DISCOVER Magnetic Island in your own time
There is so much more to explore!
Discover the Island in your own time, with everything from art and entertainment, to sports and recreation. The Island lifestyle is relaxed and friendly. You can choose to do as little or as much as you like. Relax, you’re on “Island time”.
Magnetic Island offers annual sporting, cultural, fundraising and fun events throughout the year including ANZAC Day, The Great Island Trek, Mother's Day Classic, Magnetic Island Race Week, The Beer Can Regatta, NQ Ocean Paddle Series, Oktoberfest, Melbourne Cup celebrations, Carols By Candellight, and of course New Year's Eve!
Many of the Island’s restaurants and bars feature live music or laid-back afternoon sessions. Comedy cabaret, fire shows, fundraisers, poetry readings and one-off community events all add to the abundant entertainment on Magnetic Island.
ISLAND ART & CULTURE
The Island has an unusually large number of talented people working in a variety of artistic fields. Galleries on the Island display paintings, pottery, sculpture, printed silk and jewellery all influenced by the vibrant tropical colours.
There are over 20 known shipwrecks around the Island, which have been integrated into a shipwreck trail which circles the island at the Maritime Museum (TSV). The trail guides visitors on a historical tour of the Island's rich maritime landscape utilizing land based display boards in each of the bays.
DIVING & SNORKEL TRAILS
Some of the best places to dive on the Island are found in Geoffrey Bay, Alma Bay, Arthur Bay , Florence Bay, Bright Point and on the reef in Nelly Bay.
Apart from viewing the coral of the fringing reefs around the Island, there are many shipwrecks to explore as well. Our self-guided Snorkel Trails are easy to access.
HIKING & BUSH WALKING
From easy bush and beach hikes to breathtaking panoramas, there is a walk for everyone. We've listed the main hiking trails below for easy reference. Take good hiking footwear, extra water, sun smart clothing, sunscreen, sunnies, a hat and seek out shade between 10am and 2pm.
MAGNETIC ISLAND MARKETS
HORSESHOE BAY FORESHORE
9am to 2pm at the Horseshoe Bay beachfront every Sunday between Easter and late January. For more details visit ‘Magnetic Island Markets’ on Facebook.
The the covered skate park is great fun for kids and those that are kids at heart. It provides sun protection while generating solar power, and plenty of space for skaters and BMX riders to perfect their skills. Located on Horseshoe Bay Road.
Magnetic Island is definitely a unique tropical island destination surrounded by abundant wildlife and exotic flora. In addition to koala, echidnas, rock wallabies and other reptiles, the Island is home to over 186 types of birds including kookaburras, sulphur crested cockatoos, brahminy kites and the island's iconic bush-stone curlew.
Whether you throw a line in off the rocks, fish the rich waters off Magnetic Island, or take a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef, the local fishing is rewarding, providing fighting fish for sport and also excellent eating fish.
*PLEASE NOTE! Fishing is NOT allowed in Geoffrey, Alma, Florence, Gowrie, Radical and Balding Bays or the Five Beach Bay area. These are Marine National Park Green Zones and fines apply.
All of the hiking trails on Magnetic Island lead to spectacular panoramas, each with their individual character: The Sphinx, Hawkings Point, Picnic Bay, Arcadia, Rocky Bay, Horseshoe Bay, The Forts, Arthur Bay. See the hiking trails below for where you'll find them.
NATIONAL & MARINE PARKS
Just over half of the island (2,790ha) is protected as Magnetic Island National Park and many of the hiking trails pass through the National Park, offering a wide variety of flora and fauna to enjoy.
PICNIC BAY & ARCADIA
Choose from a game of golf on the greens with the granite bush backdrop at the Magnetic Island Country Club in Picnic Bay, or seaside Lawn Bowls in Arcadia. Either way, you'll have a relaxing time with fantastic views!
Magnetic Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The surrounding reefs and waters fall within the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The seascape, flora, fauna and marine life in the surrounding waters, are protected for the enjoyment of visitors and the conservation of nature.
Hiking and bush walks on Magnetic Island
1. HAWKINGS POINT
Easy - Moderate
Depart: PICNIC BAY
600m (30 minutes)
This is one of the easiest and shortest walks with an exceptional view. The track begins at the end of Picnic Street in Picnic Bay and winds its way up to the top of a huge granite boulder.
If you face towards Townsville and across Cleveland Bay, to your left is Cape Cleveland. On the horizon topped with an antennae is Mt Stuart, the highest peak in the area, and above The Strand (Townsville's foreshore) towers Castle Hill. Continuing along the coast to your right Pallarenda (the closest point on the mainland to Magnetic Island).
On other side of the lookout there is a great view of Rocky Bay just below, then along Nelly Bay beach to the harbour and on to Geoffrey Bay with Arcadia in the distance.
4. ARCADIA TO HORSESHOE BAY
Depart: EITHER ARCADIA OR HSB
3.5km (1.2 hours)
Beginning at the end of Endeavour Road in Arcadia, this track is also the start of the track to Nelly Bay. About 2 kilometres along the track there is a turnoff to the right that links with the start of the Forts walk at the main road.
If you continue along the track to the left (by not crossing over the road) the track again meets the road at the bottom of the descent into Horseshoe Bay.
7. SEARCHLIGHT TOWER TRACK FROM RADICAL BAY TRACK
Moderate - Difficult
Depart: RADICAL BAY TRACK
540m (15 minutes)
This track is located along the Radical Bay Track. The start of this track, marked by a National Parks sign, in between Arthur Bay and Florence Bay.
Remnants of the World War II searchlight tower still exist today overlooking Florence Bay.
