Magnetic Island, the nature loving paradise and true natural beauty, is a stop on the East Coast you don’t want to miss. Whether you’re into sunbathing under palm trees, swimming or snorkelling in turquoise waters, hiking to scenic spots, or hanging out with Australia’s native wildlife, there are plenty of sites and activities to do on the island!
Magnetic, or “Maggie Island,” as it’s affectionately known, is just a 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville. The greyhound bus stops off at Townsville, where you can spend the night or head straight to the ferry port. The cheapest ferry tickets can be pre-booked through SeaLink’s website for $34 return or can be bought at the ferry terminal prior to departure.
Budget saving tip: Before getting the ferry, stock up on essential supplies as there’s no cheap supermarket there!
How long should I stay?
I would recommend spending a few days here (two nights and three days was ideal for me)
but if you’re short for time, hop on an early ferry and do a day trip.
Where to stay at Magentic Island?
If you’re after lively, party island vibes then look no further. Ran by Nomads/Base, Magnetic is home to Australia’s only full moon party, giving Ko Pha-ngan a run for its money. It’s located right near the start the island and right on the beach. Perfect for an early morning sunrise and snorkel on the Nelly Bay track!
The bar area is pretty big and they host various events each night so it’s a fun night out. If you want to party, stay here!
Bungalow Bay Koala Village
This is definitely a quieter and more chilled option than Base, with a relaxed bar area and beanbags for lounging on making a perfect hanging out spot rather than party.
Onsight wildlife park: Its main selling point is the koala village breakfast- it’s not everyday you’ll have the opportunity to meet koalas and other animals up close whilst eating your breakfast!
It’s also a great option for those camping or coming in a campervan as there’s camping spaces available as well as the budget bungalows.
How to get around on the island
Renting a car– if you’re a barbie girl looking for tropical topless car or a daredevils wanting a 4×4 your spoilt for choice, with all hire cars costing around $100 a day.
Bus service- Fear not solo travellers, there’s also the option of the bus service which goes between Horseshoe Bay and Picnic Bay but make sure you have a Go card or consider a daily bus pass for just $8 to save some money. The buses also don’t run super frequently so be sure to plan your bus journeys beforehand.
For those of you travelling in your own car or camper, check out the company Fantasea which provides the service of taking your vehicle onto the island, starting at $216 return.
Things to do on the island:
Here you can find the famous locals on the island: the Rock Wallabies. Feeding the rock wallabies was one of my favourite activities on the island, with the pellets available from the convenience stores around the island; otherwise, you can feed them apples and carrots. Be sure to make notes on what you can and cannot feed them, and not to scare them with loud noises!
There are various options for tracks at different lengths that all connect to the main spots of interest. I enjoyed The Forts Walk the most, mainly because of the wild cute koala spotting- I saw five on my walk so I was super happy! Tip- be sure to look up in the trees for them sleeping! It’s an easy, 90-minute track with storyboards along the way telling you of a time where it was used as a lookout base during World War Two.
With turtles, sharks, dolphins, rays, clams all found within the island, delve into the waters to try and spot some of these! I started at Nelly Bay (100m from Base) and followed the white surface floats round.
If you want to find out more about Magnetic Island, then visit any of our travel desks in SummerHouse in Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. Or message out Instagram @Cheapaz.Travel. Alternatively, you can book, etc. at Nomads/Base hostels when you arrive on the island but bare in mind there be at limited availability and high prices depending on whether it’s peak season.