A difficult bushbash to the top of the highest mountain on Magnetic Island.

Scrambling or Climbing
Navigation Required
Maximum Elevation

Getting there

There are a number of ways to summit Mt Cook however this entry will only mention the Nelly Bay route. The walk commences at the end of Mandalay Ave. 

Route/Trail notes

Starting from the end of Mandalay Ave follow the Arcadia walking trail for a few hundred meters until you pass a dry creek bed with a pipe running across it (Photo attached). From this point there will be no track and only a number of small rock cairns to mark the way, so arm yourself with a GPS because people have gotten lost up here. The first and most lengthy part of this walk will be rock hopping up the dry creek bed to the saddle. There are some very large boulders you will have to negotiate, be careful of your footing because a lot of the rocks are very unstable and a mistake could result in getting a limb pinned under a boulder. There are also frequent sections where vegetation has overgrown the creek, or trees have collapsed across it meaning you will have to do a fair bit of bushbashing. Take care to avoid the stinging trees along this route. It is definitely worth wearing long sleeves and long pants for this walk. The creek bed is massive and it frequently branches, and unfortunately the small rock cairns are too occasional to be relied upon, they do however offer encouragement that you are heading in the right direction. 

If you perservere you will eventually arrive at the saddle where you will begin the bear right. This section is a steep walk through long grass, mildly thick vegetation and more large boulders. You will arrive at the top of the spot height and begin to see the views you have been working so hard to get to. Unfortunately this is not where the walk ends. You will have to drop down into another saddle and make your final ascent to the summit of Mt Cook. On the positive side this final section is probably the easiest section due to the lack of large boulders. As you arrive at the top you will see a huge Radio tower with a beacon. This beacon is visible from the mainland at night. There are no views here, only a tower surrounded by barbed wire with numerous signs advising you not to climb the tower. From the tower there is a track that leads to the helipad where you will obtain the best views of the walk. In saying that the views are a bit obstructed by the vegetation growing around the landing site. 


$32 return for ferry from Townsville.

Other References




Well this walk was a lot more difficult than I initially expected. We originally intended on going via the Duck Creek route however on arrival at Magnetic Island our AirBnb host advised us not to go this way. There was also the issue of a) No bus goes to the start of the duck creek route b) Taxis aren't allowed on W Point Road c) it's a 5km walk to get to Duck Creek from Picnic Bay. Neither of us were keen for an extra 10km walk so we took our hosts advice and went via Nelly Bay. The walk is very direct, but despite only covering a short distance, it takes a ridiciulously long time to make very small progress. We spent a lot of time referring to the GPS, backtracking when the boulders were too large to negotiate, and squeezing through sections of thick scrunge. We had hoped the view at the top would make it all worthwhile but unfortunately the thick vegetation prevented any excellent photo opportunities. Have included our GPS track for this route. We attempted to take the path of least resistance staying as true to the cairns as possible, but there is no way of avoiding the reality that this is a tricky route devoid of any real track. Was kind of cool watching the military planes take off because the island is right underneath the jetpath and the helipad has views right out to Townsville Airport.

Vonsnrub on 29 Jul, 2021


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