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Balding Bay Magnetic Island, North Queensland Trip Report.


Miacomet Next to Balding Bay Park Sign

Magnetic Island, North Queensland, Australia is home to two or three traditional clothing-optional beaches. Balding Bay is the most well-known, but nudists use the far west end of Horsehoe Bay and Rocky Bay Beach, an easy walk from Picnic Bay. I stopped at Rocky Bay on this trip one day and found the sand almost gone at high tide, and the sand is damp for most of the day when the tide goes out. A very strange lone male with a tall Mexican style hat was there. Female waitstaff at one of the hotels later told me his presence puts off girls going to Rocky Bay, so they go elsewhere. Like all beaches in Queensland, none is legally designated clothing-optional, unlike most other Australian states.

I visited Magnetic Island for the third time on my 2007 visit to Australia.

I took the Premier Motor Coach north from Noosa Heads to Townsville. This was an overnight service which stops every 3 or 4 hours for meal and smoke stops. I left Noosa around 4:30 pm and arrived in Townsville around 1:30 pm the next day.

The coach terminal is conveniently located near the Breakwater ferry terminal, about a 5 dollar taxi ride away. Ferries to Magnetic Island leave about 19 times each day. Round-trip (return) tickets cost AUD$29. Ring + 61 7 4726 0800. One email contact from the website is juliej at (To email, replace the 'at' with '@'.) Magnetic Island Bus Service meets all ferries and takes passengers to points around the island. Information from + 61 7 4778 5130 or mibs at (To email, replace the 'at' with '@'.) The ferry arrives at Nelly Bay.

I stayed at two different backpacker hostels, one in Picnic Bay near the south end of the island, the other at Horseshoe Bay, on the north. A range of backpacker, self-catering, bed and breakfast, and motels are available. Hotels offer counter meals, and there are numerous restaurants and takeaways.

Creek At Horseshoe Bay-Cross To Reach Track To Beach

The best nude beach is Balding Bay Beach, reached from Horseshoe Bay on the north of the island. Walk east along the seaside road in Horseshoe Bay past the bus turnaround and walk on the sand alongside a salt water creek. Cross the creek, which is mudflats at low tide, to waist high at high tide, and continue through the bush and start climbing up the track.

The track is well worn so you should have no trouble following it. After about 15 or 20 minutes you will come to a junction in the trail with a sign saying Balding Bay.

Go left and you descend the trail, very rocky, down to the beach. You arrive at a pristine, unspoiled beach. The beach is traditionally used nude. Some disrobe at the juntion of the trail for the remaining hike. There are two picnic tables at the beach.

In summer, swimming is not at all advised, due to the marine stingers (jellyfish) that inhabit all Australian tropical waters. I was there in late-November early December 2007 and stingers had not yet appeared. Ask before swimming if it is safe. Sometimes sailboats anchor in the bay and passengers come ashore. This is one of my favorite nude beaches anywhere.

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