Magnetic Island National Park
Getting there and getting around
Magnetic Island can be reached by passenger and car ferry services from Townsville. The 8km trip to the Nelly Bay Marina on the island takes about 30 minutes. The island can also be reached by private boat from Townsville.
Once on the island, there are local bus services, and bicycles, motor bikes and small cars can be hired to get around. The national park, which covers more than half of the island, can be accessed via a network of walking tracks from various parts of the island.
The park features spectacular natural landscapes and seascapes including boulder-strewn headlands, hoop pines, high quality sandy beaches and fringing coral reefs. A continental island composed mostly of granite, it was once part of the mainland before the sea level rose about 7500 years ago.
Just over half of this large continental island (2533ha) is protected as Magnetic Island National Park. The island is mostly covered with open eucalypt woodland of bloodwoods, stringybarks and grey ironbarks. Hoop pines and native kapok are found on the headlands, and rainforest is found in sheltered gullies. The island is surrounded by sandy beaches (including some turtle nesting areas), fringing reefs, mangrove communities that are important as fish nursery areas and seagrass beds which support a significant dugong population. On the island, the allied rock-wallaby is found on steep slopes while koalas can be found in most areas. A variety of seabirds, waterbirds and forest birds can also be seen here. The bush stone-curlew is still common on Magnetic Island.
The Wulgurukaba people, the "canoe people", lived on the island and nearby mainland for thousands of years. Shell middens, stone tools and art sites are physical reminders of their strong connection with the island. The island was named by Lt. Cook during his 1770 voyage when he believed the island's landmass was affecting his compass. The island's interesting past has included hoop pine logging, a quarantine station for the port of Townsville, early tourism in the 19th century, pineapple farming and coastal defences during World War II. Magnetic Island's WWII forts are listed on the Queensland Heritage Register and are among the best examples of such fortifications on Queensland's east coast.
Things to do
>>Guided tours and talks
>>Picnic and day use areas
>>Swimming and snorkelling
>>Walk safely, carry drinking water, rest often and avoid the heat of the midday sun.
>>Stay on the walking tracks and take care on loose or uneven surfaces and around boulders, steep slopes, and rock faces.
>>Avoid disturbing snakes.
>>Wear sunscreen, a hat and sturdy footwear.
Magnetic Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Just over half of the island's 5184ha is protected as national park. The surrounding reefs and waters fall within the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The seascape, flora and fauna of the island, and marine life in the surrounding waters, are protected for the enjoyment of visitors and the conservation of nature.
Between November and May, if you choose to swim, stay in stinger enclosures and wear protective clothing.
EPA Customer Service Centre
160 Ann Street, Brisbane
PO Box 15155 CITY EAST QLD 4002
ph (07) 3227 8185
fax (07) 3227 8749
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service