Getty Images/iStockphoto

Magnetic Island

Sitting almost within swimming distance offshore from Townsville, Magnetic Island (Maggie to her friends) 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 and surrounding bright turquoise seas.

Over half of this mountainous, triangular-shaped island’s 52 sq km is national park, with cycling, scenic walks and abundant wildlife, including a large (and adorable) allied rock wallaby population. Inviting beaches and waters close to shore offer water sports, or simply the chance to bask in the sunshine. The granite boulders, hoop pines and eucalyptus are a fresh change from the clichéd tropical-island paradise.

Prior to white settlement, Magnetic Island was known as Yunbenun and was home to the island's traditional owners, the Wulgarukaba people.

Explore Magnetic Island

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Magnetic Island.


Learn more about Magnetic Island

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.