Location - Magnetic Island National Park, North Queensland, Australia
Duration - Allow 4 hours return
Distance - Approximately 6 kilometres return
Grade - 4, moderate to difficult
Mount Paluma rises to an elevation of 322 metres on Magnetic Island. It's only rival there is Mount Cook (493 metres), and together, these two peaks are the only official mountains on the entire island. Many did not even know this peak – Mount Paluma – existed, let alone that it was on Magnetic Island, but it is well worth exploring!
There are the remains of a track that follows the ridgeline, passing grass trees and gums, before ascending to a saddle below the summit, but that track has since been long lost. While this historic track is now, indeed, overgrown, it is still easy to make out the stacked stone retaining walls and rock steps that were placed there decades ago and make your way to the summit. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service do not have plans to reopen this track in the foreseeable future.
Update 2021: This track has since been recut.
Even though this seemingly untouched summit may not have been visited for a while, it most certainly provides some spectacular views across the landscape. You can enjoy views out to Alma Bay and Horseshoe Bay and take in the turquoise waters of the Coral Sea. Take a lunch, and relax in the shade and the breeze while taking in these phenomenal views.
While at the summit, you may also notice that some of the ironbark trees have been cut, perhaps decades ago, but this is normal for summits in North Queensland. Oftentimes, trees were cut to build or provide better views/access to trig points that were key for navigation back in the day.
Look for the rock cairn that marks the true summit, but also take a moment to look around for a few sufficient boulders for better views and perhaps a good spot for a picnic as well. You will be rewarded with views down into Nelly Bay and across to Townsville as well as views out to The Forts and Horseshoe Bay.
What you need
- Water (2-3 litres recommended per person)
- Food and snacks
- Long pants and a long-sleeve shirt to protect from sun and vegetation
- Hat and sunscreen
- Insect repellent
- GPS and navigation tools
- First Aid Kit and PLB (or equivalent)
- Camera and/or phone
As these areas around Townsville become increasingly popular, we will need to be more diligent in practicing our Leave No Trace philosophy. Be mindful of disturbing the flora and fauna and keep your impact to a minimum. Please take everything back home with you. If you find rubbish, please pick it up and hike it out. Let's take only photos (and other people's rubbish) and leave only light footprints... and, of course, a cleaner environment.