Spending time in Magnetic Island can be an educational experience. In just under three days I learnt so many things.

For example, koalas are elusive buggers, death adders are called so for a very good reason and jetskis aren’t technically meant to go underwater.

For a place where you’re meant to turn your brain off for a while, I sure was using the pesky thing a lot.

“Maggie”, as it’s affectionately known by locals (that’ll be anyone who’s stayed there more than a week), is handily situated off the coast from Townsville, about five hours south of Cairns.

A quick ride over in the ferry and you’re suddenly transported to a relaxed, slow-paced islandthat makes you seriously consider chucking in all those well-made plans and lying on a beach until the day before your visa runs out.

And what a place to be lazy. Palm trees lean sleepily over secluded beaches, handy props for hammocks that prove harder to get out of than a pair of padlocked iron y-fronts.

Seventy per cent of the island is National Park, and although many of the gorgeous beaches are only accessible by boat, there’s enough sand to lie out on without any danger of running into anyone else.

Sunsets are pretty good, with Sails Point being well worth the effort. Set high above the island, you have to trek up a pretty steep hill and then bushwalk to the summit, but the view across the mangrove fields and back towards Townsville are spectacular.

Take a couple of beers up at dusk and you’ve got an instant top-ten 
travel memory.

As far as islands go, it’s pretty big at 52sq km and one of the best ways to take it all in is by jetskiing around it.

Now that might sound a little mad when you consider it’s about 80km all the way round, but on a jetski it’s the most enjoyable ride you can take on the island.

After some expert instruction by ex-Salisbury lad Peter, we’re taken out into the bay and sit two-astride the beasts of the water.

After getting the obligatory, “bet you’ve never had something so powerful between your legs before!” jokes out of the way, we were on our way around the island.

The skis have a lot of power behind them, and here I came to my first educational experience of the trip.

Handing the reigns of the bike over to my partner, Julianne, we headed nervously back out to sea.

As we picked up speed, we hit a big swell and flew up in the air. Instead of easing up on the gas, her instinctive reaction was to hold on tighter and pull the accelerator back even further.

Propelled up through the swell at breakneck speed, we came down 
with an almighty thud… everything went very quiet and very wet.

When we finally emerged, coughing and spluttering, the force of the nose-dive had thrown Julianne’s goggles from her head and left me soaked to the skin.

Needless to say, the speed was curtailed from that point onwards, as we concentrated on taking in picture-postcard scenery like Orchard Rocks, Joyce Bay, Norris Bay and the coastal mangroves 
near Cockle Bay.

You’d be hard pushed to see the coast from a better perspective – just keep hold of those goggles!

Back on terra firma, the discovery mission continued in our very own topless car.

Everywhere you go on the island, a procession of tourists can be seen motoring around in their convertibles.

Armed with our “Hits of the Eighties” mix tape, the car allowed us to visit the sleepy enclave of Horseshoe Bay for lunch before going off in search of wildlife.

First stop was The Forts walk, the best place to hang out with some koalas, where helpful locals draw arrows in the sand to direct you to the furry critters.

The koalas must have heard “Pass the Dutchy” blasting from our stereo on approach, as they were nowhere to be seen when we got there, but the views more than made up for the lack of cuddly natives.

We were far more successful at finding the rock wallabies, happily tucking in to grass near the wharf at Geoffrey Bay.

They posed for photos, then bounced their way through the jagged rocks like some kangaroo version of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

For those who are after a less sedate time of things on the island, then you’re catered for as well – there’s horse riding, sea kayaking, golf and diving, where you can literally head out from the beach for your reef dive.

And the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Most of the hostels provide entertainment of the liquid and audio variety well into the night, and if you time your trip right, you might just be able to experience one of the legendary beachside Full Moon parties.

You’ll be getting down to a host of top DJ’s, wicked tunes and a “beat don’t stop till the break of dawn” atmosphere right by the sea.

That’s is if you can be arsed to get out of your hammock for it.

The damage & the details: Jetski rentals cost $160 for 75 mins (max two people per ski, includes all equipment) from Adrenalin Jetskis (Ph: (07) 4778 5533); Tropical Topless Car Rentals (Ph: (07) 4758 1111; tr36111@bigpond.net.au) cost $73/day including fuel; beds inbase (Freephone: 1800 24 BASE) from $26.