Magnetic Island

Nelly Bay as seen from the ferry

Magnetic Island is an island directly off the coast of Townsville in Far North Queensland. Over half the land area of the island is a National Park. Magnetic Island is roughly 7km by 5km, with 25km of walking tracks and several beaches and little bays.

Understand

Magnetic Island has about 2000 residents spread among four small villages. It is popular with tourists to the region. The villages run up the east coast of the island, with the western part consisting of national park. The villages from south to north are Picnic Bay, Nelly Bay, Arcadia and Horseshoe Bay. Nelly Bay is currently in the middle of a large redevelopment involving high-end residential and tourism facilities right on the water. Most budget travellers stay in Arcadia and Horseshoe Bay, which mainly cater to the pub-going and jetskiing tourists.

Get in

Magnetic Island is only accessible by boat from Townsville, which is 8 kilometers away and which has a well served airport. There are two ferry services, both arriving at the Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal:

Ferries take approximately half an hour to reach Magnetic Island. Some airlines can arrange transfers from the airport to Magnetic Island in a package including the flight to Townsville. Some resorts on the island will include a return ticket as part of your accommodation, so ask this when making a booking.

The Airport Shuttle service operates regularly between Townsville Airport, city, selected hotels and the Sunferries Ferry Terminal for $10 each way. Telephone +61 7-4775-5544 (8:30AM-6PM).

Get around

By bus

By car

Magnetic Island mostly has good quality sealed roads, but there are some unsealed roads that require a four-wheel drive.

You can bring your own vehicle on the car ferry, or you can hire cars, four-wheel drives and minimokes on the island:

By foot

All of the villages are small enough to allow easy walking within their bounds. In theory the entire island is small enough that you could walk from end to end in less than a day, but the paths are not designed for it. There are walking tracks through the National Park on the island, but they are scenic walking routes rather than a direct way to get to different parts of the island. The direct roads themselves aren't always pedestrian friendly; some roads lack footpaths so you have to share the sometimes narrow and winding roads with cars.

Do

Geoffrey Bay


We run lunch, afternoon and sunset tours around the island. Learn how to belay a cleat, sweat the mainsail or chill on deck. Snorkelling and stinger suits provided. Largest boomnet on the island - operates outside of stinger season (May-Nov) from $65.

Sailing

Sailing tours are available on the island, and usually depart from either Nelly Bay Harbour or Horseshoe Bay.

Diving

Scuba diving is available on the island, and there are trips out to the Great Barrier Reef leaving Magnetic Island:

Jetski

Sea Kayaking

Walk

Forts observation post

Ensure you take a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and water for these walks around the island.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Go next

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