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My latest post is all about where to take the best photos on Magnetic Island. Your Instagram feed will never be the same again!
This blog post idea came to me as I ventured around Magnetic Island with my friend at the beginning of the year. We visited a lot of the island’s best viewpoints and attractions and took some pretty nice photos (if I don’t say so myself 😏). So here are my personal favourite photo locations around Magnetic Island.
Here are my other Magnetic Island posts: a little local’s guide and where to find koalas.
Where to take photos on Magnetic Island
1. Horseshoe Bay
Horseshoe Bay is where my parents live. It’s on the other side of the island to Nelly Bay, which is where the ferry terminal is located. The main waterfront street is lined with cafes, pubs and restaurants. On the beachfront, you’ll find grassed space, picnic tables, a children’s playground and barbecue facilities too. With rocky headlands on either side, it’s one of Magnetic Island’s most photogenic places. I recommend heading here to capture the sunset.
2. Picnic Bay Jetty
The Picnic Bay Jetty was the original ferry terminal. I remember docking there on school camps in 2000 and 2001. Today, it’s simply a scenic photo spot and a good place to go fishing. Ahead of you is the Townsville skyline, while you have the rugged national park landscape behind you. I’ve also seen people take photos underneath the jetty, California-style.
3. Hawkings Point
This is one of the only places still on my bucket list. However, my sources tell me it’s one of the best places to visit on Magnetic Island for sunrise and sunset photos (see proof below). The track to reach Hawkings Point starts at the eastern end of Picnic Street in Picnic Bay. It’s a short but steep track to the top of a boulder, which offers views over several bays and across to Townsville too.
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A lot can be said for island time 🌴, a lot more should be said about finding it 20 minutes from @townsvillenorthqueensland CBD! @thisismagneticisland (or Maggie as the locals call it) is certainly where the polar opposites of ‘relaxation’ and ‘exercise’ attract! 👣 If you’re up for it, eat all night and walk it off all day – with over 70% of the island made up of National Park @qldparks. Our tip? Take one of the many walking tracks like Hawkings Point ☝️ and soak up #goldenhour over the #GreatBarrierReef. ✨ #thisisqueensland by @photobohemian #townsvilleshines
4. Florence Bay
Florence Bay isn’t easy to get to. It’s located along the beaten-up Radical Bay Road that begins at the Forts Walk car park. Because it’s seen better days, the road is only accessible via 4WD and local car rental companies usually prohibit access. However, you can also walk down to Florence Bay. According to this website, it’s about a one-hour return trip. The extra effort is worth it though, as Florence Bay is always quiet, with gentle waves, rocky headlands and shady trees. It’s also one of the best places to go snorkelling on Magnetic Island.
5. Olympus Crescent lookout
Okay, shoutout to my mum for this hidden gem, as it’s now one of my favourite places to take photos on Magnetic Island. To reach this lookout, you have to head to the end of Olympus Crescent in Arcadia and walk towards the boulders. From there, you will be greeted with stunning views overlooking Alma Bay. As always, people do live at the end of this cul-de-sac so please be courteous.
6. Geoffrey Bay
Geoffrey Bay is one of the most popular places to take photos on Magnetic Island. People who hire the topless Barbie cars tend to head here for a photoshoot. As you can see below, it does make for a good photo backdrop. Geoffrey Bay is also where you can feed rock wallabies. Located at the far end or Armand Way (here it is on Google Maps), the rock wallabies live amongst the boulders. You can purchase feed from the local service station. This is also where you’ll find another one of Magnetic Island’s most popular photo spots – the balancing boulder.
7. Arthur Bay lookout
Arthur Bay is another place to visit on Magnetic Island down the notoriously rocky Radical Bay Road I mentioned above. There are lookout points along the way (watch for signs) and the Arthur Bay lookout is one of the best. Capture the bay from above with framing pine trees.
8. Forts Walk
The Forts Walk is probably the most popular hiking trail on Magnetic Island. This is because you can usually spot koalas year-round along the 4km-return trail. During my last visit in January, we saw four koalas. As the name suggests, the Forts Walk leads to historic World War II fortifications and other infrastructure. But it’s the views from the top that make this one of the best places to take photos on Magnetic Island. Enjoy sweeping 360-degree views from the top of the forts. You will be able to see Bowling Green Bay National Park in one direction, the Palm Island Group in the other and several bays too.
9. Arcadia to Nelly Bay bushwalk
This 5-km one-way hiking trail takes you over the hills of Magnetic Island National Park from one bay to another. A moderate trek, the views from Sphinx Lookout look amazing.
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Local secrets, join us each week as we discover some iconic and some lesser known Magnetic Island secrets. #29/52. The sphinx lookout is located along the Mandalay to Arcadia hike, after a steep climb from the end of Mandalay Avenue you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of Horseshoe Bay before reaching the Sphinx where you’ll be able to gaze across to Alma and Geoffrey Bays. Along this walk is also where Magnetic Island Koala Hospital releases some rehabilitated koalas so keep your eyes opened as you hike to the top. If you just want to reach the lookout begin the walk in Arcadia at the end of Endeavour Road. Photo via @meghan_may93.
10. Radical Bay
Radical Bay is the treasure waiting for you at the end of the rainbow (or Radical Bay Road in this instance). It’s an effort to reach Radical Bay, but it’s a beautiful spot on Magnetic Island. It’s also known for its beachside piano (yes, it’s very weathered). I love the palm trees lining Radical Bay – Jurassic Park vibes, right?
11. Gabul Way – Nelly Bay to Arcadia
Gabul Way is a paved elevated walkway adjacent to Arcadia Road. It connects Nelly Bay to Arcadia via Geoffrey Bay. Great for both walking and biking, there are also perfectly located lookout platforms along the way to take in scenic views of Magnetic Island’s rocky coastline.
12. Horseshoe Bay Butterfly Forest Walk
The Butterfly Forest Walk is located off Dent Street next to the old Horseshoe Bay State Schoolhouse (head to this website for the exact location). Follow the path into the forest and prepare to see hundreds (if not thousands) of blue monarch butterflies. Butterfly breeding season is June to July, so expect to see them swarming this area between April and September. It’s a little bit of a local hidden gem, but you can capture some lovely butterfly photos along this mini forest walk.
13. West Point
Last but not least, West Point is another one of the best places to take sunset photos on Magnetic Island. The island’s westernmost point, you will also probably need a 4WD to access West Point (depending on the time of year). But from the beach, you can see the sunset directly over Townsville.
Well, there we go – a comprehensive list of the most Instagrammable photo locations on Magnetic Island.
If you want any more information on Magnetic Island, let me know – it’s my home away from home after all. If you use any of these tips on your visit to Magnetic Island, I’d love if you tagged me in your photos. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram.