Address: Magnetic Island QLD 4819
Phone: 13 74 68
About 8km north-east from Townsville, within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Rocky granite headlands and towering hoop pines stand sentinel over tranquil sandy bays on this rugged, mountainous island covered with open eucalypt woodlands and surrounded by coral reefs. 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.