Just off the coast of Townsville, Magnetic Island, or “Maggie” as the locals call her, is idyllic enough to appeal to adults but has plenty of natural and man-made activities to keep kids occupied for days.

Island holidays with older kids are a delicate balance. While parents might dream about being cast away on a remote island, kids need to be entertained.

Mountainous Magnetic Island is thick with eucalypts and hoop pines and is surrounded by crystalline water. Over two-thirds of the island is national park and more koalas live in the wild here than anywhere else in northern Australia so a sighting is almost guaranteed.

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Check in at Peppers waterfront resort at Nelly Bay, grab a Mini Moke and explore the island’s 23 bays and beaches.

Beyond bush and beach there’s plenty for tweens to do, including riding at the skate park, visiting night markets and spotting rare giant clams at the aquarium. The family-friendly cane toad races at the Arcadia Village Hotel on Wednesday nights (where winners kiss their toads before collecting their prize) are typical of the laid-back style of entertainment on this island gem.

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