As some of you may know I tried to complete my SSI Openwater diver course back when I was in Byron Bay but due to bad conditions out at sea I was unable to finish the course. Luckily I was given a referral to complete the last dives elsewhere and what better place than magnetic island?
Magnetic Island is located just off the coast of Townsville, Queensland and is easily acessed by the sealink ferry taking about 25 minutes. A popular spot for backpackers (the greyhound drops you right at the ferry terminal) and day trippers alike.
Where to stay?
There are two popular hostels on magnetic to chose from the YHA and Base. The YHA is part of koala village in horseshoe bay so if you want to get some koala cuddling in whilst you’re on the island I’ve heard it’s a good place to stay. I however stayed at base in Nelly bay, this hostel has a holiday resort feel with a pool, a cocktail bar and it’s backs right onto the beach. The dorms are in little beach huts along the shoreline meaning amazing views just by opening your front door. Camping is also an option at base, the only thing I will say about this hostel is that the kitchen is tiny (probably to encourage you to eat at the bar) but if you plan your meal times right you shouldn’t have a problem.
As for the island itself there’s a lot to see and do, most people hire a car, yes the barbie cars are cute but if you hire an opentop 4×4 there’s so many more places you can get to. Alternatively you can use the bus to get around, for $7 you can get a day ticket and travel as much as you like or just pay as you go, it’s worth noting there’s only one bus an hour so you need to do some planning or be willing to wait around.
As I was doing my five course I only really has one full day to explore the island but we packed a lot in. We started the day with the forts walk, a easy walk through woodlands where you can spot wild koalas (they’re quite common here) and take in the amazing views. Along the walk there are several buildings and ruins of the old forts that used to stand on the island, make sure to climb the big hill to get to the best buildings where you can climb to the rooftops for 360degree views. Next we headed to horseshoe bay to check out the cute little shops and cafes, there’s also a nice beach here where you can swim or hire a stand up paddle board. For sunset we headed back to the hostel and walked from there to picnic bay where there’s a lookout point perfect to watch the sun go down and enjoy a cold beverage or two.
There’s so much more you can do on the island if you have time from snorkel trails to road racing, beach horserides or hiking to West Point. You shouldn’t miss magnetic island on your journey along the Easg Coast!