Tropical North Islands
Magnetic Island, Qld. Photo credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Tropical North Islands
Enter a secret world of verdant rainforest, tranquil beaches and underwater marvels. Whatever you’re escaping from, the Tropical North Islands make a magical place to escape to.
Only 4km off Cairns’ shores, you don’t have to try too hard to reach Fitzroy.
Fringed by the Great Barrier Reef, one side covered in rainforest, the other with beautiful sands leading to crystal clear waters, Fitzroy is the picture postcard subtropical island.
The waters are perfect for snorkelling and the land is just aching to be explored. The Secret Garden Walk is a short, peaceful, stroll through the rainforest, or try the Lighthouse and Summit Trail for something a little more demanding. It’s a fairly steep climb, but once you reach the island’s lighthouse the views to Little Fitzroy Island are breathtaking.
Unlike many of the Tropical North Islands, Magnetic Island isn’t the sort of place you can wander around in a few hours. It’s a biggie, with over 2000 permanent residents making this more a suburb of Townsville than a remote escape. It doesn’t have the private feel of other islands, but there’s plenty to compensate.
We’d suggest taking your car over on the ferry to give you the freedom to explore the national park, bird sanctuary and World War II forts.
Incidentally, the island was given its name by Captain Cook, who believed the island’s ores were affecting his compass. They weren’t. The island is about as magnetic as a brick.
The more remote you go, the greater the sense of escape. Orpheus Island is the perfect island retreat, blending beautiful rainforest with luxurious accommodation. It’s a place committed to relaxation and is a strictly adults only destination with no children under 15 allowed.
Here you’ll find peace: day trips don’t visit the island and even noise from phones and TVs is frowned upon.
Haggerstone Island is equally gorgeous, but slightly less protective of its peace and quiet.
Getting To The Islands
Fitzroy Island: Head to the Cairns Fleet Terminal. Ferries tend to depart around 9.00am and return between 4-5pm. Check local times before you travel.
Travel time is 45mins – 1 hour.
Magnetic Island: Ferries leave from the Breakwater Terminal and Ross Street in South Townsville.
You’ll need to book if you want to take a car.
Ferries operate throughout the day but check local timetables.
Travel time is around 25 mins.
Orpheus Island: Via Seaplane from Townsville.
Haggerstone Island: Fly from Cairns to Hicks Island, then on to Haggerstone.
Accommodation is available on all these islands.
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