Maggie Island, as its known to the locals, is located 8 kilometres offshore from Townsville. The island is only accessible from Townsville Breakwater to Nelly Bay Harbour by ferry or to any part you like by private boat.
The Wulguru name for the island is Yunbenun and is the traditional land of the Wulgurukaba people. It had a transient population of Aboriginal people that had seasonal camps at a number of bays and travelled between the island and mainland using canoes.
The island is a haven for wildlife. 76% of the island is Magnetic Island National Park and you can walk or bus between the populated bays to many great tourist destinations. On the island you will find eucalypt forests, granite headlands, hoop pines, hidden waterfalls and secluded beaches laced with 25km of bush walks.
There are five settlements, namely Arcadia, Horseshoe Bay, Nelly Bay, Picnic Bay, and West Point. You can get your adrenaline surging with jet-skiing, wakeboarding, or kayaking at Horseshoe Bay.
Humpback whales can be spotted from August to October, while between November and January turtles have been spotted laying their precious eggs.
In 1890 a resort had been started in Picnic Bay. In 1898 Robert Hayles Sr build a resort on the island and started a regular ferry service to the island which ran until until 1988,
During World War II Magnetic Island became a significant anchorage and assembly point for large fleets and convoys operating in the south Pacific. The Magnetic Battery, (AKA The Forts) was built in the hinterland of Florence, Horseshoe and Arthur Bays and was an artillery battery and observation post. From Forts Walk, you can hike past the military base ruins with sweeping views across the island. There are over 800 koalas, which is Northern Australia’s largest wild koala population and you could also glimpse a few of them on the Forts walk.
The wreckage of SS City of Adelaide is located off the shore of Cockle Bay, the island.
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