Sitting within shouting distance of Townsville, Magnetic Island is a verdant island and one of Queensland's most laid-back residential addresses. The local population, who mostly commute to Townsville or cater for the tourist trade, must pinch themselves as they come home to the stunning coastal walking trails, gum trees full of dozing koalas (you're likely to spot some), and surrounding bright turquoise seas.
Over half of this mountainous, triangular-shaped island’s 52 sq km is national park, with scenic walks and abundant wildlife, including a large (and adorable) rock wallaby population. Inviting beaches offer adrenalin-pumping water sports, and the chance to just bask in the sunshine. The granite boulders, hoop pines and eucalyptus are a fresh change from the clichéd tropical-island paradise.