3 Days in Magnetic Island: The ultimate guide to paradise
Ah Magnetic Island. I had heard so many good things about you before I visited and it is so clear to see why. If you're a lover of relaxing by the sea, exploring new places and feeling like you're in a tropical paradise then a visit to Maggie Island should definitely be on the cards for you.
I spent a total of 2 nights here and it felt like the perfect amount of time to explore and see everything I wanted to see. If you're a slow paced traveller and like to take some time to relax then you could definitely spend longer here too. If you're planning a trip and looking for some tips on what to do and how to fit it all in then check out my ultimate guide below!
Get the Greyhound bus from Airlie Beach to Townsville
As I travelled North up the East Coast of Australia, I came from Airlie Beach to Townsville. If you are travelling South, you will probably be arriving from Cairns or Mission Beach as they are the most popular stops before it. The Greyhound bus from Airlie Beach to Townsville takes approximately 5 hours, depending on what bus you choose. We took the 7am bus as it meant that we would arrive in Townsville at 12:00pm, giving us plenty of time to get over to Magnetic Island before it got too late. The Greyhound bus is the easiest way to travel to Townsville to catch the ferry to Maggie island and is so stress free and easy! Seats can be booked online in advance and all of the buses have free Wi-Fi, charging points and reclining seats on board... So sit back and relax! Next stop, Paradise...
Grab a ride on the ferry from outside the Greyhound stop to Magnetic island
The Greyhound bus stop in Townsville is right outside of the Ferry terminal where you hop on the boat to Magnetic Island. A return ticket costs just $30 if you purchase it online in advance, and it can be collected at the desk when you arrive. If you'd prefer to just wait and purchase your ticket once you get there, it will cost you an extra $4 - coming in at a total of $34. The ferry ride across takes approximately 20 minutes and goes pretty quickly and smoothly. My only advice here would be to get on the boat last if you have big backpacks. We were amongst the first to board and found ourselves digging our bags out of a luggage avalanche when we went to get off the boat haha.
Check in to your accommodation and get comfortable
To me, this part is very important with any trip. I like to get checked in to the place I am staying, get rid of my huge backpack and cool down in the AC to de-stress before heading out anywhere to explore. We stayed at Bungalow Bay Koala Village during our time in Magnetic Island and absolutely loved it! There are plenty of room types available to suit every travellers needs. We stayed in a private double room and it was just adorable. I mean how cute are these little bungalows?! Private rooms do not have their own bathroom but shared toilets and showers are available just a short walk away. There is also a shared kitchen facility on site to accommodate the budget lifestyle when you've spent a little too much haha (it happens to us all!)
Head to Bungalow Bay YHA and feed the tropical birds
If you're not staying here already, hop on the bus to Bungalow Bay Koala Village to feed the tropical birds. This takes place every day at 16:30 and is completely free to everyone, even if you are not staying on site. Bird food is provided and it is a really cool experience. Although, you might want to prepare yourself for mild chaos as the birds compete against each other to be fed!
Catch a ride to Geoffrey Bay to feed the Rock Wallabies
One of the great things about Magnetic Island is that a lot of the activities and things to do are completely free. Once you're done feeding the birds, catch a ride or hop on a bus to Geoffrey Bay to find some Rock Wallabies. They only come out early in the morning or late in the afternoon so after you've finished feeding the birds is perfect timing. If you want to feed them while you are there you have two options: Either take some apple or sweet potato with you or head to the newsagent in Arcadia and grab a bag of Wallaby food.
Treat yourself to an early night
Day 2 is going to be a busy one! Try and grab an early night so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the jam packed day ahead. Most car hire places also open from 8am so if you want to be first in line to pick what car you want then you'll need to catch some ZZZ's early on.
Hire a car and drive around the island
If like me you've always wanted to live out your barbie car dreams, this is about to get reaaaally exciting for you! One of the top things to do on Magnetic island is to hire a car and find all the best spots. The most popular way to do this is to hire a Topical Topless Car - costing $80 aud for the day. We also paid an additional $12 aud for insurance, just incase anything happened to go wrong. I loved having our little orange bundle of fun for the day. They're actually kinda weird to drive and it takes some getting used to but the novelty was definitely there!
Some of the spots that we visited that I'd recommend are:
Forts Walk - Spot wild koalas, see fort ruins and soak in the amazing views. Do not go here at the hottest time of the day as it is a long walk with an incline and little shade.
Horseshoe Bay - Go for a dip in the sea (Stinger net safe) and grab some lunch at Marlin Bar Tavern. (Daily deals available on food and drinks)
There are also some snorkelling opportunities on the island. Although we didn't make it to any of these spots some of the most popular ones are Nelly Bay, Florence Bay and Alma Bay.
Head back to your accommodation for a night of socialising
We had some friends staying in Magnetic Island at the same time as us so we decided to spend the night with them and take part in the free nightly activity at our hostel. Tuesday nights is Trivia night in Bungalow Bay so we tried our luck at the quiz and actually won it! The prize was a jug of beer or cider. I'd also recommend trying the frozen Piña Coladas if you're popping by Bungalow Bay - They are quite possibly the best Piña Colada I have ever had!
Check out of your accommodation and head to breakfast with the koalas at Bungalow Bay Koala Village
Breakfast with the Koalas at Bungalow Bay Koala Village is held every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It starts at 8:30am but you will need to arrive 15 minutes early to check in and meet the zoo keeper. The breakfast is all cooked by chefs and is absolutely delicious. Both hot and cold options are available and include the below:
Pancakes served with a selection of toppings
Gourmet bacon and eggs served on a Brioche Roll
Garlic mushrooms served with Spinach and Tomato
Fresh local fruits and yoghurt
Cereals and toast
Fresh filter coffee and tea
Fresh fruit juices and flavored milks
I opted for the pancakes with Nutella and berries and they were absolutely delicious. Once you have eaten your breakfast the zoo keeper will take you over to see the koalas and even some other animals too.
Koala cuddle and photo opp
For an additional $30 aud on top of the breakfast experience you can book in to have a cuddle and your photo taken with one of the koalas. Since being in Australia I have become slightly obsessed with them so this was something that I was sooo excited about doing. The koala that we had for our meet and greet was called pebbles and she was nothing short of adorable. That was one huge tick off of the bucket list for me!
Once you have finished having breakfast with the Koalas, hop on the bus to the Ferry Port (stops right outside Bungalow Bay) and head to Townsville. Once you are there, you can jump on another Greyhound Bus and start your next adventure!
This post contains gifted experiences to promote Greyhound Australia and Bungalow Bay Koala Village. Please be assured that all views are my own and I have not been instructed on what to include in this piece.