Places - Magnetic Island
Aus qld magnetic island beach view boat
Aus qld magnetic island palm trees
Aus qld magnetic island rock wallaby
Places - Magnetic Island
Aus qld magnetic island beach view boat
Aus qld magnetic island palm trees
Aus qld magnetic island rock wallaby
A beach and nature lover's paradise

Magnetic Island

Just a short ferry ride from Townsville, discover an untouched paradise. A place brimming with idyllic beaches, an abundance of wildlife, friendly locals, world-class hiking trails, beautiful bays, and tropical vibes. Featuring the Great Barrier Reef at your doorstep, a galore of water activities to indulge in and warm Queensland sunshine. It's the ultimate holiday destination to experience quintessential Australia.

Where should you visit Magnetic Island?

Soak up the gorgeous views of Magnetic
© Tourism and Events Queensland
Say G'day to rock wallabies
© Tourism and Events Queensland

A tropical haven

The traditional owners of the island are the Wulgurukaba Aboriginal people - they call the island Yunbenun. Captain James Cook re-named the island in 1770. The name was influenced when Cook believed the island had appeared to affect the magnetic compass on his ship. Magnetic Island also has a fort, constructed during World War II to protect the harbour.

Magnetic Island

Immerse yourself in island living during your visit to Magnetic: A tropical haven that showcases the Australian bush and beaches in style. Located eight kilometres offshore from the city of Townsville in North Queensland. The 52 square kilometre island is officially a suburb of Townsville and has approximately 2335 friendly locals living here.

A relaxing getaway

With over 320 days of sunshine per year, over 20 stunning beaches, home to more than 500 koalas, and an abundance of water activities, you are spoiled for choice. Spend your days by the beach, sailing the Great Barrier Reef and wandering through 25 kilometres of spectacular hiking trails. Discover an array of bays such as Picnic Bay, Florence Bay, Horseshoe Bay and Geoffery Bay. Have close encounters with unique wildlife such as rock wallabies.

Be welcomed by friendly locals in Nelly Bay

Known by locals as 'Maggie' start your journey on Magnetic Island in a town called Nelly Bay. Here, you can find the ferry terminal which links to Townsville. Discover a laid-back oasis that can be reached easily from Townsville for a day trip. However, it is highly recommended to stay at least three days and to enjoy the full experience, stay for at least seven days.

Have close encounters with fascinating marine life
© Tourism and Events Queensland
Rent a topless car and discover Magnetic in style
© Tourism and Events Queensland

Nelly Bay

Visit Nelly Bay, one of Magnetic Islands' main residential areas. An ideal spot to snorkel and swim on the fringing reef. In Nelly Bay, you can also find a great selection of shops and other amenities. There are also plenty of delicious local cafes and restaurants to try. Nelly Bay is the main hub for access to the car and passenger ferries from Townsville.

How to get to Nelly Bay?

You can reach Nelly Bay by ferry onboard, Magnetic Island Ferries. The terminal is located at Ross Street in Townsville and passengers are recommended to arrive at least 20 minutes prior to departure. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes on the car ferry and vehicle bookings are essential. Magnetic Island Ferries highly recommends booking your vehicle in advance. The passenger ferry takes approximately 25 minutes.

Aerial view of a boat docked near Magnetic Island, Queensland
Be dazzled by an endless array of beautiful bays
© Tourism and Events Queensland
Enjoy a fresh Aussie brunch in the great outdoors
© Tourism and Events Queensland

Horseshoe Bay

Are you a water sports enthusiast? Featuring three kilometres of beaches, Horseshoe Bay is a tropical paradise that offers plenty of exciting activities. Whether you prefer paddleboarding, kayaking, jet-skiing, swimming, sailing or fishing: it is all possible at Horseshoe Bay! Family-friendly, this part of Magnetic Island is perfect for soaking up the island vibes.

