February 15th, 2024
5 minute read
Here is your guide to Magnetic Island! Our team of travel experts have researched everything you need to know about the tropical island from where to stay, what to expect and what to do!
Magnetic Island is located 8 kilometres off the coast of Townsville in Far North Queensland. It’s a popular hotspot full of beaches, walking tracks and lookouts with panoramic views. The island has hidden bays teeming with vibrant coral and marine life to explore, shipwrecks turned dive sites to uncover, bucket-list worthy Australian wildlife to meet, and unique accommodation to stay in. The island has something to offer for all travellers, regardless of background or age! Whether you’re after an adventure or want to kick-back and relax in paradise, the island has it all. From camping to feeding wallabies, our guide has got you covered!
Magnetic Island is home to amazing Australian wildlife. Koalas, Rock Wallabies and Brushtail Possums roam the island and are easy to spot if you keep an eye out. If seeing a koala in the wild is on your East Coast bucket-list, then take a walk along the Forts Walking Track through Magnetic Island’s National Park. There you will spot plenty of koalas hanging amongst the eucalyptus trees. We recommend you maintain a fair bit of distance from them as they can be unpredictable at times - not as friendly as the movies make them out to be! Not only will you see koalas on the track, you’ll see incredible views of the island and World War II relics.
Continuing on your Aussie animal expedition, visit Geoffrey Bay just before sunset for Rock Wallaby interactions. The resident Rock Wallabies make their appearances around 5pm, just in time to watch the stunning sunset across the bay. These little guys are friendly so take some fruit or carrots with you so you can feed them.
Brushtail possums are another Australian marsupial you’ll find on Magnetic Island. These possums are very common in North Queensland and come alive at night time. The nocturnal creatures feed on flowers, fruits and leaves at night and will hide in hollow branches or fallen longs during the day. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might be able to spot one of these guys in the dark!
Magnetic Island is mainly made up of national park, with a 36 km network of hiking and walking trails to explore. Most of the walking tracks offer truly magnificent views. Our favourite is the Forts Walk (as mentioned above) which takes you through stunning bushland and is teeming with wild koalas. If you’re a history buff, this one’s for you as the walking track ends at World War II ruins that overlook Coral Sea, Cape Cleveland and Palm Island. Another decent track is the hike to Balding and Radical Bay. The track begins at the end of Horseshoe Bay beach, is quiet, offers tranquil views of the island and winds its way to Balding Bay and then to Radical Bay. Just keep in mind that Balding Bay is actually a nudist beach, but if that’s what you’re into then perfect! Otherwise, Radical Bay is where you can sunbathe and swim with your clothes on.
Snorkelling and scuba diving are two of our favourite activities to do on Magnetic Island. Geoffrey Bay and Florence Bay are both protected from the wind and are ideal locations for exploring the reef and underwater wonderland. If you don’t have your own gear, there are places on the island where you can hire some - Horseshoe Bay is one! One of the highlights of snorkelling in the secluded Geoffrey Bay is that you can explore a shipwreck. Moltke Wreck is a three-masted German barque which sank back in 1889. The best way to get to the wreck is via the Armand Way boat ramp. Then you’ll see a buoy 100 metres from shore which indicates where the wreckage site is. The ship is roughly 8 metres underwater and is 50 metres in length. Free dive or scuba dive down into the depths and be amazed by the decaying wreckage which is now home to coral, fish and reef sharks!
If you would rather stay dry (well, semi-dry) you can rent a jetski, stand-up paddle board or a kayak from Horseshoe Bay and explore the waters at your own leisure. There are various places along Horseshoe Bay’s main strip where you can hire jetski, kayaks or boards and the prices will vary depending on the season and availability. We recommend zooming or paddling to White Lady Bay which is located on the northeast side of Horseshoe Bay - it’s beautiful and absolutely peaceful!
Our favourite place to stay on Magnetic Island is in a beach bungalow. Our Magnetic Island Escape Package is the trip of a lifetime. You can stay for two nights on the island, explore, socialise and soak in the good vibes at an affordable price! The package also includes accommodation and ferry transfers which we believe to be incredibly helpful!
Alternatively, you could take your own camper and see the island in camp-style! The beauty of taking your own camper over is that you can explore at your own leisure. To make things easy for you, there is only one campground on the whole island and it is conveniently located, the Bungalow Bay Koala Village. Considering the entire island is a 15 minute drive from one side to the other, the campground is close to everything making it the perfect base for exploration. The camp is owned and run by a local family, and has all the camping facilities you could need including a pool, deck bar, kitchen, coin operated washers and dryers and stunning beachfront BBQ facilities.
Wondering where to eat on Magnetic Island? Check out our “Best Restaurants on Magnetic Island” article!