10. HORSESHOE BAY LAGOON
Depart: HORSESHOE BAY RD or via HENRY LAWSON ST HSB
Horseshoe Bay Lagoon is a popular area for bird watching. The track begins on Horseshoe Bay Road, about 200 m from the beach, and leads to a lagoon where a number of waterbirds can be seen. Alternatively walk to the end of Henry Lawson Street on the beachside, and enter the boardwalk.
Magpie geese nest in the bulkuru sedges, and the melaceuca woodland is ideal habitat for a number of woodland species. Nov - May/June is the best time.
2. PICNIC BAY TO WEST POINT
Easy - Moderate
Depart: PICNIC BAY
8km (2.5 hours) one way
Following the road past the golf course, this walk is along the bush track that links the bays on the western side of the Island. This area is very different to the rest of the Island.
The track passes alongside tidal wetlands, mangroves and saltwater swamps, over four freshwater creeks (after rain), through savannah grasslands and paperbark trees.
You will need sturdy footwear, lots of drinking water, and a can of insect repellant, but your reward will be seeing the animals and the birds of the wetlands. At the end of the walk you will be on West Point beach the closest point to the mainland.
5. THE FORTS WALK
Depart: THE FORTS HUB (CAR PARK)
2.8km (1.5 hours return)
Starting at the Forts Hub, the track winds its way along the ridge with good views above Arthur and Florence Bays. Keep an eye out in the canopy for koalas.
On the way up, there are two World War II gun emplacements, one either side of the track. Some of the “rocks” are actually false, being the remains of the camouflaging over the emplacements. Only the tell-tale wire netting give them away.
At the top there are two buildings. One is the Observation Tower where there is an uninterrupted view up and down the coast.
You’ll experience a 360 degree panoramic view from the the Command Post, which is still in use for navigation lights.
Below is Horseshoe Bay Lagoon, and the large flat area which was once pineapple farms. Looking across Horseshoe Bay the large island is Palm Island, one of the many, including Orpheus Island, in the Palm Island Group.
8. GABUL WAY TO BRIGHT POINT
Depart: NELLY BAY OR GEOFFREY BAY
1km (20 minutes)
Built at a cost of AUD $4.7 million, this elevated walkway provides a safe and wonderfully scenic link between two of the Island’s busiest bays.
The Nelly Bay end of the walkway starts near the ferry terminal and follows the main road up over Bright Point headland and down into Arcadia. There are several lookouts to pause and enjoy the fabulous views over Geoffrey Bay.
11. ARCADIA NATURE TRAIL WALK
Variable. Stop and start as you wish.
Take an easy walk and settle into Island Time along the Arcadia Nature Walk. This walk will take you along the Geoffrey Bay foreshore, past rare vine thicket, into the National Park bush tracks and back along Alma Bay and to Bremner Point.
Visit arcadiacoastcare.com.au to download the Nature Trail Walk flyer with additional information on the local flora and fauna of this area. Some of our birds are ground nesters, so please walk on the designated paths.
3. NELLY BAY TO ARCADIA
Easy - Moderate
Depart: EITHER NELLY BAY or ARCADIA
6km (2 hours)
This track starts at the end of Mandalay Avenue and passes through a cool patch of rainforest alongside Gustav Creek before a steady climb to the saddle of the ridge, with Nelly Bay on one side and Horseshoe Bay on the other.
Many birds and wildlife can be seen, (as well as bush orchids at the right time year). To this point and back is a 45 minute walk.
For a longer walk continue along the ridge through open eucalypt forest to an excellent view of Horseshoe Bay. A little further on the track divides, (left to Horseshoe Bay Road and later, left again to the Sphinx lookout), or continue on to Arcadia.
When the track reaches the bitumen road, just a short distance up to the left is Alma Bay Lookout, the view is well worth that little extra effort. This is a great walk to take lunch and admire the view.
6. HORSESHOE BAY TO BALDING/RADICAL BAYS
Depart: HORSESHOE BAY
3km (45 minutes)
At the eastern end of the Horseshoe Bay foreshore the track climbs up and along a ridge. A turn left leads down to Balding Bay. By continuing along the ridge it is about the same distance to Radical Bay.
To finish the walk you can either:
For a shorter walk, retrace your steps back to Horseshoe Bay or,
Follow the road that leads from Radical Bay back to the main road and the Forts Hub via Florence Bay and Arthur Bay. This is a much longer route, and we HIGHLY recommend that you take plenty of drinking water.
9. HERITAGE TRACK TO BRIGHT POINT
Easy - Moderate
Depart: NELLY BAY or GEOFFREY BAY
500m (15 minutes)
This track parallels Gabul Way on other side of the main road, (further up the hill) and is part of the hundred year old original footpath that connected the two bays before there was a road, the only other option in those days was by boat.
The track starts some way up the hill at the Nelly Bay end and is marked by signs at either end, and has some great views over Geoffrey Bay. It finishes as Gabul Way meets the beach, near the first house.
12. ROCK WALLABIES & BREMNER POINT
750m. (20 minutes)
A popular and easy walk is from the Arcadia Village Hotel to Bremner Point where the allied rock wallabies are in abundance, especially late afternoon/early evening. The preference is NOT to feed the rock wallabies, but if you have "need to feed" please see our food recommendations for what is best (some foods can be very harmful).
Bremner Point is also a short cut to the start of the Geoffrey Bay Snorkel Trail.
You're entering the Butterfly Walk!
Depart: DENT STREET HORSESHOE BAY (near the corner of the Horseshoe Bay Road)
The secluded Magnetic Island Butterfly Forest is where millions of blue tiger butterflies migrate to rest and recover from their long journey. They venture south in summer to as far away as Victoria and return to the north in autumn.
You'll also find koalas, bird life, bats, wallabies, skinks and lizards on this magical walk.
It's very important for these butterflies to rest on their journey, so PLEASE BE VERY QUIET when you walk through, especially with children.