Catch A Glimpse Of Incredible Wildlife On This Island Off The Australian Coast

Australia is well-known for its amazing wildlife encounters, with several species uniquely found on the vast continent. Just offshore of Townsville in Queensland lies a laid-back paradise with golden beaches, giant boulders, and plentiful pine forests. Peppered throughout the scenery, you'll find wild koalas and wallabies enjoying their natural habitat, making Magnetic Island a truly magnetic place indeed.

Koalas are a big draw for visitors. They were first introduced onto the island in the 1930s as a move to protect the wild population, according to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. Since then, the population has grown to 800 koalas, who spend most of their time napping in trees along the trails. For an up-close encounter, you can stay at Bungalow Bay Koala Village, the sole resort in Australia with a wildlife park. For 70 AUD ($44), visitors can book the Breakfast With Koalas experience, where rangers will present some animal education and a meet-and-greet with rescue animals like Harry the wombat and Pebbles the koala.

Find the colony of allied rock-wallabies

Allied rock wallabies are another adorable mammal that call Magnetic Island home. You're most likely to catch a glimpse of these marsupials bopping around during their typical feeding hours, either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, the Queensland government noted. While their rock-colored fur and small size would normally make them difficult to spot, the colony on this island is so used to visitors that they will likely come right up to you.

The wallaby population around the Old Arcadia Barge Jetty in Geoffrey Bay has grown accustomed to being fed by tourists. In general, it's never a good idea to feed wild animals, as it can upset their digestive system and interfere with their natural instincts to get their own food. But if you do decide to feed these wallabies, the Magnetic Island Community Development Association recommends sticking with carrots, pawpaw, sweet potato, apple, rock melon, and wallaby pellets from the local stores.

Spot more wildlife around the island

While the koalas and wallabies are by far the most popular wildlife attractions, Magnetic Island boasts plenty of other species on land, in the air, and swimming just offshore in the depths of the coral reefs. Birdwatchers will love this destination, as there are 180 species of birds that dwell or migrate there, including kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets, ospreys, and eagles. On the ground, you might spot a spiky echidna with a hedgehog-like appearance or a sea turtle nesting along the shore, especially in the summer. Around nightfall, keep your eyes peeled for the black flying fox, a large species of bat that hangs around eucalyptus trees.

To get to Magnetic Island, visitors can take a Sealink ferry from Townsville to Magnetic Island for 36 AUD ($23). The trip takes about 20 minutes so it's an easy ride for a quick day trip. Once you get on the island, you can rent transportation to get around, including a bike for 55 AUD ($35) a day or a rental car for 60 AUD ($44) a day. Any way you choose, your trip to Australia and Magnetic Island — or "Maggie" as it's called by locals — is sure to be a memorable one.