Magnetic Island is a pure gem of paradise only 30 minutes away from tropical Townsville, a popular pit-stop for backpackers who are exploring Australia’s East Coast. Fondly known as Maggie Island, it is here that you will experience koalas and wallabies in their natural habitats, challenge yourself on wild walking trails and rent a “Topless” Barbie car. Two-thirds of the island is a national park and the coastline is untouched, turquoise beauty just waiting to be explored.
Getting There and Accommodation
When you get to Townsville, take the 30-minute Sealink ferry to Magnetic Island ($33 dollars return pps) and catch the shuttle bus to your hostel or accommodation. While you’re on the ferry keep a close eye for dolphins and whales!
What is there to do on Magnetic Island?
I embarked on an exciting walk from Base Hostel to The Forts and although it was challenging, the stunning views made it worth it. The walk altogether took approx. 3 hours and brought me to Nelly’s Bay, past Arcadia Hotel and eventually to the famous WW2 Fort which is nestled high in the mountains. Bring lots of water and fly spray as the first half of the walk is a steep mountainous climb and couple that with the blazing sun and copious amounts of horseflies trying to eat you, you’ll need to be prepared! Once you make it to the Fort, it takes only 20 minutes to reach the WW2 military ruins and you’ll spot plenty of koalas on your way up the trail!
If you are staying in Base Hotel, it is compulsory you give yourself a day to relax in the peaceful campus and soak in the tropical, verdant surroundings. Lying on a hammock by the pool listening to the sea gently flow metres from you gives off the impression you’re in a paradise island in Thailand. No wonder the island is also known as the ‘Koh Pha Ngan’ of Australia!
Full Moon Parties and Topless Cars
Living up to its Thai nickname, Magnetic Island is home to the only Full Moon Party in Australia. Head to Base Hotel for New Year’s Eve and experience the thrilling “IslandLife” weekend long festivities and celebrations that will surprise, delight and entertain you until the New Year is well under way. Tickets for the Full Moon Down Under party can be bought here. When you’re not partying it up on this magnificent island, another big attraction is the “Topless Barbie Cars”. This entails renting out a convertible Barbie car that fits 4 people and can be driven all around the island. It’s a great way to explore with a few friends and get some hilarious selfies in the coolest car you will probably ever drive!