Searching for the best places to see koalas on Magnetic Island? As a semi-local, I’m here to share my insider tips so you can find a cute koala in the wild on Magnetic Island as well.
Updated January 2019
Koalas are awesome. Even more awesome than wombats, and that’s saying something coming from me. When you make it to Australia, you will inevitably go to a zoo sometime in your travels and see all of Australia’s beautiful animals. It’s a must do. But if you visit my hometown of Townsville and its island suburb of Magnetic Island, you will get the chance to see a koala in the wild. I think this is a much more memorable experience. Koalas on Magnetic Island hid from me for a long time. But then we found THE place, where I see about seven every time I return home. So here’s my local’s tips for spotting koalas on Magnetic Island. Say hello to them from me 😉.
My first time seeing a koala on Magnetic Island
Like I said, Magnetic Island koalas did not play fair for a long time. After my parents moved to Magnetic Island, it took me over a year to see one in the wild. Even though my mum would go on walks and see four, I would come over from the mainland days later and see ZERO.
But finally, after a whole year, my mum went on one of her crazy bush walks and called me soon after to say there was a koala about 100 metres into her trek. So, like the crazy person I am, I got out of bed and drove up to the track to see my first koala in its natural habitat. He was sitting oh-so-cutely in the fork of a eucalyptus tree. This is when my love affair with koalas began.
4 places to see koalas on Magnetic Island
1. Forts Walk
So the number one place people recommend visiting to see wild koalas on Magnetic Island is the Forts Walk in Horseshoe Bay. Keep your eyes up and see what you can find. When you are walking along always ask people you pass as well. They may have been fortunate to see one earlier and can advise you just where to look. It’s all about spreading the joy.
2. Wallaby Way in Horseshoe Bay
Last week, my mum and dad took me to a street called Wallaby Way in Horseshoe Bay. My dad had spotted a koala earlier in a tree on an empty block of land next to 2 Wallaby Way (also, how Australian is this address). Not only did I see Mr Koala in a tree, but Mrs Koala and Baby Koala were in a tree nearby. You will also usually find a couple in the trees opposite. We later found out that this is where some of the rehabilitated koalas from the local hospital are placed when they’re released. These days we usually spot between five and seven every time we visit, which is often because I’m obsessed!
I mean, just look at these photos and tell me a baby koala isn’t the cutest thing ever. They didn’t seem bothered by us, which was good because I was there taking photos of their cuteness for a long time. Follow this link for Google Map directions to the exact location. If you do visit, remember this is still a residential area, so be considerate of the people living in the area.
3. Picnic Bay
You can try your luck in the back streets of Picnic Bay as well. My dad has actually had to stop his car for a koala to walk across the road in front of it. Thanks for rubbing it in, dad – only on Magnetic Island.
4. Koala Park at Bungalow Bay
If all else fails, you can also visit the Magnetic Island Koala Park at Bungalow Bay. The accommodation and adventure centre has wildlife tours a few times a day, where you can meet the three resident koalas. You can also hold a koala for an additional fee.
Since my first encounter, I’ve since spotted koalas outside a family friend’s house in Arcadia, crossing the street in Horseshoe Bay (they are surprisingly fast runners), and chilling up a tree in Nelly Bay. So once you smell that eucalyptus, look up. You just never know on Maggie. Koalas aren’t the only creatures you can see in the wild on Magnetic Island either. You will pass many a kangaroo and wallaby along the way, plus some curlews and cane toads for good luck. Got to love tropical north Queensland.