A Solo Trip to Magnetic Island off the coast of Townsville
After 4 weeks of extensive travelling from Cairns around North Tropical Queensland signed the last destination of the first part of my trip. I really needed a break, a peaceful place where I could relax, fully unwind and finally keep travelling alone around Australia for more weeks.
So after checking all viable train travel options, I grabbed one of the fantastic offers AustraliaRail had launched and got bought an AUS-RailPass for 3 months. Looking closer on the map Magnetic Island was a perfect destination heading south of Cairns.
How to get to Magnetic Island and how to get around
The best way to travel to Magnetic Island is to catch the ferry from Townsville. The service rides every 30 minutes. 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 budget 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.
Things to do on Magnetic Island
When I arrived, I soon realized that travelling around Magnetic Island would not be as relaxing as I had imagined. The island offers too much to do; you cannot just lay around all day at the beach, from various water sports to snorkelling and reef tours, to walking in the national parks. It would be best if you had 3-4 days to visit it all.
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.
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.
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, I was literally 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.
In the picture below, it’s me holding a baby crocodile.
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.
The best tips for visiting Magnetic Island
Finally, my best 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.
Where to Stay in 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. Check this site for comparing and booking Accommodation in Magnetic Island.
If you are on a budget, you can stay at the bungalow bay Koala Village.
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First published in March 2011, last updated in March 2021
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