Magnetic Island National Park Townsville

Photo credit: © Queensland Government

About Magnetic Island

    Park features

    Magnetic Island National Park features spectacular natural landscapes and seascapes including boulder-strewn headlands, hoop pines, sandy beaches and fringing coral reefs. A continental island composed mostly of granite, Magnetic Island was once part of the mainland before the sea level rose about 7,500 years ago.

    Most of the island’s 5,184ha land area is protected—78% is national or conservation park. The island is mostly covered with open eucalypt woodland of bloodwoods, stringybarks and grey ironbarks. Hoop pines and native kapoks are found on the headlands, and vine-thicket grows in sheltered gullies. The island is surrounded by sandy beaches, fringing reefs, mangrove communities and seagrass beds.

    Sandy beaches provide sea turtle nesting areas and the mangrove communities are important fish nurseries. Significant Green sea turtle and dugong populations are supported by the seagrass beds surrounding Magnetic Island. Allied rock-wallabies are found on living amongst the granite boulders while koalas can be found in most wooded areas. A variety of coastal birds, waterbirds and woodland birds can also be seen here. The bush stone-curlew is still common and conspicuous on Magnetic Island.

    The island’s traditional name is Yunbenun. The Wulgurukaba people, the ‘canoe people’, have enduring and ongoing connections to the island and nearby mainland for thousands of years. Shell middens, stone tools and art sites on the island are physical reminders of their strong connection with Yunbenun. The island was named Magnetic Island by Lt. James Cook when he believed the island's landmass was affecting his compass during his 1770 voyage. 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.

    Looking after the park

    • Camping is not permitted in the national park.
    • Leave your pets at home.
    • Take your rubbish with you when you leave.
    • Keep to the walking tracks.
    • Do not damage plants.
    • Do not fossick in, take from or cause damage to cultural sites.
    • Feeding wildlife is not allowed—it can affect their health and alter the natural population balance.
    • Everything in the park, living or dead, is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.

    Be pest-free!

    Our precious Great Barrier Reef World Heritage islands are among the most pest-free islands in the world. They need your help to stay this way. Please Be pest-free! (PDF, 573.6KB) before your visit.

    Before you visit, please check that your boat, clothing, footwear and gear are free of soil, seeds, parts of plants, eggs, ants and insects (and their eggs), spiders, lizards, toads, rats and mice.

    Be sure to:

    • Unpack and clean out your luggage or backpack and hand, beach or camera bags and check them carefully before your visit, as pests love to hide in stored gear.
    • Clean soil from footwear and gear as invisible killers such as viruses, bacteria and fungi are carried in soil.
    • Check for seeds in pockets, cuffs and hook and loop fastening strips, such as Velcro.

    While you are on the islands, remove soil, weeds, seeds and pests from your boat, gear and clothes before moving to a new site. Wrap seeds and plant material, and place them in your rubbish.

    Everyone in Queensland has a General Biosecurity Obligation to minimise the biosecurity risk posed by their activities. This includes the risk of introducing and spreading weeds and pests to island national parks.

    See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

    Park management

    Wulgurukaba people working together on Country with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

    Wulgurukaba people working together on Country with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

    Photo credit: © Queensland Government

    Magnetic Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and 78% of the island's 5,184 ha is protected as national and conservation parks. The Magnetic Island National Park Management Statement 2013 (PDF, 205.5KB) guides the management of the park. The Traditional Custodians, the Wulgurukaba people, work closely with QPWS to manage and make decisions about their ancestral country known as Yunbenun.

    The surrounding reefs and oceans fall within the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The seascape, flora and fauna of the island, and marine life in the surrounding waters, are protected for the enjoyment of the island community, visitors and the conservation of nature.

    Tourism information links

    Townsville Bulletin Square Visitor Information Centre
    Flinders Street, Townsville City Qld 4810
    ph (07) 4721 3660 or 1800 801 902

    For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.