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The Forts Track: Where to See Koalas on Magnetic Island (2023)

The Forts Track: Where to See Koalas on Magnetic Island (2023)

Wondering about where to see Koalas on Magnetic Island? Don’t worry I’ve got you covered in this quick wildlife guide to spotting koalas on the Magnetic Island’s Forts Track.

The Forts Track is a short hike to abandoned war fortifications where hikers can enjoy epic island views and spot some lazy Koalas on Magnetic Island.

In this guide, I’ll detail everything you need to know about The Forts Track. I’ll also include some photos that I managed to snap of the koalas during my visit.

Forts walk koalas on magnetic island
Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

First: How to Get to Magnetic Island

Getting to Magnetic Island is as easy as a 40-minute ferry ride from Townsville.

The best ferry company is SeaLink, which has ferries operating roughly every hour from Townsville to Nelly Bay ferry terminal on Magnetic Island.

The cheapest SeaLink ticket can be booked online in advance on GetYourGuide, which gives you a scannable QR code to use on your phone when you board.

The cost of the return trip to Magnetic Island on SeaLink is $39 per adult with several concession options also available.

Magnetic island sunset, magnetic island best things to do, magnetic island attractions

How to get to the Forts Track

The Forts Track starts on Horseshoe Bay Road, roughly a 10-minute drive or bus ride from the Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal. If you tell the driver that you want to hop off at the Forts, he'll stop there for you.

If you're getting a bus, I'd recommend buying a day pass, which costs $7.40, and allows as many bus trips as you'd like for the day. This is the same price as two tickets, so if you're planning on getting a return bus, you may as well get the day pass.

Forts walk koalas on magnetic island

The Forts Track - Hiking Guide

The Forts Walk is only a short 4 km trail which makes for a quick 1.5-hour return trip.

The trails are wide and historical points of interests are marked clearly by several signposts along the track.

There are plenty of opportunities to stop and soak in some Magnetic Island Viewpoints, especially from the highest fort. There are also loads of Koalas living in the dry sclerophyll forest surrounding the Forts Track.

Forts walk koalas on magnetic island

Seeing the Fortifications and Ammunition Bunkers

Hikers can veer off the main path to several WWII landmarks, including encampments, bunkers and radar fortifications.

These fortifications played an important role in defending Townsville from Japanese vessels, at a time when Japan was a formidable force in the Pacific.

Queensland Parks have done a great job preserving the historic site, even constructing a ladder to reach the top fortifications.

Koalas on magnetic island 2 of 13 scaled
Forts walk koalas on magnetic island gun fortifications world war 2

Spotting Koalas on Magnetic Island's Forts Track

If you're traveling in Australia and you're yet to see a wild Koala, then Magnetic Island is the place to spot one.

There are hundreds of wild koalas on Magnetic Island. While hiking, always keep an eye up in the tree line. Koalas are surprisingly difficult to spot, however, some tend to chill in the lower branches, making them a little easier to find.

I can't tell you exactly where they will be, since the Koalas on Magnetic Island like to roam from tree to tree. However, if you keep your eye up on the branches near the start of the Forts Track, I'm sure you'll spot at least one.

Forts walk koalas on magnetic island

Protecting Koalas on Magnetic Island

Like many of Australia's marsupials, koalas have evolved without a distinct predator. They quite frequently linger around in low branches and even walk around on the ground to get from tree to tree.

This makes them an easy target for wild dogs and cats, which were introduced very drastically in an ecological sense.

However, since the majority of the island is classified as a National Park, there are tight restrictions on domestic animals and pets. This allows koala numbers to remain quite strong on Magnetic Island.

Forts walk koalas on magnetic island
Forts walk koalas on magnetic island

Best Views on The Forts Track

There are plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy panoramic island views.

Viewpoints to the north and west grants views all the way to the Palm Island group, while there are also plenty of views of the north-eastern Magnetic Island bays.

The best 360 viewpoint on Magnetic Island is the top fort on the Forts Walk. There are plenty of signposts and trailheads pointing to the top fortification, making it very difficult to miss.

Once there, climb up the steel ladder to gain roof access and enjoy the view.

Anchor bay viewpoint from the forts walk magnetic island
Koala mum and baby in kuranda, australia

1. Selina Magnetic Island Top-Pick

This is one of the best-rated accommodation options on Magnetic Island. It has a good chill-out area, pool, yoga an option to sleep on a converted bus, and on-site koala tours.

Nomads magnetic island accommodation on the beach

2. Nomads Magnetic Island

This hostel offers shared rooms and private rooms. Rooms are small cottages that overlook the reef right on the water's edge in Nelly Bay.

Double bedroom at cstay in picnic bay on magnetic island, australia

3. CStay

One of the best value accommodation options for couples is CStay in Picnic Bay. There are several twin rooms available with an outdoor pool. It is located close to public transport and walking distance to many restaurants.

Forts walk koalas on magnetic island

When to Visit Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island sees up to 300 000 people visit each year. The best time to visit the island is in July, when the weather is calmest and the water is free of marine stingers.

Magnetic Island enjoys a tropical climate, with distinct dry and wet seasons. July is the best month to visit, since the wind has calmed down and there is little rain. Expect normal day temperatures of around 25-27 degrees.

However, it's possible to make the trip to Magnetic Island at any time of the year. In saying that, it's advised to wear a stinger suit if swimming, freediving or snorkeling.

If it's koalas you're looking for on Magnetic Island, don't worry, they'll be there all year!

Koalas on magnetic island 10 of 13 scaled
Koalas on magnetic island 6 of 13 scaled
Magnetic island sailing, magnetic island attractions, magnetic island things to do, magnetic island sunsets

More Maggie & Queensland Travel Guides

Enjoy this quick guide to finding Magnetic Island koalas on the Forts Track? Before you head out, make sure to check out some of my many other travel guides for more inspiration for things to do on Maggie and beyond!

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Your feedback & updates are crucial to keep my guides factual & current. Got new info or updates? Drop a comment below or contact me directly.

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