48 Hours on Magnetic Island – What to Do and Where to Go

Just 8 kilometres offshore from Townsville, Magnetic Island – or ‘Maggie’ as the locals fondly refer to her as – is a world away from the mainland.
From the moment you step on the island life seems to slow down to island time and natural adventures await you, whether that be cuddling a koala, swimming in the turquoise waters or hiking one of the island’s trails.

While 48-hours isn’t a lot of time, it’s more than enough to get a dose of Maggie’s magic that will have you wanting to come back for more!

How to make the most of 48 Hours on Magnetic Island


How to get to Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island can be reached by Sealink Queensland‘s passenger ferry from Townsville and takes around 30 minutes. There are also private boats that can take you across at a premium price.

When to go to Magnetic Island

With hot, humid summers and warm winters, Magnetic Island hosts warm weather for much of the year and over 320 days of sunshine.

The best time to visit is between May and September where the days are warm, but evenings are cooler. The hottest time of the year is October through April where the weather can be a bit too intense for spending long days outside or in the water.

Magnetic Island Race Week is hosted at the end of August and there are plenty of New Years Eve celebrations along The Strand to usher in the New Year.

Peppers Blue on Blue on Magnetic Island, Queensland

Where to stay on Magnetic Island

We chose to stay at Peppers Blue on Blue, the islands luxury accommodation. Located conveniently next to the passenger ferry terminal, many of the rooms and suites at the property overlook the surrounding ocean and hills.
The property boasts one of the Southern Hemispheres largest lagoon pools that wrap around the property, an Endota Spa on site, and the chic full-service Boardwalk Restaurant & Bar.

I felt at home at the property, and not just because of the comfort factor! Each day the staff would greet me and ask me what I saw, their concierge also helped me plan some of the activities I wanted to take part in when I headed back to Townsville. I love when staff take the time to go that extra step because it really does make all the difference!

Check the price of hotels on Magnetic Island here
→ HotelsCombined | Booking.com


What to do on Magnetic Island

Cuddle a Koala

Let me tell you a little secret – I melt anytime I see a koala. Magnetic Island has the highest population of koalas in the wild so if you don’t want to take the Forts Walk consider making a quick stop at the Bungalow Bay Koala Village. There are two ways to meet these cute creatures – during the Champagne Bush Tucker Breakfast or during a tour.
I took a tour, which runs three times daily, and led by the energetic Ranger Tony. It’s a fast-paced tour that will have you holding turtles, have lizards perched upon your head, getting wrapped up in a snake, hand feeding lorikeets, feeding Black Cockatoos seeds from between your lips and even cuddling a koala!

They also offer budget accommodation with a YHA Hostel on site that offers double, twin, dorm and family room options for those wanting to spend the night.

Note: You will need to buy a koala photography package during the tour to hold and have your photo taken with a koala. This money goes to support and conservation of injured and orphaned animals on the island.


Take the Forts Walk

If you’re hoping to see koalas in the wild then this is a must-do! The easy 4km walk takes your past the historic remnants of WWII fortifications before opening up to spectacular views of Palm Island and the Bowling Green Bay National Park.
This is a hike that’s best to take early in the morning before the heat sets in, and also – hopefully – before the koalas are disturbed and climb higher!


Zip-around the island in a mini moke

Having four girls and just one guy on the trip, our pink mini moke from Tropical Topless rental was by far one of the highlights of our trip. As we zipped up the hills or by bays we giggled as the wind caught in our hair or we waved as we saw another mini moke past us.While there aren’t many roads on Maggie driving, and the bus is pretty efficient, the moke made seeing the highlights of the island a lot easier especially since we had such a limited time on the island.

Never fear boys, there are blue and white ones for rent if you aren’t cool enough to be seen in the pink mokes!


Enjoy the waters surrounding the island

Surrounded by water it just makes sense to spend some time relaxing on the turquoise waters to get a new perspective of the island and enjoy the coral reefs.
There’s a range of ways to explore the water from charters to snorkeling trips or even fishing trips. Magnetic Seafaries were recommended to me by the staff at Peppers Blue on Blue as the people to speak to if I wanted to explore.

I visited during Magnetic Island Race Week and while things were hectic, if you genuinely want to go out on a boat for the day to help the crew (and I mean help the crew!) then talk to the organisers, I’m sure they’ll be able to put you to good use.

Magnetic-Island-Rock-WallabyFeed Rock Wallabies’s just before sunset

Head down to Geoffrey Bay around sunset and you’ll find dozens of rock wallabies enjoying corn and carrots. We were lucky enough to see a few baby wallabies still in their Mother’s pouches! If you want to feed them stop at the newsagents next to the Arcadia Pub and pick up a bag of wallaby feed.

