Walking Magnetic Islands Forts

Magnetic Island is heaven for walking enthusiasts. It is a quiet place anyway, without much traffic, but there is also a network of walking tracks to pass the time getting lost on all over the island. It is possible to walk from each settlement to the next in only a few kilometres, as well as to various beautiful beaches and pretty coves.

We decided to explore the forts on the island. The forts were built to defend Magnetic Island and Townsville during the Second World War. There are various ruins of small buildings and the remnants of the gun positions, which apparently were always ready but never fired.

It felt really remote as we walked along the track. It was beautifully quiet and we only met one or two other people. All you could hear was the rustling of leaves in the breeze and the occasional rattle of an insect. It is easy to imagine you are somewhere far more remote.

Magnetic Island Forts, Queensland, Australia

As we made our way along the track we kept an eye out for the small information signs that cropped up occasionally. There is an especially useful one that maps out all the ruins about halfway along the track. This is especially helpful as most of the ruins are hard to make out now and the wildlife has taken over somewhat.

This is a prime location to see koalas in the wild and I was keen to spot one, so walked slowly scanning the branches of the trees as I went. This was hugely rewarding when I spotted a lone koala sitting not very high up in a distant tree. He was fighting sleep and losing, badly. He was completely uninterested in us as we approached quietly and curiously. I got within centimetres of him.

Magnetic Island Koala, Queensland, Australia

A few steps along the path I was reminded of the value of also watching where you are stepping whilst walking in the Australian bush, when a long snake flung itself out of my path and into the grass. Phew.

The animal encounters made it for me, but there were also some amazing views and the historical side of the walk was interesting too.

Magnetic Island sea view, Queensland, Australia

The forts are clearly signposted off the East side of the main road between Arcadia and Horseshoe Bay and you can pull off the road to park. The walk is about 4 kilometres and took us about 90 minutes. It is steep in places, both up and downhill. There are some uneven and weed-ridden steps and some parts of the track are very uneven, but the effort is very worthwhile.

Tip: Wear walking boots or shoes and remember to take a large hat, sun cream, water and a camera with you.

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