Travel guide to Magnetic Island, QLD

Travel guide to Magnetic Island

What was once a completely unknown destination for most Australian and foreign travellers has grown to be one of the top destinations on everyone’s travel wishlist.

Magnetic Island is a tropical paradise you can retreat to from Townsville. Located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, this island is perfect for all sorts of nature exploration trips, wildlife encounters and relaxing activities that require nothing but a swimsuit and a cocktail in hand.

To bring this wonderful place closer to you, here’s an extensive travel guide to Magnetic Island that will motivate you to book a trip today.

Things to do on Magnetic Island

Things to do on Magnetic Island

When on Magnetic Island, you can spend your time relaxing on a boat or chilling at the beach, but with so many attractions and activities, it would be a shame to miss any of them.


Magnetic Island is made for people who love the great outdoors, so even if you’re not a super active person, you can still enjoy short and easy hikes like The Forts Walk. This 90-minute hike will treat you to a mix of WWII history and beautiful coastal views (keep an eye on koalas).

For something more demanding, you can walk from Nelly Bay to Arcadia and explore the island in a slightly different way.

The Forts Walk: starts at West Point, ends at The Forts.

Wildlife spotting

Magnetic Island is home to about 800 koalas and many rare rock wallabies. You can spot them on your walks around the island, together with possums and echidnas.

If you want to take photos and cuddle with koalas, visit Bungalow Bay Koala Village and you’ll be guaranteed close encounters with these cute marsupials.

Bungalow Bay Koala Village: 40 Horseshoe Bay Rd, Magnetic Island, QLD.


This island is very attractive to divers and snorkelers, so no matter which one you want to be, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to take a peek under the surface.

You can take snorkelling trails in Nelly Bay or Geoffrey Bay and admire colourful corals, or pay a visit to SS Yongala, one of Oz’s most famous shipwrecks.

If you want to visit Magnetic Island without researching your snorkelling activities in advance, you can get great recommendations from local agencies and find excellent guides.

Places to eat and drink on Magnetic Island

This island might be small, but it offers more than satisfying food and drinks. Whether you want to enjoy a quick lunch, a tasty cup of coffee or an exclusive dinner, you’ll find it all.

Scallywags Cafe

This spot is perfect for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner when in Nelly Bay. Be sure to try their filling burgers or opt for their speciality: loaded jacket potatoes. Their coffee is also pretty decent.

Scallywags Cafe: 104 Sooning St, Magnetic Island, QLD.


This restaurant/beach bar makes amazing seafood that’s fresh and local. Thanks to its premium location (beachfront of Horseshoe Bay), it’s the perfect place to enjoy delicious seafood pasta every day.

Sandi’s: 7 Pacific Drive, Magnetic Island, QLD.

Barefoot Art Food Wine

This is a unique restaurant serving amazing food, drink and views. Overlooking Horseshoe Bay, Barefoot Art Food Wine will provide you with 10/10 food and wines to match. And it even has a small art gallery for you to enjoy.

Barefoot Art Food Wine: 5 Pacific Drive, Magnetic Island, QLD.

Bungalow Bay Koala Village

Bungalow Bay Koala Village. Image credit: Bungalow Bay Koala Village (via Facebook).

Where to stay on Magnetic Island

Bungalow Bay Koala Village

If you want to enjoy the natural life of Australia, then look no further than this koala sanctuary. Bungalow Bay Koala Village offers glamping, shared rooms, private rooms and luxe bungalows right there at the koala park. Since this is the only place to camp on the island, for campers this is a no-brainer.

Bungalow Bay Koala Village: 40 Horseshoe Bay Rd, Magnetic Island, QLD.

Pure Magnetic villas

If you want something more private and comfortable, then Pure Magnetic villas are made just for you. With a tropical Balinese vibe, all villas are equipped with a kitchen, laundry, balcony and shared pool. Plus, this spot is in Nelly Bay, thus being close to the ferry, stores, restaurants and most events.

Pure Magnetic: 9 The Esplanade, Magnetic Island, QLD.

Getting to Magnetic Island

Even though you’re travelling to an island, Magnetic Island is very easy to get to.

Flights to Townsville are available from most Australian cities via Jetstar, Virgin and Qantas.

If you’re travelling by car, you’ll need about 15 hours to get to Townsville from Brisbane and about 4.5 hours from Cairns.

When you get to Townsville, catch a vehicle (Magnetic Island Ferries) or passenger-only ferry (Sealink) and you’ll be on the island within 20 to 40 minutes.

From the Magnetic Island ferry terminal, you can easily rent a car, grab a taxi, use the local bus, or call your hotel for a transfer.

Peter Minkoff writer SHE DEFINED

This article was written by Peter Minkoff.

Peter is a lifestyle writer from Brisbane, currently traveling through Europe. A fashion styling graduate, he’s a true craft beer and soy latte aficionado, he loves spending his days at the beach and visiting second-hand stores on a daily basis.

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