills on a rocky mountain path before you are rewarded with incredible oceanic views. From the summit of Mount Cook, you will see the Coral Sea, Cleveland Bay, and the rocky landscape of Magnetic Island.

If you still have an appetite for the great outdoors, walk along one of the island’s pristine trails. Magnetic Island has over 24 kilometres of walking tracks that will guide you to hidden coves, green hills, and dark forests. You may also earn the opportunity to explore ancient seaside caves. The eucalyptus woodlands are often occupied by diverse birds, so keep an eye out for tropical species. Before you leave Magnetic Island National Park, visit the remote coastline to be awed by a massive pile of gargantuan boulders. These giant stones have remained in the same location for millions of years.

Visit one of the island’s beaches for a relaxing day of aquatic fun. Feel the warm sand massage your skin as the ocean breeze cools your senses. After a refreshing nap, bathe in the blue water of the Coral Sea. The waters near Magnetic Island are pure, so enjoy a rejuvenating experience. You may also enjoy a variety of exciting aquatic activities, including surfing, sailing, and kayaking. Many of the island’s best views are not accessible on foot, so use a boat to access remote coves and inlets. You may encounter awe-inspiring rock formations.