Back to Queensland
Magnetic Island, just offshore from the city of Townsville, Queensland, Australia in Cleveland Bay is a 52 sq km mountainous island which has effectively become a suburb of Townsville having well over 2000 permanent residents. It is accessible from Townsville by ferry. Ferries arrive at Nelly Bay. There is a large 27 sq km national park and bird sanctuary and excellent walking tracks can be taken between the populated bays and to fascinating tourist destinations such as the World War II Forts.
The island has long become established as a holiday destination with many hotels and several resorts in operation to cater for all levels of service.
The Island is a haven for wildlife and is 54% National Park which is mostly located on the steep hilly interior and rugged north western side.
Places to run
With some 22km of walking tracks and many hilltop lookouts there are excellent opportunities to explore and discover the eucalypt forest, rainforest gullies, mangroves, rugged hills and shorelines of Magnetic Island. All distances and approximate times are one way unless otherwise stated.
Nelly Bay to Arcadia 6km
Starting from the end of Mandalay Avenue in Nelly Bay, the track leads through a refreshing pocket of rainforest. From there a gradual climb follows the gully alongside Gustav Creek to saddle between Nelly and Horseshoe Bays. The walk from Nelly Bay to the saddle and back can be most interesting 45 minutes. For those interested in a longer walk, the track continues along a ridge through open euclypt forest with views over Horseshoe Bay. The track then branches, one route leading to Horseshoe Bay Road where you can continue on to another track detailed later. The other passes through an area frequented by numerous bush birds and then to Arcadia. A short side-branch on top of the hill above Arcadia leads to Sphinx Lookout.
Picnic Bay to West Point 8km
Commencing behind Picnic Bay near the golf course, this track (in reality a bush road) reveals a distinctively different aspect of Magnetic Island. At low tide the walk offers the chance of discovering many of the animals which habitat these tidal wetlands. Animals such as wading birds, mud skippers, mangrove snails and fiddler crabs can be seen, particularly in the Cockle Bay area.
Horseshoe Bay Road to Arthur Bay 2km and Florence Bay 4km
At the crest of Horseshoe Bay Road is a private ungazetted road which provided easy walking access. These undeveloped bays with their pleasant beaches, opportunities for swimming coral reefs are ideal for those willing to walk a little. Between the bays, the road takes you through low eucalypt forest.
Horseshoe Bay Road to The Forts (2km)
Diverging from the start of the Arthur Bay track is a track which takes you along a ridge behind the bays. At the summit is a complex of gun emplacements, abservation and command posts built during World War ll. These posts offer superb views of the bays below and north to the Palm Islands. To the south is Cape Cleveland and Bowling Green Bay National Park.
Horseshoe Bay Lagoon 730m
A few hundred metres from Horseshoe Bay beach, just off the main road, is a short track which leads to Horseshoe Bay Lagoon Environmental Park. If you approach quietly, you may see some of the many waterbirds which frequent this freshwater lagoon.
Horseshoe Bay to Balding Bay 3km and Radical Bay 3km
At the eastern end of Horseshoe Bay beach is a track which climbs through a steep gully of closed forest to the open eucalypt vegetation of the ridges. At the crest, the track branches, one winding down to secluded Balding Bay, the other continues to Radical Bay.
For further information contact. The Ranger, Hurst Street (end of Granite Street) Picnic Bay Magnetic Island, Qld Telephone (07) 47785-5378