17 Fun Things to Do in Magnetic Island, Australia

Things to do in Magnetic Island
Disclosure: travellye.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. (paid link)

Magnetic Island is a small island located off the coast of Queensland, Australia. As the name implies, it is covered in many natural magnets. If you want to experience Magnetic Island, you can walk on a magnetic field. 

There are some fantastic attractions on the island, such as bird sanctuaries and mangroves, but the island’s most famous attraction is the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef has been voted one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is visited by thousands of tourists yearly. The island also has a rich culture with its unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Amazing Things to Do in Magnetic Island, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Just offshore from Townsville, Magnetic Island offers a breathtaking background for the well-liked walk down The Strand. The island is well-known for its lovely bays, fantastic rock formations, and unique Hoop Pine trees that cling to the granite boulders between them.

On the list of things to do on Magnetic Island are tame Rock Wallabies, wild koalas, hiking, coral, and marine life.

You can read also: 15 Fun Things to do in Busselton

1. Hiking

Arcadia Lookout Magnetic Island Queensland Australia
Arcadia Lookout, Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia – Wikimedia

Hiking is one of the most incredible things to do on Magnetic Island since it makes sense, given that about 70% of the island is a national and stunning national park. The Forts Walk, a four-kilometre roundtrip climb that leads to historic Second World War defences, is the most well-liked hike on Magnetic Island.

Koalas, which reside in these trees and are frequently just a few metres from the track, are a frequent sight along the Forts Walk.

On Magnetic Island, seven designated walks connect to create around 25 kilometres of hiking pathways. You can travel south and then west along a trail to Picnic Bay from Nelly Bay (where the boat docks), which leads to a lengthy 16-kilometre return route from Picnic Bay to West Point.

From Nelly Bay to the beginning of the Forts Walk, one can travel inland or along the coast when travelling north. From there, two additional trails branch off to the west and east, going to smaller bays along the beach before coming together at Horseshoe Bay to allow you to complete a loop.

2. Beaches

tropical island waves ocean sand preview
tropical, beach, the sea, tree, island, bay | Hippopx

Beaches on Magnetic Island, Australia, are some of the world’s most beautiful and secluded beaches. Their white sand and clear blue water are a paradise for beach lovers. The island is also home to various wildlife, including koalas, wallabies, and echidnas.

While some of the hikes take you to the bays, others concentrate on the island’s inland bush and breathtaking overlooks. And yet another of Magnetic Island’s beauties is the beach within these bays. Another of my favourite things about Magnetic Island is visiting the beaches, which can be reached via boat (more on that in a moment), car, bus, foot, or any combination.

The landscapes are so lovely, the water is so clean, and the sand is so colourful.

Depending on what you’re looking for, Magnetic Island has a variety of beaches for you to choose from. Geoffrey Bay and Horseshoe Bay both have long beaches and are close to stores, making them suitable choices for a quick swim or sunbathing trip.

Arthur Bay, Florence Bay, Radical Bay, and Balding Bay have more intimate and private beaches. These are likely to be much more serene because there are walking routes leading to them rather than driving access, so make sure you bring everything you’ll need for a few hours.

Visitors can take part in activities such as swimming, snorkelling, fishing, and kayaking. Many walking tracks lead to hidden coves and secluded bays. Whether looking for a place to relax or adventure, Magnetic Island has something for you.

3. Aquascene

15548385434 b4d17564cd b
Melichthys niger (black durgon) (San Salvador Island, Baha… | Flickr

An excellent activity on Magnetic Island is taking the Aquascene Discovery Tour. You can visit some of the 23 beaches on this 5-hour custom boat tour of the island without having to walk there (many of the beaches don’t have car access).

Aquascene is a must-see for anyone visiting Magnetic Island! This unique natural phenomenon sees hundreds of fish congregate in the shallow waters near the rocks at Horseshoe Bay each day to be fed by hand by tourists. It’s a truly magical experience and one that you’ll never forget. I took an Aquascene Discovery Tour when I was on Magnetic Island recently, and it was a fantastic experience. 

In addition to learning all there is to know about the island from a local; you’ll be able to go on glass bottom boogie boards, float around on a SUP, snorkel in the best places, and go whale watching (if you visit between June and September). You’re also helping a local company that is in need right now.

Our tour guide, John, was extremely knowledgeable about the fish and their habits, and he took us to some great spots around the island where we could see them up close. The highlight of the tour for me was feeding the fish. 

It was so much fun interacting with them and watching them swarm around my hands for food. If you’re looking for a unique activity on Magnetic Island, I recommend taking an Aquascene Discovery Tour – you won’t be disappointed!

