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One of the best & most BEA-UT locations on the East Coast >>> Just a 20-minute ferry ride over from the city of Townsville is the magical Magnetic Island and it’s definitely a spot you don’t want to miss! If full moon parties, wild koalas and 4×4 driving sounds right up your street then make sure you include Magnetic Island on your East Coast adventure!

  • When to go
  • How to get there
  • Where to stay
  • What to do on the island
  • AND of course… how to be cash savyy

Maggie Island tips INCOMING….

Click images to see more.

How big is Magnetic Island?

Magnetic Island is pretty tiny. Think more chilled island getaway than sprawling landmass. It clocks in at a compact 52 square kilometres, which is roughly 20 square miles. There are over 40 km of scenic roads and 25 km of walking tracks to explore.

Don’t let the size fool you though, this little island packs a punch. With over half its area protected as National Park, there’s plenty of hiking, exploring and wildlife encounters to be had. Plus, cosy bays and beaches are scattered around the coast, perfect for kicking back and soaking up the sun on this island paradise.

When should I go?

Magnetic Island is a beaut spot to visit year-round, but picking the right time can make your trip even more epic depending on what you’re after. Here’s the lowdown:

Dry Season (May to October):

  • Weather: Perfect! Think warm days and cool nights. This is prime time for exploring, with average temps ranging from 18-28°C.
  • Activities: Snorkelling, hiking and sunbathing are all on the cards. The island’s National Park trails are beaut this time of year, and the clear waters make it ideal for spotting marine life.
  • Events: Don’t miss the Magnetic Island Race Week in August – it’s buzzing with energy!

Wet Season (November to April):

  • Weather: It’s warmer and more humid, with average temps between 24-31°C. Be ready for tropical rain showers, especially from December to March.
  • Activities: This is stinger season, so make sure you swim in the protected areas. The island is lush and green, perfect for those who love vibrant landscapes and fewer crowds.
  • Events: Australia Day celebrations on January 26th are a vibe, with lots of local events and activities.

Top tip: If you’re keen on wildlife, the dry season is perfect for spotting koalas in the wild and exploring without the heat slowing you down. But if you love a tropical feel and don’t mind a bit of rain, the wet season’s lush scenery can be just as magical.

Whenever you choose to go, Magnetic Island is ready to deliver an unforgettable adventure!

How do I get there?

It couldn’t be easier to get to Magnetic Island (Maggie Island) – both the Greyhound and Premier buses drop you right outside the ferry port in Townsville – from there it’s just a 20 minute ferry over to the Island.

There’s no need to pre-book ferry tickets, as you can purchase tickets at the front counter, but you can also buy tickets online here. It’s recommended that you arrive at least 20 minutes before departure time to give yourself time to buy or redeem your tickets.

Ferries run roughly every hour and take a swift 20 minutes to reach the island.

Once arrived, the easiest way to get to your accommodation is by bus, there is no need to pre-book and most rides won’t cost more than $2-$3 (TOP TIP: it’s handy to have some change on you!). I told you this was easy! If you’re not sure what bus to get just ask the driverthey’ll be more than happy to help.

Where to stay?

There are two main hostels on the Island – Nomads Magnetic Island (previously Base) and Selina Magnetic Island (previously Bungalow Bay). Both are great hostels but with a very different vibe…

Nomads Magnetic Island is our favourite and we can’t recommend it highly enough. Forget all your standard Nomads hostels because this one is on a whole new level. The beach is literally on your doorstep, there are hammocks to chill in and it hosts a Full Moon Party once a month. If you’re travelling to make friends and live it up on the beach, this is possibly the best hostel you’ll stay at on the East Coast.

Selina Magnetic Island has a totally different feel – it’s the only hostel that can boast its own on-site wildlife park! This one is the right choice if you’re on Magnetic Island for the koalas rather than the cocktails. You can expect a much more peaceful night’s sleep, but you can still wrap yourself in a python if you want a bit of danger!

Selina is a little pricier, but it’s a unique experience if you want to get up close and personal with the local flora and fauna.

What can I do on the island?

So the big question, what can you do on the island and what are the best spots?

Rent a topless 4×4 and explore the island

This is EPIC fun and allows you to go off-road to places the buses can’t. If you’re a solo traveller try and find others to pair up with, so you can split the cost of the car and take turns driving. NOTE: You do not need to pre book this and you can do this when you are on the island. Prices range from $100 in low season (May – August) to $150 in peak season (September – April).

Girls you’re probably thinking but what about the classic Barbie car? Yes they’re great to look at, but just take note that you can not take these little bad boi’s off road >>> If that’s more your style though – GO FOR IT… If you can’t find others to share a car with or if it’s out of your price range, then the bus is your best option. You can get an all-day pass for just over $7… the bus covers the main highlights.

Fort’s walk

If you’re eager to see wild koalas then this is the walk to do. Roughly an hour return this walk is suitable for anyone and is only up-hill near the end. Keep your eyes peeled and you should come across numerous koalas chilling out in the tree tops. Go right to the top and you’ll get some beautiful views of the island and bays.

Get out on the water

Ok, so it’s not technically on the island, but getting out on the water is an absolute must!

For a budget-friendly adventure, rent a sea kayak or paddleboard and explore the island’s stunning bays and secluded beaches at your own pace. Geoffrey Bay and Horseshoe Bay are top spots with their calm, crystal-clear waters perfect for paddling. Magnetic Island Sea Kayaks are a popular option for tours, but you can also grab your own gear at Horseshoe Bay Beach Hire.

If you’re ready to really treat yourself, you cannot beat sailing around Magnetic Island. Hire a sailboat or join a sailing tour to cruise the turquoise waters, sunbathe on deck, and drop anchor in serene bays for a swim. It’s the perfect way to add a touch of luxury to your island adventure.

See the sunset at West Point

You will need a 4×4 to do this so if you do, make sure you time it right. Unfortunately, when I went the sunset was quite cloudy but it’s still a beautiful spot to visit. If you don’t have a car, another great spot to watch the sunset is Hawkings Point which is about a 15-20 min walk from Nomads hostel.

Meet the wildlife…

Feed the Wild Wallabies at Alma Bay

Park up or get off at Arcadia and feed the wild wallabies at Alma Bay. The best times to go are early morning or late afternoon when it’s slightly cooler. You’ll be able to get an epic selfie and they’ll happily feed from your hand (note: they love banana skin!) This is also a good spot to watch the sunset.

The Koala Park by Selina (previously Bungalow Bay Koala Sanctuary)

There are two tours a day at 10:30am and 12:30pm, and I would highly recommend you pre-book as these are very popular! The tour lasts about two hours where you can hold numerous animals such as snakes, lizards, small salt-water crocodiles and of course the koala! You can also feed the lorikeets at 4pm free of charge!

Snorkelling

Take advantage of the cheap snorkel hire at Nomads. Then get yourself down to one of the many bay’s and take in the clear-blue oceans. One of the best spots to snorkel is Geoffrey Bay where a shipwreck called ‘the Moltke’ can be found. Other good spots are Arthur Bay and Florence Bay.

How many days should I stay?

It is possible to do Magnetic Island in a day, but we always recommend 2 to 3 nights to really get a full taste of this beautiful island. There are activities to do and places to see so 2-3 days will give you the time you need to see it all.

Some more EPIC tips for yaa….

  • You catch the ferry over from Townsville
  • The ferry terminal is right by the ferry port
  • Make the most of our epic accommodation and transport backpacker deal….
  • Get a crew together to rent one of the 4wd’s on the island!

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About the Author: Sammy
You can never EVER forget where your from – In my case Manchester, UK. But for now and for...

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