Searching for the best accommodation on Magnetic Island?
Located just a short ferry ride from Townsville, Queensland, this picturesque island offers some of the best beaches, hikes, and fun-filled adventures for all types of travelers.
There is no shortage of places to stay on the island as there are plenty of Magnetic Island accommodation options to suit all budgets.
In this guide, you’ll discover my top picks of accommodation on Magnetic Island in each area including luxury, mid-range, and budget hotels across the island.
QUICK PICKS: 3 BEST HOTELS IN MAGNETIC ISLAND
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read this full guide, these are the 3 best hotels in Magnetic Island to suit all budgets.
Best Luxury Hotel In Magnetic Island
Sails on Horseshoe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Excellent service and rooms
- Lovely swimming pool, BBQ, and balcony
- Minutes away from Magnetic Island National Park
Best Mid-Range Hotel In Magnetic Island
Banyak Villa ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Lovely swimming pool and outdoor area
- Modern and beautiful 4-bedroom holiday home
- Perfect accommodation for friends and families
Best Budget Hotel In Magnetic Island
Arcadia Beach Guest House ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Free parking on-site
- Beautiful and comfortable rooms
- Only 3 minutes away from Nelly Bay
ACCOMMODATION ON MAGNETIC ISLAND – FAQ
Before I dive into all the Magnetic Island accommodation options, here are some quick answers to the most frequently asked questions by travelers.
WHAT IS THE BEST SIDE OF MAGNETIC ISLAND?
Magnetic Island offers a variety of majestic sights to witness, but one bay stands out in particular which is Horseshoe Bay.
From exciting watersports to coastal walks and a weekend market, Horseshoe Bay offers something for everyone including families, solo travelers, and couples.
Plus, the hotels and villas here are fantastic, which is an added bonus.
WHERE TO STAY IN MAGNETIC ISLAND FOR FAMILIES?
The best place to stay in Magnetic Island for families is Nelly Bay since most locals live here and you can find many great restaurants, shops, and attractions.
No matter what kind of vacation experience you’re after, Nelly Bay has it all – swimming, sunbaking, snorkeling, playgrounds, and more.
WHERE TO STAY IN MAGNETIC ISLAND FOR NIGHTLIFE?
The best area on Magnetic Island for nightlife is Horseshoe Bay, Nelly Bay, and Picnic Bay.
Each of these areas has options for a night on the town. There are a couple of bars and restaurants open late at night where you can enjoy yourself.
RELATED ARTICLE → 30 THINGS TO DO ON MAGNETIC ISLAND
IS MAGNETIC ISLAND EXPENSIVE?
Yes, Magnetic Island is quite an expensive place to visit.
Not only will you have to factor in flights, ferries, and accommodation costs, but daily living expenses are also quite high in comparison with other places in Australia.
Eating out will cost you at least AU $30 to AU $50 per meal, while a night at an average hotel will set you back about AU $150 per night.
In saying that, you can do Maggie on a budget by shopping at the supermarket and cooking your own food, plus all the walking trails and beaches are free things to do on the island.
WHERE TO STAY ON MAGNETIC ISLAND
There are four main areas to stay on the island, each offering coastal views, restaurants and cafes, retail stores, and more!
See below for an overview of the four main areas to stay on Magnetic Island which I have included in this guide:
- Horseshoe Bay – Where to stay on Magnetic Island for first-timers
- Arcadia and Alma Bay – Best area in Magnetic Island for snorkeling
- Nelly Bay – Best place to stay in Magnetic Island for families
- Picnic Bay – Where to stay in Magnetic Island for wildlife
HORSESHOE BAY – WHERE TO STAY IN MAGNETIC ISLAND FOR FIRST-TIMERS
Tucked away on the north side of Magnetic Island, Horseshoe Bay is home to over 3km of beautiful sandy beaches and is famed for its cafes and restaurants, watersports activities, retail shopping, and Sunday markets.
These are my top picks for accommodation on Magnetic Island in Horseshoe Bay for all budgets.
