Guide to Magnetic Island

Guide to Magnetic Island

How to get there

Magnetic Island is 8km off the coast of Townsville, and there is an hourly ferry which leaves and returns every day. Tickets are $30 and you can leave your vehicle in the car park while you go.

If you want to take your car, it’ll set you back $180.  Unless you are going for a week and really want the freedom of having a car, it’s not worth it. There is a public bus system on the island that is pretty thorough and regular to compensate.

Townsville from Magnetic Island

Townsville from Magnetic Island

Where to stay

If you want an authentic experience, stay at the Bungalow Bay Koala Village. This is in Horseshoe Bay and is attached to the Koala Sanctuary. The hostel grounds are huge and are submerged into the forests, so you are staying in amongst lots of beautiful wildlife.

There is a bar, pool land an open chill out area with beanbags to relax. You stay in lodges which are really clean, cheap and comfortable.

Bungalow Bay Koala Village

Bungalow Bay Koala Village

If you want to stay in the main street, I would recommend staying at Base hostel. They also have full moon parties on the beach which are great fun.

What to do

1. Do the Forbes walk

This is near Horseshoe Bay and is easy to get to by bus, as there is specifically a Forbes walk stop. This is a beautiful and easy walk through the bush and you are bound to see koalas everywhere in the trees.


It takes about 2hrs round trip and the views from the top are magnificent.

top of the Forbes walk

top of the Forbes walk

2. Snorkel in the bays

Magnetic Island has incredible snorkelling and you don’t need to do a tour to experience it. You can hire snorkel gear and stinger suits at your hostel and take the public bus to either Geofrey and Nelly Bay. Here you can snorkel off the beach and there are trails you can follow to see the best marine life.

3. Horseshoe bay

This is a beautiful beach with a strip of great restaurants and cafes on the waterfront.

Horseshoe Bay

Horseshoe Bay

4. Koala Sanctuary

This is in Horseshoe Bay and is attached to the Koala Village hostel. This is a great experience and you can even eat breakfast in amongst the koalas a few times a week.



Both of the hostels have bars, but Base hostel is super lively and have awesome beach parties.

How long to stay

I would spend 3 days here to have time to explore all the bays and bush walks. Keep in mind the bus runs every hour so getting from place to place on the island may take more time than you initially expect.

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