About Magnetic Island
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.
Just over half of the island (2,790ha) 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 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 turtle nesting areas and the mangrove communities are important fish nurseries. A significant dugong population is supported by Magnetic Island’s seagrass beds. Allied rock-wallabies are found on steep slopes while koalas can be found in most wooded 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’, have 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. James 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.
- Read more about the nature, culture and history of Magnetic Island National 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.
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! 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.
Magnetic Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and just over half of the island's 5,184 ha is protected as national park. The surrounding reefs and waters 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 visitors and the conservation of nature.
For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.
The natural, cultural and historical significance of Magnetic Island
- Forts Junction Hub upgrade construction 1 March to 30 June 2021
- Magnetic Island National Park walking track upgrades 9 February to 30 June 2021