4. Magnetic Island Forts Walk

gnw stage 1
walk stage NSW National Parks

The Forts Walk, which accesses a World War II complex with gun emplacements, a command post, and an observation tower is one of Magnetic Island’s most well-liked walks. It takes 90 minutes to complete. The 4-km Forts Walk is one of the few locations in the world where you can see both World War II artefacts and koalas simultaneously.

This breathtaking walk runs across the island’s bays, providing panoramic views of its countless natural wonders. These are once-in-a-lifetime views, so be sure to bring your camera. The most significant number of wild koalas in Northern Australia can be found here, in addition to 360-degree vistas of the Palm Islands and Bowling Green Bay National Park.

After exploring the forts, look up at the trees and look for the sleeping koalas. Koalas seek a cosy branch to lie against the tree trunk and sleep there during the day.

The trail begins on Horseshoe Bay Road and lasts approximately an hour and a half. Most people agree that taking a walk earlier in the day is preferable before it gets too hot. The rest of the day is yours to cool off by swimming in the ocean or finding a shady area to relax in with a beer.

5. Alma Bay

1280px Alma Bay 15523476014
Alma Bay – Wikimedia

Alma Bay on Magnetic Island is one of Australia’s most beautiful and famous beaches. Alma Bay is a stunning example of what the Great Barrier Reef offers, just off the coast of Townsville in north Queensland. With its clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, Alma Bay is a popular spot for swimming, snorkelling and relaxing. There are plenty of things to do on and around Alma Bay.

If you’re feeling active, you can go for a swim or snorkel in the crystal clear waters or take a walk along the beach. For something more relaxed, you can enjoy the view from the beach or take a scenic drive around Magnetic Island.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay on Magnetic Island, plenty of accommodation options are available near Alma Bay. Whether you’re after a hotel room with views of the beach, or a self-contained apartment overlooking the Bay, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Several trees provide shade, and a lifeguard constantly patrols the beach. Alma Bay also has a sizable children’s playground, restrooms, and showers. Discover the cove created by enormous granite boulders, then take a quiet lunch beneath the towering trees. Spend the day here with your friends and family, or stop by for a morning dip.

6. Geoffrey Bay

tropical 264540 1280
Tropical,beach,bay,secluded,water – needpix

Visits to the rock wallabies at Geoffrey’s Bay are among our favourite Magnetic Island activities. Finding the lovely wallabies residing in Geoffrey’s Bay boulders is a treat. 

They may or may not have been present, but we spotted enough. Geoffrey Bay is well known for its beautiful palm trees, making the ideal backdrop for Instagram photos. It’s also an excellent beach for refreshingly swimming in the glistening blue water.

Am I looking for things to do at Geoffrey Bay on Magnetic Island? Look no further than this comprehensive guide! Geoffrey Bay is home to some of the most stunning beaches and scenery in all of Australia, and there’s plenty to keep you busy whether you’re a nature lover, thrill seeker, or just looking to relax. For starters, be sure to check out Geoffrey Bay Beach. 

This beautiful spot is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying stunning views. If you’re more adventurous, head to Radical Bay for some great hiking and biking trails. 

Or, if you’re looking to escape it all truly, take a day trip to Cape Upstart National Park – one of the most isolated and untouched areas in all of Australia. No matter what your interests are, there’s something for everyone in Geoffrey Bay. 

7. Arthur Bay

39847732171 c8e6571fcb b
Arthur Bay, Magnetic Island | Doug Beckers | Flickr

Arthur Bay is situated on the Northeastern tip of Magnetic Island in Australia. Arthur Bay on Magnetic Island is one of Australia’s most beautiful and unspoiled beaches. It is a lovely natural bay with clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. The beach is a great place to relax and unwind, and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. 

The Bay is also famous for many things. The area surrounding Arthur Bay is a lush rainforest with many walking tracks. There are also some restaurants, cafes and bars located nearby. 

Accommodation options include camping, caravan parks, hotels and apartments. Magnetic Island is a popular tourist destination due to its stunning natural scenery, friendly locals and a plethora of activities. So if you’re looking for a place to relax and soak up the sun, Arthur Bay is the perfect spot!

There are many exciting things to do. You can go swimming, snorkelling, fishing or kayaking, or take a walk along the coastal path. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding! Arthur Bay is also home to various wildlife, including koalas, wallabies and echidnas. 

There are also many birds to spot, such as parrots, kookaburras and rainbow lorikeets. It’s the perfect place to soak up some sun, enjoy the natural beauty of Australia and get away from it all.

Although the weather wasn’t on my side when I visited, I could still picture how lovely it would be on a nice day. There is a fence at the lookout, but there is a section where it is evident that people have walked around it to take pictures of the boulders. Just be careful if you do this, and keep in mind that you are not invincible.

