Magnetic Island is a continental island offshore from Townsville. A large continental island of 5184 ha, it rises to 493 m at Mt Cook, the highest point. Much of the island is rugged and composed of granodiorite except for the West Point area where there are mainly acid agglomerates. There is a diversity of habitats from the mangrove communities on the shoreline to the dunes and salt flats through woodland to vine thickets and some rainforest patches in protected gullies. The fringing reefs are easily accessible at low tide. Because of its diversity and close proximity to Townsville (8 km, 25 minutes by ferry), it is regularly used for field studies by students and staff from many disciplines. There is estuarine and marine geomorphological diversity as well as high diversity of flora and fauna. Earth science students use the island to study island, reef and beach evolution as part of a 3 week field work course. The fringing reefs support many coral communities with extensive seagrass communities associated with the reef flats. There is an extensive use history of aboriginal use, many artefacts have been identified.