LUXURY: SAILS ON HORSESHOE
This four-star accommodation situated right on the beach is one of the best hotels in Magnetic Island.
The property offers self-catering apartments, with an outdoor pool, hot tub, and barbeque area located in the tropical gardens for all guests.
Right on the beach in Horseshoe Bay, you are within walking distance of all local cafes and restaurants and the local watersport facilities.
Rooms and really well presented and fully equipped with a kitchen and bathroom as well as indoor and outdoor seating areas.
Each apartment has breathtaking views of the tropical gardens and out across the bay.
This is a great accommodation in Magnetic Island for families and couples looking for a little bit extra comfort and the privacy of the self-catering living.
MID-RANGE: BANYAK VILLA
The villa is situated in the heart of Horseshoe Bay and comes equipped with an outdoor pool, outdoor decking areas, and beautiful views out across the tropical landscape and bay.
Perfectly located within Horseshoe Bay, you are within walking distance of local cafes and restaurants as well as being close to the beach.
This Magnetic Island accommodation is fully equipped with a kitchen, living room, outdoor seating area, private pool and bathrooms, and sleeping for up to six people.
Well-presented with modern, colorful decor this is a great place to stay on Magnetic Island.
This is the perfect accommodation on Magnetic Island for families or large groups traveling together.
BUDGET: BUNGALOW BAY KOALA VILLAGE
Situated in the middle of Horseshoe Bay, this YHA Hostel provides a comfortable and stylish living for its guests.
Complete with an outdoor pool and sun loungers and hammocks around the accommodation, the hostel also offers an onsite bar and the hire of snorkeling equipment and bikes.
Right in the center of Horseshoe Bay, you are right in the midst of the Koala sanctuary and only a five-minute walk from local cafes, restaurants, and the beach for snorkeling and diving.
This Magnetic Island accommodation provides bungalow-style living in small beach huts. All are well presented with bed linen provided and all have access to a shared bathroom.
This is a fantastic Magnetic Island accommodation for solo backpackers, couples, and groups of friends traveling on a budget.
ARCADIA & ALMA BAY – BEST AREA IN MAGNETIC ISLAND FOR SNORKELING
One of the smaller bays on the island, Arcadia and Alma Bay is a great location for swimming and snorkeling.
With a beautifully presented beach and small town, this is a great place to consider when searching for where to stay on Magnetic Island.
These are my top picks for accommodation in Magnetic Island in Arcadia and Alma Bay.
MID-RANGE: ARCADIA VILLAGE MOTEL
This well-presented motel overlooking the bay features three bars that regularly play live music and two outdoor swimming pools.
Guests are able to book boat tours and jet skiing trips from the front desk.
Located right on the beach, this accommodation at Magnetic Island is within walking distance of the town’s cafes and bars and local hiking trails to take you to other nearby beaches.
If you are looking for a great spot to explore the island this is a great property for anyone traveling on a mid-range budget.
Rooms are well presented with clean white décor and all come with private bathrooms. Tea and coffee facilities are provided in each room and you can enjoy spectacular views out across the bay.
Arcadia Village Motel comes as a highly recommended accommodation in Magnetic Island for small families or groups and couples.
MID-RANGE: DANDALOO GARDENS
Dandaloo Gardens accommodation in Magnetic Island comprises self-catering units, with an outdoor swimming pool, garden, and barbeque area.
Set in tropical gardens this property has a tranquil and peaceful vibe.
Located in Arcadia, you are within walking distance of Alma Bay and other local beaches as well as all local cafes and restaurants.
The self-catering units are really well presented with hardwood flooring throughout.
All have a kitchen, living room, and dining area, as well as a private bathroom with views over the pool area.
This is one of the better hotels on Magnetic Island for families and groups as well as couples traveling on a mid-range budget.
BUDGET: ARCADIA BEACH GUEST HOUSE
This well-presented guest house features an outdoor pool and bar facilities, as well as a shared kitchen and laundromat for guest use, and breakfast is included.
Located right near the beach, you are within walking distance of local cafes and restaurants making this a great accommodation for any backpacker.
