Great Barrier Reef: Places to Explore

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Magnetic Island

More than half of Magnetic Island's 52 square km (20 square mi) is national parkland, laced with miles of walking trails and rising to a height of 1,640 feet on Mt. Cook. The terrain is punctuated with huge granite boulders and softened by tall hoop pines, eucalyptus forest, and rain-forest gullies. A haven for wildlife, the island shelters rock wallabies, echidnas, frogs, possums, fruit bats, nonvenomous green tree snakes, and Northern Australia's largest population of wild koalas. Its beaches, mangroves, sea-grass beds, and fringing reefs support turtles nesting, fish hatching, and a significant dugong population. You can escape to 23 beaches and dive nine offshore shipwrecks.

The 2,500-plus residents, who fondly call their island "Maggie," mostly live on the eastern shore at Picnic Bay, Arcadia, Nelly Bay, and Horseshoe Bay. Many locals are artists and craftspeople, and there are numerous studios and galleries around the island.

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