Forget the wet windy Whitsundays! If you are looking for tropical island paradise, you’ll find it and plenty more at Magnetic Island. There’s something for everyone on Maggie.
For the sailors, there’s a very calm anchorage in Horseshoe Bay which offers good holding and great protection from the SE trade winds. There’s no sign of any magnetic disturbance in our instruments (unlike Capt Cook, who named it Magnetic Island because his ship’s magnetic compass “would not travis well when near it”), and there’s easy dinghy access onto the beach. There were about 30 boats in the anchorage, but there was enough space for all of us. It was so good, we ended up staying put for six nights. (Shout outs to the new yachty friends we met in Horseshoe Bay: Richard and Dawn from Por Dos and Sean and Kathy from Wizard!)
For the bushwalkers, there’s lots of trails all over the island. The long sandy beach at Horseshoe Bay was great for an early morning walk (but watch out for GIANT bindis), and we did the trails to Radical Bay and Balding Bay. Because we are also history buffs, we enjoyed the walk up to the old World War II fort and camp (which was really well presented) and did part of the island Shipwreck Trail.
For the nature-lovers, the island is teeming with wildlife. We saw wild koalas (there’s about 800 on the island), deadly snakes, and rock wallabies, and I’ve already admitted to being a nerdy bird-watcher.
For the snorkelers and divers, there are a couple of snorkel trails right off the shore. I did the one in Geoffrey Bay which included the wreck of the Moltke and an experimental giant clam garden. I also squeezed in a dive trip on the SS Yongala (one of the top ten dive sites in the world) via Adrenalin Dive (who do pick ups on Magnetic Island, which was really handy).
For the foodies and beer-drinkers, there’s waterfront pubs and plenty of restaurants to choose from. The Marlin Bar in Horseshoe Bay does $10 jugs of Great Northern Beer during happy hour (4-6pm) each night. And you can find everything else you need somewhere on the island: post office, small supermarkets, etc.
It’s even got the naturalistes covered:
When I was posted to Townsville in 2005, I didn’t bother to visit Magnetic Island (or maybe I was just out bush all the time), but I was missing out. It’s been a great six days.
Next stop: Orpheus Island.