Discover Horseshoe Bay like a local

Located on the northside of Magnetic, Horseshoe Bay is nestled between Balding Bay and Lover's Bay. Enjoy a meal overlooking the sparkling Coral Sea at one of the local restaurants or cafes. Pack a picnic and take a wander through nature and choose from one of the fantastic picnic areas. If you enjoy horseriding, why not try a bush to beach horseriding experience? Be sure to watch the sunset at Horseshoe Bay.

Explore Horseshoe Bay
© Tourism and Events Queensland
Uncover the natural beauty of Radical Bay
© Tourism and Events Queensland

Would you like to have a close encounter with koalas?

Visit Koala Village, an eco accredited site where you can take a guided tour, learn about koalas, and have a close encounter with koalas. Here, you can also enjoy breakfast with the koalas! Meet Harry the Southern Hairy-nosed wombat and Pebbles the koala while you enjoy an Aussie brekkie in the outdoors.

"I will never forget seeing my first koala in the wild on Magnetic Island. No matter if you are 7, 37 or 70 years old - it will leave you grinning from ear to ear."

Nicole, Travel specialist
Spot over 500 koalas
Did you know? Koalas can sleep up to 20 hours per day
© David clode


Townsville, the gateway to Magnetic Island is located in North Queensland, approximately 350 kilometres south of Cairns. Before you embark on your journey to Nelly Bay on Magnetic, why not explore this special slice of Australia? Renowned for being home to one of the country's largest army barracks, there are plenty of things to do and see.

Enjoy an array of activities in Townsville

Visit the world's largest living coral reef aquarium, Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium. Pop over to the nearby Hinchinbrook Island or trek to the top of Castle Hill. Marvel at the amazing collection found at the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA). This is the only underwater museum in the Southern Hemisphere.

Townsville is the gateway to Magnetic Island
Be welcomed by the friendly locals in Townsville
Aus Waterlilies in Kakadu Darwin NT

Would you like to learn more about Australia?

Join one of our live and informative presentations, hosted by one of our travel specialists. And find out how to travel to Australia in a uniquely local way. There are also plenty of opportunities to ask questions!

Take advantage of our local knowledge

Best spots to visit

There is a large assortment of great places to visit on Magnetic. Admire thousands of blue monarch butterflies on the Butterfly Forest Walk. It is best to visit between April and September in the mid-afternoon. To see koalas in the wild, it is recommended to do the Forts Walk. The walk takes one and a half hours and at the end of the day, you can watch the sunset at the top.

Rent a mini-moke (Barbie-style car) and explore the island

Surrounded by Geoffery Bay and Alma Bay, Arcadia is a small town located on Magnetic Island. At dusk, go and feed rock wallabies at the old barge jetty at Geoffrey Bay. Swim at Alma Bay and spark up one of the free barbecues! Or soak up the beautiful views overlooking Nelly Bay and Picnic Bay.

Here are some must-visit places to visit on Magnetic Island:

  • Nelly Bay
  • Horseshoe Bay
  • Picnic Bay
  • Arcadia
  • Geoffrey Bay
  • Florence Bay
Marvel at Cockle Bay
© Tourism and Events Queensland
Two baby koala in a tree in Australia
Say G'day to koalas!

Where to stay?

Make your trip extra special by experiencing a unique stay from our large collection of hand-selected accommodations located on Magnetic Island and beyond. Your travel specialist will match you up with Magnetic Island accommodation that suits your wants and needs. A journey where your accommodation is an experience in itself.

Stay in unique accommodations, away from the mainstream
Magnetic island villa garden view
Absorb the Aussie lifestyle
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At TravelEssence, we specialise in crafting custom-made holidays that take you off the beaten path and create memories to last a lifetime. We believe in connecting with the heart and soul of a place, introducing you to the locals who call it home. Engage in conversations with fascinating individuals who will share their stories, traditions, and way of life, leaving an indelible mark on your journey.