Originally named ‘Yunbenum’ by the Wulgurukaba, Aboriginal people who inhabited the island for thousands of years Captain Cook named the island ‘Magnetic Island’ after he discovered it in 1770. Legend says he named it this because the island appeared to affect his compass as he passed by. The island boasts a wealth of rugged, secluded beaches including those of Horseshoe Bay, Arcadia Bay, Nelly Bay and Picnic Bay. Koalas can be observed in their natural environment here too munching their way through the rich eucalypt woodlands of the dry tropics climate.
There are plenty of activities to entertain including the legendary ‘Full Moon Party’ once a month and live music in the evenings or for those that like to chill and relax – 23 beautiful beaches. If you’re quiet, lucky and on the island between December and February sea turtles can be observed nesting on the beach. I stayed in one of the amazing BASE beach huts which are cosy and comfortable and most importantly – right next to the beach on Nelly Bay!
There are opportunities to snorkel and if you can dive, visit the SS Yongala Shipwreck or you can even hike to Mount Cook, which is the highest point on the Island. However, the highlight of my time on Magnetic Island were the midnight visitors! As I was quietly sitting outside on the deck of the beach hut, I saw some pesky possums scavenging for food!
Although, I guess they are seen as a nuisance they sure are cute and it was fascinating to witness another one of Australia’s amazing animals in their native environment.
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