8. Florence Bay

px696848 image
Sea Shore – rawpixel

A tropical sandy beach on Florence Bay Magnetic Island is framed by needle-like She Oak trees, which filter the sun and allow ocean breezes to pass through.

On the map, Florence Bay, on Magnetic Island’s northeastern coast, maybe slightly above Arthur Bay. Enjoy the tranquillity of this Bay’s sandy shoreline while basking in the sun, or take a break under the nearby casuarina trees to watch adventurers out on the water.

Several accommodation options are available in Florence Bay, ranging from camping and caravan parks to luxury resorts. There is also a range of dining options, from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. Whatever your budget or preferences, you can find the perfect place to stay and eat while visiting Florence Bay.

There are some walking tracks in the area so you can explore the beauty of the Bay at your own pace. The birdlife is also spectacular, with over 200 species of birds calling Magnetic Island home. So whether you are looking for a relaxing holiday by the beach or an adventure-filled escape, Florence Bay on Magnetic Island is the perfect place.

9. Balding Bay

Magnetic Island Balding Bay 4074598244
Magnetic Island – Balding Bay – Wikimedia

Balding Bay is a secluded beach located on the northeastern side of Magnetic Island in Australia. This hidden gem is known for its dramatic cliffs, crystal-clear waters and tranquil setting. Visitors can find plenty of peace here and stunning views of the surrounding coastline. Despite its name, Balding Bay is a great place to swim, with its sheltered location and gentle waves. 

Plenty of shady spots to relax on the sand or in the shallows. This is a perfect spot for a picnic or a leisurely day in the sun. For those feeling more adventurous, there are some excellent fishing spots around Balding Bay. The cliffs offer good shelter from the wind, making it ideal for casting a line. There are also many reefs and rocks to explore, providing ample opportunity to catch something interesting!

10. Horseshoe Bay 

Horseshoe Bay Stevage
Horseshoe Bay Stevage – Wikimedia

On Magnetic Island’s northern tip is where Horseshoe Bay is situated. Consequently, numerous cruising sailors reside there, either moored or anchored in Horseshoe Bay.

Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island indeed excels in all areas. It’s beautiful to visit at any time of day, but sunset photography is its top priority.

You have many options when deciding what time of day to visit Magnetic Island Horseshoe Bay because the first ferry to the island departs Townsville at 5:30 am, and the last one returns at 10:00 pm. However, since there is so much to see and do, I advise arriving early and planning to spend the entire day exploring Magnetic Island, especially Horseshoe Bay.

If you’re looking for things to do on Horseshoe Bay magnetic island, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. The beach is excellent for swimming, sunbathing and surfing, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy.

 If you’re feeling active, there are plenty of hiking trails to explore, or you can hire a bike and go for a ride. There’s also a range of boat tours available if you want to get out on the water, and don’t forget to visit the Marine Park Centre to learn more about the local marine life.

11. Nelly Bay

30937208165 1b90628c93 b
Nelly Bay | Wallabies in Nelly Bay, Magnetic Isl… | Flickr

The main residential area of Magnetic Island is Nelly Bay, where you’ll board the ferry from Townsville and disembark. There are numerous places to jump in and dip along the 1.75 km long beach at Nelly Bay. Because the Bay is protected, the water is calm, and only small waves are coming in.

 A snorkelling trail is located along the beach at Nelly Bay’s northern end. A coral reef that borders this location stretches from 10 meters in the west to 300 meters against the western Bright Point. Between Nelly Bay and Townsville, dugongs reside in the seagrass, and in the winter, humpback whales pass by right in front of them.

One of the best things to do on Nelly Bay is to walk along the beautiful coastline. There are plenty of walking tracks to choose from, so you can find one that suits your fitness level. The views from the coastline are stunning, and you might even spot some wildlife along the way!

If you’re after a bit of adventure, why not try your hand at kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding? There are plenty of places to hire equipment, and it’s a great way to explore the area. In addition, there is a fantastic walking route by the shore where you can go for bike rides or morning or evening strolls.

For something more relaxing, head to Picnic Bay Beach, where you can swim, sunbathe, or enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Alternatively, check out Horseshoe Bay Beach, which is perfect for families with young children.

12. West Point

COOLAH TOPS DEP OF ENV 175432 56 1800x1051 1 1
outdoor escapes Visit

Since it had been a long time since we had been to West Point Magnetic Island, and even then, we had been travelling by boat. We had no real idea how the road was going. We were both happy to learn that the bitumen road continued past the golf course at the back of Picnic Bay Magnetic Island since we both had memories of a dirt track from our childhood.

The road surface changed to dirt after five minutes of smugly celebrating our good fortune. Although it wasn’t bad, a few potholes caused us to move more slowly. All the more reason to enjoy the sight and aroma of the wattle trees in bloom and my favourite ocean scent as we got closer to the beach.