Rooms are well presented and have double or family rooms available as well as outdoor tent facilities. All come with private bathrooms and patios.
This is a highly recommended Magnetic Island accommodation for couples or solo backpackers.
NELLY BAY – BEST PLACE TO STAY IN MAGNETIC ISLAND FOR FAMILIES
When traveling to Magnetic Island, the ferry will bring you into Nelly Bay and as such makes this the tourist hub of the island.
With its picturesque harbor and an array of cafes and restaurants, this is a great place to stay on Magnetic Island if you are looking for the busier side of island life.
These are my top picks of accommodation in Magnetic Island in Nelly Bay for each budget.
LUXURY: PEPPERS BLUE ON BLUE
This five-star hotel in Magnetic Island is set right in Nelly Bay with views out over the marina and the surrounding mountains.
Boasting a large outdoor swimming pool and a spa with an extensive menu of treatments, it is also home to the Boardwalk Restaurant which serves a fresh tropical menu while you dine overlooking the bay.
Set in the heart of Nelly Bay, you are within walking distance of the beach and all local cafes and restaurants as well as being nearby to the island’s national parks.
Rooms are beautifully presented with private bathrooms and suites are available with living areas.
Some rooms have balconies overlooking the bay whilst others have a terrace with access to the pool.
Peppers Blue On Blue comes highly recommended for couples looking for that little something extra when searching for accommodation in Magnetic Island.
MID-RANGE: ISLAND LEISURE RESORT
This Magnetic Island resort offers self-contained bungalows with guest access to an outdoor pool, spa, tennis courts, and a bar.
This is an exceptional property for anyone traveling on a mid-range budget.
Just 50 yards from the beach, it is just a 15-minute walk to the ferry and the harbor complex as well as just a 5-minute drive from the golf course.
Rooms are well presented with high wooded ceilings, tiled floors, and a private patio. All feature a kitchen and living area as well as an en-suite bathroom to the bedroom.
Island Leisure Resort is best suited for couples and small families.
BUDGET: BASE BACKPACKERS MAGNETIC ISLAND
Base Backpackers Magnetic Island youth hostel is in the heart of Nelly Bay and offers a bar, swimming pool, barbeque facilities, bike hire, and a games room.
Nightly activities are put on for guests and once a month the hostel hosts a full moon party.
Located right on the beach, you are within walking distance of the ferry and the harbor complex with its array of cafes and restaurants.
Rooms are dormitory-style with access to a shared bathroom but with the option of a private double room available.
The whole complex is set out to a really high standard and is definitely worth a stay on the island.
This is the perfect accommodation in Magnetic Island for any backpacker, whether traveling alone, in couples, or as part of a larger group.
PICNIC BAY – WHERE TO STAY ON MAGNETIC ISLAND FOR WILDLIFE
Located on the southernmost corner of the island, Picnic Bay is home to a small population with endless beauty and tranquillity.
With its sweeping beach and famous jetty, Picnic Bay is the place to stay on Magnetic Island if you are looking for the quiet paradise that this island has to offer.
These are my top picks for accommodation at Magnetic Island in Picnic Bay.
MID-RANGE: TROPICAL PALMS INN RESORT
Set in lovely gardens, Tropical Palms Inn Resort offers its guests an outdoor swimming pool and barbeque area as well as the means to book fishing and sailing trips around the island from the front desk.
Just a 2-minute walk from the beach, this Magnetic Island resort is located right on the edge of the National Park and is within walking distance of the golf course and local cafes and restaurants.
This is an awesome accommodation in Magnetic Island for travelers with a mid-range budget.
Rooms are well presented and feature a fully equipped kitchenette and seating area with a flat-screen tv.
Bedrooms all have private bathrooms and family rooms are available.
This Magnetic Island accommodation is best suited for families and couples traveling on a mid-range budget.
This hostel-style accommodation Magnetic Island offers a year-round swimming pool and barbeque facilities for guest use, as well as access to a shared kitchen.
This is a great place to stay on Magnetic Island for any budget backpacker.
