Travel in Australia and New Zealand

Find a Small Piece of Paradise on Magnetic Island Near the Great Barrier Reef
By:Sidney Morgan

Magnetic Island's name goes back to 1770, when Captain Cook's compass strangely malfunctioned as he approached the island, making him believe it exerted a magnetic force. It was an interesting theory, but Cook was wrong. The only magnetic force this island has is the one that attracts visitors to it.

Magnetic Island does seem to exert a mysterious force, not unlike a magnet. From a distance or on the island itself, it seems to hold you under its spell. It's a force that science can't explain, but you will believe in it when you visit the island yourself.

Of course, its location on the Great Barrier Reef has something to do with it, but there are many wonderful islands on the Reef. What sets this one apart from the rest? One of its attractions is its location. Clearly visible from Townsville, it would be difficult not to be drawn to this mysterious looking, tree covered, and mountainous island. Looking at it from a distance, the adventurous traveler would naturally want to explore some of its over 200 natural coves or set out into its interior. Since over half of the island is a protected National Park, there is plenty of scope for exploration.

However you wish to explore Magnetic Island, it can be done. On land, you can do it the old fashioned way and go on fantastic bushwalks or you can rent a dirt bike, take a 4WD tour or even rent a Harley Davidson. In the water, take your choice between scuba diving, snorkeling, taking a guided sea kayak tour or, if speed is your thing, jet ski or water ski. For the ultimate in luxury, you can even rent a yacht.

Many people get the mistaken impression that Magnetic Island is one of those Great Barrier Reef islands that only millionaires can afford to visit. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, one of the attractions of the island is the numerous budget accommodations and backpackers lodges that are available. As for dining, you can find whatever you want, no matter what your budget is, in any of the island's four main residential districts.

If it's luxury you're after, you can find that, too, on Magnetic Island. In fact, recent years have seen an upsurge in more luxurious accommodations and amenities on the island. You can treat yourself to a massage at a day spa, wine and dine at a fine restaurant or sip champagne on the seashore as the sun sets.

Magnetic Island's major attraction may be its authentic village atmosphere. When you visit this island, you don't feel like you are visiting a Great Barrier Reef island that has been developed solely for tourists. The locals are a special breed. While they love to share their island, they are down-to-earth Australians you can sit down and "have a yarn" with.

Don't worry about what time of year it is when you visit Magnetic Island. It is warm and sunny throughout the year. It is a very popular island, though, so it's a good idea to book your Magnetic Island accommodation ahead of time, just to be on the safe side. Once you've set foot on its shores, you'll discover for yourself the real reason they call it "Magnetic Island."

Get away with the family for a few days, find accommodation in Magnetic Island, activities and other travel related information about the area. Or visit our Australia blog http://ozblog.net.au/ for more Australian holiday ideas.






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