Magnetic Island

The alluring Magnetic Island has plenty to offer and its close proximity to the mainland makes it the perfect getaway!

Arthur Bay Magnetic Island

Boasting 23 beautiful bay’s and beaches, some with fringing coral reefs and huge granite boulders, why wouldn’t you want to visit this idyllic island?

Alma Bay Magnetic Island

And if that wasn’t enough, did I mention that it averages 320 days of sunshine? So pretty much any time is a good time to visit 🌞!!

Alma Bay beach Magnetic Island

The island gets its name from none other than James Cook.

Magnetic Island beach

He called it Magnetical Isle, as he thought his compass was affected by the giant granite boulders.

Giant boulders on Magnetic Island

Although this theory has never been proven, there’s no denying there is a magnetic attraction to it 🧲!

Arthur Bay Magnetic Island

Where is Magnetic Island?

Magnetic Island or as the locals call it “Maggie” Island is only 8km from Townsville.

It is easily accessible by ferry and there are two companies that you can choose from.

Sealink Ferry

Sealink is a passenger ferry that offers plenty of services a day and leaves from the Breakwater terminal at Townsville marina. And best thing is, it’s only a 20 minute ride.

Nelly Bay terminal
Nelly Bay terminal

But want to take your car over? Then Magnetic Island Ferries is the way to go. Their terminal is on the opposite side of the river to Sealink.

How to get around on Magnetic Island

Once here you have a few options on how to get around:

Hire a car– I think this is probably the easiest option as you can come and go as you please. Plus there are plenty of different types of cars to choose from.

Hire Car

The topless convertibles are a popular option but SUVs and Jeeps are also available.

Sunbus– This is a good option if you want to save money getting around and don’t mind sticking to a timetable.


But the buses do run fairly frequently and start early morning and run til late at night.

Electric scooters– These are fun way of getting around for short distances.

Electric scooters

Bicycles– If you’re fairly fit and don’t mind cycling up hill, this could be a good option for you.

Trail bikes– Got a motorbike licence? Then this is a fun way to explore the more remote parts of the island. Motorised scooters are also available.

But doesn’t really matter how you choose to get around as the island is easy to navigate.

Magnetic Island map

The main road runs from Picnic Bay to Horseshoe Bay, and is only 13kms long so it’s hard to get lost!

Where to stay on Magnetic Island?

The main areas to stay are at Nelly Bay, Arcadia, Horseshoe Bay and Picnic Bay.

Here you will find plenty of accommodation options to choose from – Backpackers, hotels, apartments, holiday houses, Airbnb’s etc

Each area has their own benefits. So it just depends on what kind of Maggie experience you’re after?

Sunrise over the ocean
Centrally located:

Anywhere in Nelly Bay is your best bet then. This is the main hub of Maggie and is where both ferry terminals are. Also alot of the car hire places are here too. Aswell as an IGA, bottle shop and plenty of cafe and restaurants.

Horseshoe Bay:

Still offers lots of cafes and restaurants but is on the opposite side of the island to everything else.

Horseshoe Bay beach
Horseshoe Bay

Closest area to Alma and Geoffrey Bay which gives you easy access to the Rock Wallabies and snorkel trail.

Picnic Bay:

Great location close to Hawkins Point, golf course and the 4wd tracks.

Picnic Bay Magnetic Island
Picnic Bay

Bungalow Bay is the only place on the island that you can camp. But it is also offers cute lil bungalows for the non campers. As well as being Australia’s only resort to have its own wildlife park on site!


Base backpackers is located right on the beach and Nelly Bay snorkel trail is just 100m off shore. It also has an awesome bar, burgers and general party vibe.

Base Backpackers
Island Bar at Base backpackers

Check out for more accommodation options 😊

Things to do on Magnetic Island

As I said Maggie has alot to offer so I’m sure you will find plenty to do. Of course you can do as little as you like as well…

  • Hiking the various walking tracks
  • Visiting the Rock Wallabies at Geoffrey Bay
  • Swimming and snorkeling at all the different bay’s and beaches
  • Koala spotting – Maggie is home to hundreds of wild koala’s so keep your eyes peeled
  • Going on a boat for a snorkel, diving, fishing, sailing or sunset cruise
  • Ride horses on the beach at Horseshoe Bay
  • Take a day trip out to the Great Barrier reef
  • Play a round of golf at Picnic Bay golf club
  • Induldge in some water sports, hire a jet ski, sea kayak or catamaran
  • Go for a tube ride
  • Visit the Magnetic museum or wildlife park
  • RELAX!!!
Kayaks at Horseshoe Bay
For more ideas on what to do on Magnetic Island, head over to Backpacker Deals to check out what deals they have on offer. $$$πŸ‘‰ All bookings receive 10% cash back and you can save a further 5% by using our discount code FWS5 😁 πŸ‘ˆ$$$

Magnetic Island tips

Maggie island is only 52 square kilometres so you can still enjoy alot of the island on a day trip…

Arthur Bay

But to really enjoy this lil piece of paradise I recommend 3 – 5 days.

Magnetic Island national park

Magnetic Island national park covers just over half the island (54%) and has 24 kms of walking tracks.

View from Hawkins Point

So make sure you pack your walking shoes or hiking boots!

Hawkins Point hike

Although Maggie Island is only 8km from Townsville, phone reception isn’t the best.

Alma bay early morning

Even Telstra has patchy coverage so plan ahead with ferry, bus timetables etc as you may not always have a reliable data connection.

Magnetic Island view

Rock Wallabies can only eat certain foods. So make sure to take note of the signs around the island.

Rock Wallabies

We found they really liked apples, local grass and the pellets from the newsagent.

Rock wallaby Magnetic Island

Looking for koalas? We had the most luck on the Forts walk… Saw eight koalas on the 4km circuit!

Koalas Magnetic Island

The Forts walk was also our favourite hike – Had great views and historic old Forts to exploreπŸ‘

Forts Magnetic Island

Head up to Hawkins point to watch the sunset – You won’t be disappointed πŸŒ…!!

Sunset at Hawkins Point

So, as you can see Maggie really does have alot to offer! If you love beautiful landscape, great weather, cute animals and a laid-back chill vibe make Magnetic Island your next getaway πŸπŸ¨πŸ€ΏπŸŒžπŸŒ…

I’m sure you will love it as much as we did 😁!!!!

For more blogs about Australian Islands, check these out πŸ˜πŸ‘‡

Stradbroke Island – Brisbane’s best kept secret

Stradbroke Island glamping

North Gorge walk Stradbroke Island

Snorkeling at Tangalooma wrecks

Seal Bay Kangaroo Island

Admirals Arch

Remarkable Rocks

Snake Lagoon

Exploring the Kelly Hill caves

Quokkas at Rottnest Island

Lady Musgrave Island snorkeling

Ice ice baby