Magnetic Island Snorkeling
The 13th most popular snorkel dive spot in Queensland.
Wednesday 17 August 2016 06:51 GMT
South of Cairns off the north coast of Townsville, the snorkelling off Magnetic Island is best known for its two marked snorkel trails. Located on the east side of the island, the Geoffrey Bay Snorkel Trail is located off the town of Arcadia and the Nelly Bay Snorkel Trail is located off the town of Nelly Bay. Both trails are indicated on a waterproof swim card that is available from local stores and hotels. In the water, the trails are marked by above and below water float buoys. There are white above water floats that mark the surface of the trail. There are white below water floats that mark the actual trail and have identification numbers that correspond to the waterproof swim cards. NOTE: Avoid the yellow buoys further out from shore which mark baited shark lines.
The Geoffrey Bay Snorkel Trail starts about 1,300 feet offshore of the old barge ramp near Hotel Arcadia. The water off the barge ramp is very shallow for quite a ways out. Once at the start of the snorkel trail, keep an eye out for the Moltke wreck, giant clams near Buoy #2 and, much further out, the remnants of a WWII airplane (CW-22B Curtiss Falcon). Keep an eye out for both boulder coral and lettuce coral. The route of the trail generally arcs to the south from the starting buoy. The snorkel trail is within the Geoggrey Bay Marine National Park zone.
The Nelly Bay Snorkel Trail starts about 300 feet offshore of the Base Backpackers hostel. There are five surface buoys marking the trail providing rest stops, and the route generally follows the coast to the north from the starting buoy. Keep an eye out for boulder coral, lettuce coral, staghorn coral, and some giant clams near the second buoy.
To reach the island, use the regular Magnetic Island Ferry from Townsville (30 min). If you need to fly to Townsville, there is regular air service from Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Quantas. There is regular bus service around Magnetic Island.
Overall, Magnetic Island is the 13th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 43 snorkeling dives in Queensland. Several of the better snorkeling spots are nearby Magnetic Island including Norman Reef, Heron Island, Hamilton Island, Lady Elliot Island, Agincourt Reef and Langford Reef.