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  • Lisa

The best free things to do on Magnetic Island!

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Magnetic Island, just off the coast of Townsville in Queensland, really is an island paradise.

It has beautiful beaches and incredible bushwalking trails, as well as places to see the cutest wild animals. And the best part is that many of the best things you can do won’t cost you a cent!

We spent a week on Maggie and it was absolute heaven, for both us grown-ups and the kids. This is a list of our favourite free things to do to have an unforgettable (and budget-friendly!) family holiday.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links and any bookings made through such links will award me a small commission (at absolutely no extra cost for you).

Not only do you get incredible views and to explore the old WW2 fortifications, but you can (hopefully!) see koalas in the trees along the track!

It’s an easy 4km return walk, although some of the ruins do require you to climb up ladders.

The views out to the ocean from the ruins are just breathtaking!

Our favourite beach - Alma Bay

With its calm waters and beautiful surroundings, Alma Bay is a perfect spot to spend a day on the beach with your kids!

There are toilets, picnic tables, BBQs and a playground, and there are usually lifeguards patrolling the beach. There are some awesome rocks to climb along the sides of the beach as well!

Our favourite animal encounter - the rock wallabies at Geoffrey Bay

This part of the island is famous for its rock wallabies - the cutest little marsupials.

They are around this spot all day, but if you arrive just after sunset you will get to see the most! Geoffrey Bay is also a great snorkelling spot.

Our favourite sunset spot - West Point

Located on the western side of the island, 11km from Nelly Bay, this secluded beach gives you front row seats to an incredible sunset.

There is a dirt road to get there, so after heavy rain it might not be driveable for 2WD, but in the dry season it is an easy drive (probably not allowed in a rental car though).

Located between Geoffrey Bay and Alma Bay, we discovered this pub on our last day and wish we had found it earlier!

They have a pool and an arcade for kids, and the food is pretty good pub food and a kids’ menu. It’s a great place to relax with a drink while the kids play.

You’ll find incredibly good coffee at this little van!

They serve snacks as well and there is a pool on site, although we never swam there.

This was the best coffee that we had in ages and we were regular visitors during our stay.

Although there are some super cute little convertible hire cars on the island, we loved that we could take our van over on the car ferry and have our own way to get around the island (with all our stuff!).

Of course this isn’t free - if you book online, it’ll cost $231/256 depending on the season for a return car ticket and up to 5 people, but you need to get to and around the island somehow!

Where we stayed

We stayed at this property in Picnic Bay. We loved it because it had 2 bedrooms (the main with a queen sized bed) as well as a sofa bed in the lounge room. There is a pool, shared laundry facilities and WIFI, as well as off-street parking (although our van was too high to fit in). It was a quick walk to the beach, and a good spot to stay to explore the island.

Where we would love to stay

Peppers Blue on Blue is a very fancy 5 star hotel in Nelly Bay (which is where the ferries dock, and there are lots of cafes and restaurants as well as two small supermarkets. They have 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments with kitchens and laundry facilities. They have two pools and are located down by the marina, so there are lovely views. It's definitely not the cheapest option though, with rooms starting around the $500 mark per night.

There is so much to do on Magnetic Island, these are just a few of them! We will definitely head back, as even after a week we were still discovering new things to do. If you have been to Maggie and I have missed any of your fave free things to do, let me know so I can add it to the list!


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