Located in the bay, you are within walking distance of the local cafes and restaurants and the beach as well as being just a short drive from the ferry port.
Rooms are basic but well presented at this Magnetic Island accommodation and all come with a fridge and a sink.
Twin and double rooms are available as well as larger sharing rooms and all have access to a shared bathroom.
This is great for any backpacker traveling solo, as a couple, or as a group of friends.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
HOW TO GET TO MAGNETIC ISLAND
The best way to reach the island from Townsville is with the Magnetic Island Ferry which takes just 25 minutes on the passenger ferry or 45 minutes on the car ferry.
GET YOUR TICKET → MAGNETIC ISLAND FERRY
The Magnetic Island Ferry Terminal is located at Ross Street, South Townsville, and there are several ferries departing each day.
It is possible to bring your own vehicle with you on the ferry as well, be aware that pre-booking is essential to secure a spot for you and your car.
I have put together a separate guide that has everything you need to know about the Magnetic Island Ferry including prices, timetables, and terminal locations to help you plan your trip ahead of time.
FULL BLOG POST → HOW TO GET TO MAGNETIC ISLAND
GETTING AROUND MAGNETIC ISLAND
Once you’ve made it to paradise and checked into your accommodation in Magnetic Island, you have multiple options on how to get around the island’s 40 kilometers of roads.
The first option you have is to bring your own vehicle with you on the Magnetic Island ferry.
If you come for a couple of days or even weeks, this is definitely the cheapest option.
You can bring your own bike on the ferry free of charge. Just keep in mind there are lots of hills on the island, so I wouldn’t recommend this during the summer months.
Rent a car:
Choose one of the many cars at Best of Magnetic Car Rental.
Go topless in one of the island’s iconic Barbie cars or hire a 4×4 to take you safely down all the dirt roads to some of the more remote locations.
Depending on the vehicle, rentals start at around $69 a day.
Car Rental – Search, Compare & Save!
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Find the right car, in the right place, for the best price guaranteed!
Rent a scooter:
An easy and fun way to explore all of the best things to do on Magnetic Island is by scooter.
Road Runner Scooter Hire offers a wide range of different single and dual-seat scooters. Rates start at $40 per scooter per day.
Sunbus is the public bus service on Magnetic Island and has 29 bus stops located throughout the island.
The service runs regularly and reliably from one end of the island to the other from morning till night.
The bus meets arriving visitors at the ferry terminal in Nelly Bay and stops conveniently near all of the accommodations.
You can purchase single, daily, and weekly tickets or purchase a ferry and bus package from the Breakwater Terminal in Townsville.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MAGNETIC ISLAND
With its stable climate and pleasant day and night temperatures, Magnetic Island is enjoyable to visit all year round.
If I had to pick the best time of the year to visit and book your accommodation on Magnetic Island I would say during the dry season between May and November, just because the high humidity during summer months can be very tiring for visitors unaccustomed to a tropical climate.
Summer (November – March) is also the season for marine stingers, but be mindful and careful all year round.
Horseshoe Bay and Picnic Bay are protected by a stinger net and you can and will be advised to hire stinger suits for when you go snorkeling or diving.
When hiking to more remote Magnetic Island beaches, take notice of any warning signs and ideally carry some vinegar with you to douse the sting.
February and March are usually the quietest months of the year on Magnetic island, while the months between June and October are the busiest, and prices of accommodation on Magnetic Island can vary.
MAP OF MAGNETIC ISLAND
WHAT TO PACK FOR MAGNETIC ISLAND
When visiting Magnetic Island, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you.
Must-Have Travel Essentials
Hidden Money Wallet
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Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!
The Nomatic Travel Backpack has 20+ innovative features, perfect for everyday use!
Quick-Dry Travel Towel
The most compact, lightweight, and quick-dry towel for traveling!
Keep your phone, laptop, and accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker PowerBank!
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SUMMARY – WHERE TO STAY IN MAGNETIC ISLAND
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions about where to stay on Magnetic Island, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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THANKS FOR READING
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