If you’re taking the bus just ask the driver to stop at the Arcadia Pub; You’ll pull up near a newsagent and then walk down the dirt road opposite. Otherwise, if you’re cruising around in a moke there’s parking there.


Sunset at Horseshoe Bay

At the westernmost point of the island that can be accessed without a 4WD is Horseshoe Bay, the best place to see one of Queensland’s stunning sunsets!
We enjoyed dinner overlooking the beach at Barefoot Art Food Wine – an award-winning restaurant that incorporates a gallery of local works. If you’re feeling like something a little less formal, consider grabbing some fish ‘n chips and enjoying them on the sand.


Where to stay and what to do in Townsville

It’s great to escape to island time on Maggie but it doesn’t stop on the island. Why not spend a night in Townsville? Check out the view from Castle Hill, for great food and drink check out the new City Lane or head further afield into the Paluma Range National Park.

For more ideas be sure to read this article on what to do in Townsville!

I stayed at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in the iconic ‘sugar shaker’ building. Offering large comfortable rooms, the view from the property across the city to Magnetic Island and beyond was perfect at sunset.

Magnetic Island really is a must-see area of Australia. The natural beauty and relaxed vibe seemed to flow everywhere. I’d love to come back again and explore more of the area, and think you should too!

Let me know in the comments:

Are you planning a trip to Magnetic Island?

horizontal line

Read more about Queensland:

What to do in Townsville: Exploring North Queensland’s Biggest City

City Lane and Townsville’s ‘Bar with Balls’

Exploring the Paluma Ranges National Park

Exploring the Gold Coast Hinterlands by Hot Air Balloon

Exploring Beneath the Surface of the Gold Coast

Gold Coast After Dark – From Craft Ales to Cocktails

horizontal line

Pin me! Share me!

Looking for a tropical getaway in Top North Queensland? Look no further than picturesque Magnetic Island! | 48 hours on Magnetic Island | What to do in Queensland | What to do in Townsville | What to do on Magnetic Island | Things to do in Queensland | Where to see Australian animals in Queensland | Best things to do in Australia | Magnetic Island Race Week

horizontal line

My trip to Townsville and Magnetic Island was arranged by
Tourism & Events Queensland and  Tourism Townsville North Queensland.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Hayley Simpson
    December 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    This is where my parent’s live and where I currently am as I type this. Another tip: the best time to visit is during the Australian winter, because damn it is hot and humid right now! 😉

  • Reply
    December 4, 2014 at 2:13 am

    Magnetic island is one of those place that’s a must. I’ve come so far to would need to visit.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    This is an awesome post and you’ve really captured what to do on a short weekend. Love how you’ve managed to seamlessly include so many details and fun things … great travel writing 🙂 Oh, and thanks for the pic of me with the Koala! What’s that look on my face 😉

  • Reply
    December 7, 2014 at 3:03 am

    I loved Magnetic Island! I spent 2 days there earlier this year and did a lot of the things on your list. The Bush Tucker Breakfast and koala cuddle session was a lot of fun. I’d also recommend going horseback riding with Horseshoe Ranch – they take you down to the beach so you can take the horses for a little swim! 🙂

  • Reply
    Raj Groups
    December 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    beautiful pictures and article!very well presented

  • Reply
    What to do in Townsville, Australia
    March 25, 2015 at 11:48 am

    […] is a quiet achiever, often overshadowed by the island on its doorstep – Magnetic Island – or its more touristy neighbour, Cairns. What people don’t often stop to see is that […]

  • Reply
    April 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Hi – thanks for the great article on Townsville, and all the good mentions of Magnetic Island. Just a note – your reference to The Forts Walk had a link to the Townsville Enterprise website page for The Forts, which is BLANK. 🙁
    Thanks again!

    • Reply
      April 18, 2015 at 2:54 am

      Hi Claudia,

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have double-checked all links and found them to be working.

      If you find one that isn’t working please let me know which paragraph this is in. 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Enjoy the beautiful weather up North!


  • Reply
    Escape to Top North Queensland
    May 25, 2015 at 10:16 am

    […] Click here if you want more suggestions about what to do on Magnetic Island! […]

  • Reply
    Exploring the Paluma Range National Park
    June 10, 2015 at 4:05 am

    […] 48-Hours on Magnetic Island […]

  • Reply
    #RoamAustralia with Europcar
    July 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    […] over to Magnetic Island and feed the wild rock wallabies just before […]

  • Reply
    September 7, 2016 at 4:39 am

    Feeding the rock wallabies and riding around in one of those little volvo looking convertibles looks like fun!

  • Leave a Reply