Things To Do In Magnetic Island Solo
A Solo Trip to Magnetic Island off the coast of Townsville
I first visited Magnetic Island in North Tropical Queensland, on my solo trip in 2011 from Cairns. It’s a beach and hiking paradise just off the coast of Townsville, 4 hours drive south of Cairns. If you want to relax and unwind, and spend time in nature, Magnetic Island is one of those places that will make you fall in love.
How to get to Magnetic Island and how to get around
The best way to travel to take the train from Cairns to Townsville and catch the 30 min ferry from Townsville. Once you reach the island, a public bus takes you from the ferry terminal through the island stopping at several resorts and main places.
I had booked my accommodation on Magnetic Island close to Horseshoe Bay in the northeast part of the island. Unless you have your own vehicle, you must use either the bus which rides every hour.
The alternative was hiring a mini moke car, one of that funny topless car, or if you prefer, hire a scooter, which is perfect fun.
Tips for visiting Magnetic Island on a Solo Trip
My tips for visiting Magnetic Island on a solo trip.
- Plan at least 3 full days.
- Visit between April-May before it gets bustling in the winter months.
- Hire a car or a scooter to make the most of it.
- Alternatively, buy a daily bus pass to navigate the island.
- Bring your own food; there are a few food shops and only one expensive IGA at the Ferry Terminal.
Things to do on Magnetic Island
When I arrived, I realised that travelling around Magnetic Island would be more challenging than I thought. The island offers so much to do; from hiking to various water sports to snorkelling and reef tours, to walking in the national parks. It would be best if you had 4-5 days to visit it all.
1. Walking on the island
Especially the walks on Magnetic Island make it into a paradise for wildlife and hiking lovers. 75% of the island is a national park with rich wildlife, so, if you are lucky, you can spot Koalas in the wild on the Forts Walk or feed rock wallabies at Arcadia Beach. And see lots of Kookaburras. They are literally everywhere.
Walking is the best way to discover Magnetic Island. There are 9 main walking trails to choose from, or if you can, do all of them. They take you to secluded little bays or a beautiful lookout with stunning views over the coastal cliffs and the blue ocean.
In two days, I could see much of the island. This walking trail sign shows one of the many Walks on Magnetic Island winding through the national park’s dry forest to secluded little bays and lookouts with stunning views over the coast.
Here below just a few photos to get an idea of what Magnetic Island offers. This is Balding Bay, a beautiful secluded tiny little bay.
2. Relax at the isolated beaches
My favourite beach on Magnetic Island is Radical Bay, where I went for a swim. I felt comfortable on a large beach shore, with some sign of life around me. You can see Radical Bay and, on the right-hand side, a gorgeous view over Rocky Beach in the photos below.
This is me enjoying the beach almost by myself at Radical Bay on Magnetic Island.
3. Enjoy the abundant wildlife
I was not lucky to spot either a koala or a rock wallaby in the wild. Still, as I stayed in the bungalow bay koala village, which is surrounded by fruit bats, kookaburras, geese, possums, lorikeets.
Within the Bungalow Bay Koala Village, you can take a tour through the Australian wildlife sanctuary and the koala hospital, where you can hold snakes, echidna, lizards, a baby croc or cuddle a koala.
4. Soak in the island sunsets
On such a beautiful island, you cannot miss out on a lovely sunset. I took this picture below at Geoffrey Bay, close to Alma Bay.
Where to Stay on Magnetic Island
The best place to stay on Magnetic Island is Arcadia, it is very central and close to anything else, has gorgeous beaches like Alma Beach, and from there you can start some of the beautiful walks too. If you are on a budget, stay at the bungalow bay Koala Village. Check this site for booking Accommodation on Magnetic Island.
Tours on Magnetic Island
If you want to join an organised tour of the island or go on a guided hike or a sunset cruise, check out all the day tours you can book here below.
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First published in March 2011, last updated in Jan 2022
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May 29, 2011 @ 4:36 pm
looks beautiful indeed. Beach holidays are my favourite.. how does one get to Magnetic Island from KL? (haha.. kidding: P )
May 31, 2011 @ 5:34 pm
It truly is a wonderful island. If you love hiking and beautiful secluded beaches, Magnetic Island is the perfect gateway from Cairns, or better from Townsville! From K.L. you’d better fly to Cairns and from there hire a car to Townsville to then catch the ferry! 🙂