Magnetic Island is a good location when staying on the Great Barrier Reef

When Captain Cook sailed past Magnetic Island in 1770, he noted that his compass seemed to malfunction and attributed it to the unnamed island, believing it to contain a mysterious magnetic force. Although his theory has since been proved wrong, the name “Magnetic Island” has stuck ever since.

Maybe a better name for Magnetic Island would be Magic Island. Neither a compass nor any other instrument can measure the “force” of this magic, but you definitely feel it when you’re in the vicinity of the island. What is the magic?

Yes, the fact that Magnetic Island is on the Great Barrier Reef is part of its attraction, but that’s not the whole story. When you see its verdant, hilly slopes just off the shores of Townsville, it looks like you could almost walk or easily swim to it, it is so close. Those with adventurous spirits look at its verdant hills and hidden coves and want to discover them for themselves. Since half of the island is a National Park, the potential for exploration is enormous.

Magnetic Island is a good location when staying on the Great Barrier Reef

If you like roughing it, you can explore much of the island on foot, on a mountain bike or even in a sea kayak. If motorized transportation is more to your liking, then rent a dirt bike, a 4WD vehicle or even a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. On the water, you have your choice between exploring beneath the surface with snorkel or scuba gear or enjoying the water by sea kayak, jet ski or even aboard a luxury yacht.

Many people get the mistaken impression that Magnetic Island is one of those Great Barrier Reef islands that only millionaires can afford to visit. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, one of the attractions of the island is the numerous budget accommodations and backpackers lodges that are available. As for dining, you can find whatever you want, no matter what your budget is, in any of the island’s four main residential districts.

If it’s luxury you’re after, you can find that, too, on Magnetic Island. In fact, recent years have seen an upsurge in more luxurious accommodations and amenities on the island. You can treat yourself to a massage at a day spa, wine and dine at a fine restaurant or sip champagne on the seashore as the sun sets.

Magnetic Island’s major attraction may be its authentic village atmosphere. When you visit this island, you don’t feel like you are visiting a Great Barrier Reef island that has been developed solely for tourists. The locals are a special breed. While they love to share their island, they are down-to-earth Australians you can sit down and “have a yarn” with.

Don’t worry about what time of year it is when you visit Magnetic Island. It is warm and sunny throughout the year. A word of caution, though: because Magnetic Island is so popular, you should probably book your Magnetic Island accommodation in advance of your visit. Once you’ve set foot on its shores, you’ll discover for yourself the real reason they call it “Magnetic Island.”

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