Guide | Magnetic Island
Magnetic Island, or as it's lovingly known to locals, "Maggie Island" is just as cute as it sounds. It is definitely small with about 70% of it being a national park, but it was really refreshing to be on such a small island and surrounded by some good old-fashioned nature. Some people skip it on their way down the coast, but I'm very happy we decided to stop. We spent two nights and three days-ish (our last day we left pretty early so let's call it two days) and that was more than enough time. So, if you find yourself there asking what to do on Magnetic Island, read on.
We stayed at Bungalow Bay Koala Village and it was a great place to stay. This place is very chill, which I really enjoyed. They have a great lounge area in the front that's essentially a giant covered porch - it has a bunch of giant bean bags, booths, and other great seating to lounge around in. The rooms are large and in these cool triangular huts, it's clean, and the top bunk wasn’t right up against the ceiling - which is honestly all you can ask for when staying in a hostel. They also give you a free drink upon arrival, nice touch. The other bonus of staying here is that it doubles as a koala sanctuary! You can pre-book the tour but they offer it three times/day and is right on site. Our tour guide was super informative and nice and at the end you get to hold a koala (!!). You also get to play with a couple of crazy birdos, hold a baby crocodile, hold a few different types of lizards, and also a giant snake. Then at the end you get to snuggle with a koala and they take a photo of you that's a little corny, but nice to have for mom & dad. This place is also a five minute walk from the beach and close to a couple of cute cafes. Definitely recommend.
Really the only other hostel on the island is Base Camp Hostel. We didn't stay here but I've heard good things! The main draw to this one is that it's essentially the only place to "go out" on the island, so this is probably where you'll find everyone at night.
On Magnetic Island
The Forts Hike
This is a really nice hike! It’s called The Forts because well… I won’t bore you with the historic details, partly because I don’t know them and I’ll do a bad job at paraphrasing. If you are interested, just read the actual details here. What me and the 11-year-old boy inside of me can tell you, is that there are a bunch of remnants of forts there that are really fun to climb on and explore as you hike. It’s about a 90 minute return hike and you’ll have some seriously amazing views. This hike probably has some of my favorite lookout points from any hike I’ve done in Australia. You get to go on the roof of a torn down building when you get to the top, and for that alone it’s worth it. There’s different terrain so you don’t get bored and added bonus! You will most likely see a few wild koalas along the way if you look up in the trees as you walk. It’s koala central on Magnetic! Do the hike, you won’t regret it. (Also there’s not much else to do…)
Really yum Cafe by Horseshoe Bay. Kenyon and I went here for lunch/coffee and highly recommend it. They have cool food combos and delicious coffee. This was during my pre-vegetarian days so I had a pulled pork sandwich, a classic but they had this dijon mustard on it that made it extra delicious. They do have a lot of vegetarian/vegan options as well! Kenyon did have a fresh and delicious wrap with tons of great veggies though. If you stay at Bungalow Bay, definitely check them out.
Bungalow Bay Koala Sanctuary
I know I already talked about this above, but just mentioning it again because you don’t have to be staying at the hostel to take the tour! So even if you’re staying at Base, head on over to Bungalow Bay for their tour. The Koalas they have were injured on the island (one was hit by a car!) and they care for them there, which is cool. Well, koalas getting hit by cars isn’t cool - Bungalow Bay caring for them is. Also you get to hold other cool reptiles. Also also our tour guide was funny.
Feeding Rock Wallabies!
Definitely my favorite part - the Magnetic Island rock wallabies! You’ll want to head to Geoffrey Bay for this one and follow Arcadia Jetty Road. If you take the bus though, the bus drivers are always super friendly and they’ll let you know when to get off. Just walk quietly along the road (you’ll see everyone else doing it as well) and you’ll see little rock wallabies starting to come out! Go around five or six as that’s when they’re used to people coming to feed them so you’re most likely to see them at this time. Your hostel will probably give you feed to give to them if you ask but you can also bring apples and bananas to feed them! Don’t be scared and when you see one, just walk slowly up to them holding the food out and they will literally eat right from your hand. I was lucky and spotted three little wallaby friends hanging out and got to feed all three of them at the same time. Enjoy! They are cuties.
That was honestly about all we did on Magnetic Island, aside from chilling at the hostel and having a few beers which honestly goes without saying. It’s a nice place to just chill and relax, especially after Cairns where you probably either: partied every day and need a little detox, or got up early every day and took a bunch of day trips. Either way, just go and enjoy the wildlife, views, and solitude that Maggie Island has to offer. Enjoy, friends!