The Ultimate 3-Day Guide to Magnetic Island, Australia
After sailing around Whitsundays we decided to drive 3 hours up the coast from Airlie Beach to Townsville to catch the ferry to Magnetic Island. After a 20 minute ferry we arrived on this nature lovers’ island that borders part of the expansive Great Barrier Reef.
Why Travel to Magnetic Island, Australia ?
Magnetic Island is a piece of tropical paradise located off the northern shore of North Queensland. There are many beaches along the coast, hiking trails, endless snorkeling adventures and let’s not forget about all the local exotic animals. We are talking, koalas, wallabies, wombats and so much more. This island should just be called Koala Island, let’s be real, they are the main attraction. The region is home to the largest colony of wild koalas in Northern Australia and it is the perfect all-year-round tropical destination.
How Long to Stay in Magnetic Island, Australia ?
We would recommend at least three days and two nights to allow ample time to visit all the animals, some beaches and enjoy the hiking trails on “Maggie” (Magnetic Island). You can always add another day for some relaxation.
Top Things to Do in Magnetic Island, Australia
1) Magnetic Island National Park
The island has 26km of walking trails that offer stunning views of the nearby beaches and bays, allows you to access old WWI fortifications, and even see wild koalas.
Check out this webpage for a detailed guide of hiking lengths and difficulty.
The Forts Walk
This is the most popular track to walk on all of Magnetic Island. Freely roam around the park and learn about the fascinating historic WWII fortifications. The 360 degree views from the tops of the forts are worth the walk alone.
Along the hike you can walk throughout this old WWII fort…
and this one too….
For some great views of the coast and island.
On the forts walk you get several views of the surrounding bays, and if you take the forts junction to horseshoe bay hike you can get nice views of Arthur Bay, Florence Bay, and Horseshoe Bay.
Arthur Bay Lookout
Magnetic Island 101: Keep an eye up in the trees for dozing koalas during your hike through Magnetic Island National Park
It began raining hard and there was little to no shelter for us, so we stayed under this Koala’s tree. Kurt’s phone couldn’t didn’t stand a chance as it was swimming in a pool of water in his pocket. Unfortunately, we went from two phones to one for the rest our our trip.
2) Bungalow Bay Koala Village
Cuddle a Koala?! What! Yes please! This three-star hotel not only provides accommodation but entertainment as well. This resort has a hands-on wildlife park on it’s premises, how neat is that?
There was an up-charge for holding the koala, but we thought this was worth holding these cuddleballs.
Please take note these koalas are rescue koalas.
The rest of the experience was also hands-on and included in the price of admission (Currently $40 AUS/per person as listed on their website).
3) Feed the Rock Wallabies
Make your way over to the headland in Geoffrey Bay, Arcadia where you can hand feed wild rock wallabies, Australia’s cutest natives. Stop by the Arcadia Newsagent newsstand so you can pick up feeding pellets. This attraction is free (you just have to pay for the feed).
Magnetic Island 101 - It is not acceptable to feed rock wallabies whatever you want. Acceptable food includes the pellets sold at the newsstand, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, paw paw and rockmelon.
Where to Eat in Magnetic Island, Australia
Stop by this hip waterfront cafe for a delicious avocado toastie, wrap, or sandwich.
*Vegan and gluten free options are available*
Other Recommendations of Things to Do
These are all adventures that we unfortunately didn’t have time to do on our own but would have considered if we had more time:
- Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) – For the scuba lovers: head over to discover the reefs underwater stories. This experience helps conserve the reef by educating people by giving awareness and connecting individuals with the life underneath us via art forms and stories.
- SS Adelaide – There is a shipwreck located offshore of Cockle Bay. It is easily accessible during low tide as it is only 300 meters off the coast. This would be an ideal spot for some drone footage.
- Arthur Bay Snorkel – There are heaps of beaches you can snorkel at but this is one that is top of the list.
- Sunset at Horseshoe Bay – For those sunset chasers, Horseshoe Bay is one of the prime spots to end the day with a gorgeous sunset.
- Hinchinbrook Island – If you are looking for some peace and tranquility hop on a ferry ride (a little over 5 hours) over to the biggest island on the Great Barrier Reef, surprisingly, also uninhabited. The island has some of the best kayaking in all of Australia. Immerse yourself in the wild along the hiking trails and experience the rugged nature and abundant wildlife. Only 40 people are permitted at a time. If you are in the area, be sure to head to the mainland and not miss Wallaman Falls, Australia’s highest waterfall sitting at 879 feet.
- Day Trip to Great Barrier Reef: There are several boat tours (half day/full day/ and even overnight trips out to the Great Barrier Reef.
Questions For You
- What’s your favorite native Australian animal?
- Have you ever held a koala or seen one in the wild?