This remote township is located down a lengthy, muddy (and occasionally rugged) road; it almost seems like a place that time forgot. West Point, which faces the mainland, is a great place to relax with a drink and nibbles while the sea turns scarlet during the sunset. Because crocodiles are nearby, we do not advise swimming at West Point. However, you should find a spot in the sand by the road to enjoy the evening.

13. The Museum Of Underwater Art

underwater blue caribbean fishes 165 small
Underwater blue

A unique experience can be had at the recently opened Museum of Underwater Art. The Museum of Underwater Art is the only place of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and it is on John Brewer Reef, which lies to the north of Magnetic Island. It is one of the top things to do on Magnetic Island and consists of some underwater artworks and installations erected within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Its purpose was to inform tourists about the indigenous culture of the area and the value of protecting this natural beauty inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Snorkelers, certified divers, and divers who have never dived before can all explore the Museum of Underwater Art. It includes the “Coral Greenhouse,” located about two hours by boat from the coast and sits at a maximum depth of 18 metres below sea level, in addition to the “Ocean Sire” statue in Townsville’s shallow foreshore. A popular activity on Magnetic Island is to explore below the water’s surface.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which emphasizes reef conservation, restoration, and education worldwide, is the first of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. We can’t wait to revisit Townsville and learn more about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! So please put it on your bucket list right now, be sincere!

The Magnetic Island dive facility is scheduled to open in December 2021 and offers four dive spots to explore. The renowned greenhouse site is currently accessible from Townsville.

14. Swim At Picnic Bay

4969838751 ce88a9269c b
Picnic Bay Surf Livesaving Club Boat | A boat sits on the be… | Flickr

Due to its specially made stinger nets, Picnic Bay, located at the southernmost point of Magnetic Island, is a great place to swim in the summer. From the jetty, you can cast a line to see what’s biting or relax and take in the breathtaking view of Townsville at sunset. 

The only fully fenced playground on the island is available for children to run around, while golfers can test their skills at the Magnetic Island Country Club, which is tucked behind Picnic Bay. Visitors can rent clubs and carts at the club, and night golf is also an option. Several animals, including kangaroos, koalas, and colourful native birds, call the course home so that you won’t play golf alone.

15. Go Snorkelling in clear waters 

Great Barrier Reef
Wikimedia

There are many locations on Magnetic Island where you can go snorkelling, and if you pick up a map of Magnetic Island at the ferry port, it will have the top Magnetic Island snorkelling locations marked on it. Additionally, the map is waterproof so that you may swim with it!

Along with those locations, there is a route you can take for underwater snorkelling. Since Magnetic Island is truly a part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, you can imagine how incredible the snorkelling is there. White buoys that mark the trail will be visible in the water while you swim.

Two trails are incredibly well-liked. The simpler of the two is located not far from Nelly Bay. Beginners will love this snorkelling trail because it is shallow and doesn’t require a lot of swimming.

16. Sailing

whitsunday islands queensland sailing preview
sailing | Hippopx

A sailing ship is an additional means of viewing the island from the water. On Magnetic Island, you can choose from a few sailing firms that will charter yachts for a full day or possibly just a shorter excursion. You can use the ships in various ways, with multiple pricing options, private packages, and small group cruises. Look at Pilgrim Sailing and Big Mama Sailing for further details.

One of the most incredible things on Magnetic Island is to take one of the sailing tours around sunset while sipping a couple of drinks and watching the sky become a brilliant orange.

17. Hire a Pink Barbie Car

14507681525 a1c45615d6 b
BARBIE’S LITTLE PINK CAR – Flickr

One of the recognizable things to do on Magnetic Island is rent a “Barbie Car.” There is just one main road that covers less than half of the island’s total area. It takes around 10 minutes to travel from the south to the north by car.

Nevertheless, compared to the once-hourly bus system, this tiny automobile makes commuting simpler. Barbie’s miniature Daihatsu Miras, available in Pink and White, are real cars.

Final Thought

On Magnetic Island, 52 square kilometres of beauty are waiting to be discovered, and the best way to do so is in a topless automobile. So turn on some tropical music and ride around in one of the cutest tiny beach buggies ever, with the choice to rent for a day, a whole day, or longer.

You will be given a map outlining the must-see island sites when you are picked up, conveniently located at the Nelly Bay boat station. It will help you get oriented. In addition, you will receive accessible child seats and boosters if you are travelling with youngsters so they can enjoy the entire cruise.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Hi, I'm Md Abid Hasan. The owner & content editor of Travellye.com. Travellye.com is a travel blog that covers road trips, day trips, and destinations guide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *