Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island – Visitor’s Guide [2023]

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Boasting 3km of beautiful beaches, partnered with taverns, cafes, restaurants, and a vast range of outdoor activities, Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island really is a slice of heaven!

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know including how to get there, the best things to do, where to stay, and much more!

I guarantee by the end of this blog post, you’ll feel like you have no other choice than to book a trip to Magnetic Island – it’s quite simply perfect!

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WHERE IS HORSESHOE BAY MAGNETIC ISLAND

Horseshoe Bay is located on the north side of Magnetic Island, sandwiched between Balding Bay and Lover’s Bay.

Click here to see the Google maps pin location.

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.

Tickets sell pretty fast and I recommend booking yours in advance on Klook.

Since the ferry ride from Townsville is only 25 minutes long, you could technically visit Maggie just for a day.

However, I highly recommend spending at least 3 – 7 days here as there are so many awesome things to do on Magnetic Island that you don’t want to miss!

FULL BLOG POST → HOW TO GET TO MAGNETIC ISLAND

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The beautiful bay
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Magnetic Island Ferry

HOW TO GET TO HERE

To get around the island, you can easily hire a car, jump on the public bus, book a tour, rent a bike, or use your own vehicle.

RELATED ARTICLE: MAGNETIC ISLAND CAR HIRE

There is easy road access to Horsehoe Bay, making it suitable to drive directly to the shorefront and park your car in any of the free parking spaces along the beach.

Fun Fact: Magnetic Island is home to 23 beaches and bays, each one more beautiful than the other.

Two-thirds of the island is a protected national park, and part of the World-heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

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Cruising around Magnetic Island

Ditch Your Backpack, Get a Suitcase!

Nomatic check In

The Nomatic Check-In is the only luggage you’ll need with 90L capacity for those extended trips.

It’s sleek, it’s durable, and it will save your shoulders from pain by not having to carry any weight.

BEST TIME TO VISIT HORSESHOE BAY MAGNETIC ISLAND

Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island really is a great all-rounder. It’s great to visit at any time of the day but is particularly perfect for capturing an epic sunset.

The first ferry to the island from Townsville is 5:30 am and the last one back at night is 10:00 pm, so you really do have a wide variety of options when it comes to planning what time of day to visit Magnetic Island Horseshoe Bay.

There is so much to see and do, I would suggest getting there early in the morning and setting aside an entire day to explore Magnetic Island and more specifically, Horseshoe Bay.

RELATED ARTICLE → 30 THINGS TO DO ON MAGNETIC ISLAND

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Magnetic Island Horseshoe Bay
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Sunset over the bay

FACILITIES AT HORSESHOE BAY

There really is so much to do on Magnetic Island but Horseshoe Bay, in particular, has it all.

You could easily head straight here and spend the entire day enjoying everything that this bay has to offer!

See below for a list of facilities you can expect to find.

Public Toilets & Showers

Perfect for if you are darting on and off the beach, you’ve got all the essential amenities to get changed, freshen up, and even take a shower before heading into the town to explore the shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Picnic Areas

If you’ve come prepared with your own food, which is a super cost-effective way of traveling, then you really won’t be short of space.

With open, clean, and comfortable picnic areas you have somewhere to sit yourself down and enjoy a spot of lunch.

Close To Shops

The great thing about Horseshoe Bay is that it’s so close to all the shops and cafes.

If you have forgotten something like sunscreen or need to go grab some food or drink, you haven’t got far to travel at all.

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The main street at Horseshoe Bay

Bars, Restaurants, & Cafes

Talking of it being close to everything, Horseshoe Bay offers a great range of cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Whether you want to grab yourself an iced coffee to cool yourself down and give yourself some energy, park yourself up at one of the restaurants for lunch, or perhaps you want to wind down at a bar with your friends and your favorite Beer.

All of this is just a stone’s throw away from Magnetic Island Horseshoe Bay.

Horseshoe Bay Accommodation Magnetic Island

Had a little too much to drink? A little too exhausted from the sun? Or are you just having too much fun you don’t want to leave the island?

Whatever it may be, Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island is home to some great accommodation options, meaning there is no need to leave and rush back home.

Book yourself a stay in one of the hotels and extend your trip to give you more time to explore.

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The beautiful shoreline
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Pristine beaches at Horseshoe Bay

THINGS TO DO AT HORSESHOE BAY

Whether you’re here for a beach day or an adventure, to shop in the markets, or to eat in the restaurants, there is something here for everyone.

Please see below for a list of 7 Awesome Things To Do At Horsehoe Bay Magnetic Island.

HORSESHOE BAY MARKETS

Every second and last Sunday of the month, from 9 am – 2 pm, you can visit the Magnetic Island Horseshoe Bay markets.

Spend the morning looking around the markets, buying gifts for yourself or your loved ones, and chatting away with local stall owners.

This is a really great way of getting involved with the community and supporting local businesses.

RELATED ARTICLE → 7 BEST MAGNETIC ISLAND TOURS

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Magnetic Island Markets

WATER SPORTS

Looking for something a little more wild? Horseshoe Bay is home to some of the best water sports on Magnetic Island.

From kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to sailing and jet skiing, there are plenty of water sports to try!

Chill out on a paddleboard taking in the epic views of the bay or get your adrenaline pumping and throw it around on a jet ski for the afternoon. The possibilities are endless!

Just like me, I’d recommend taking your GoPro to take some awesome shots on the jetski!

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Jetskiing tour

Capture All Your Adventures!

gopro 11

I’m sure y’all know by now that GoPro’s are arguably the best action cameras on the planet!

The new GoPro HERO 11 boasts 5.3K video, 27MP photo, HyperSmooth stabilization, and waterproof up to 10m!

MARLIN BAR TAVERN

Looking for live music and a chill vibe paired with generous portions of delicious food and great views?

Marlin Bar Tavern in Horsehoe Bay Magnetic Island is where you’ll want to go!

The variety of meals is excellent and so is their drink menu. Whether you fancy a cold beer, a glass of wine, or a tropical cocktail, the bartender at Marlin Bar has got you covered.

Try their juicy burgers, served on a toasted brioche bun with hot, crunchy chips, and recharge your batteries before you continue your adventures.

You can enjoy their tasty meals and good vibes Monday to Friday from 10:00 am – Late, and  Saturday to Sunday from 8:00 am – Late.

Just make sure you call ahead and book a table as it can get very busy, especially on the weekends.

Marlin Bar Tavern is also pet friendly, so if you’re traveling with your pup, bring them along for fun too.

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Marlin Bar Tavern Horseshoe Bay

KOALA VILLAGE

One for animal lovers, Koala Village is home to the famous Koala bear.

Koala Village is an eco-accredited site where you can take a guided tour, learn all about the Koalas, and get an up-close encounter with one of the bears.

Not only does this make for a great tourist spot, but you can also spend the night here and wake up in the morning to enjoy your breakfast right next to the Koalas.

What a way to wake up and be sure to bring your camera gear to capture the moment!

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Magnetic Island Koala

MAGNETIC ISLAND TIME CRUISE

If you’ve got a day spare on the island, I would highly recommend the Magnetic Island Time Cruise, stopping at a few of the different bays with a heavy focus on Horseshoe Bay.

Spend the day on board with a heap of different activities including fishing, snorkeling, sightseeing, and learning the history of the island and the bays, then finishing it off with sunset drinks.

This is a great, unique way to spend the day, and don’t forget to bring your quick-dry towel to dry off after a snorkel.

The Whitsundays 4
Cruising around Magnetic Island

The BEST reusable water bottle for travel!

grayl geopress

The GRAYL GeoPress is a top-rated reusable water bottle perfect for backpacking, hiking, and traveling.

It allows you to purify water from anywhere and keeps you safe from all waterborne diseases.

Get a GeoPress today and never buy single-use plastic bottles again. Mama Earth will thank you for it!

SLACKLINING AT HORSESHOE BAY

Have you ever tried slacklining? If not, you most definitely should give it a crack!

During my visit to Magnetic Island, my friends and I found a permanently installed slackline down on the shorefront at Horseshoe Bay that’s available for anyone to use.

Balancing on a line tied between two palm trees is a lot harder than it looks, but makes up for a very fun activity and the advantage of doing it at the beach – when you fall off you land in the sand.

BUY NOW ON AMAZON: FLYBOLD SLACKLINE KIT

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Slacklining at Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island

HORSE RIDING AT HORSESHOE BAY

Enjoy the scenic beauty of Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island, its abundant wildlife, beautiful beach, and lush hinterland, followed by a thrilling bareback ride with your horse in the cool clear waters of the Coral Sea.

Horseshoe Bay Ranch offers tours for riders of all abilities. There are plenty of opportunities to trot and canter for intermediate and advanced riders, but not to worry if you are a beginner.

It’s an amazing experience to ride along the tracks through the eucalyptus forest on a paradise island while spying on koalas and wallabies in the wild. There’s nothing quite like it!

There are two tours available every day, one at 9 am and the other at 3 pm. Bookings are essential, and it’s mentioned on their website that weight restrictions apply to ensure the health and happiness of the horses.

The price for a 2-hour Magnetic Island horse riding experience is $120 per person.

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Horse riding on Magnetic Island

WHERE TO STAY ON MAGNETIC ISLAND

There are dozens of accommodation options to choose from on Maggie Island, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.

See the list of Magnetic Island accommodations below that I personally recommend:

LUXURY: PEPPERS BLUE ON BLUE

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MID RANGE: DANDALOO GARDENS

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BUDGET: NOMADS MAGNETIC ISLAND

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For More Options, See My Complete Guide On Where To Stay On Magnetic Island

MAP OF MAGNETIC ISLAND

magnetic island map

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

anti theft money belt

Keep your cash and other valuables safe with this anti-theft hidden money wallet!


Reusable Water Bottle

grayl geopress

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!


Travel Backpack

Nomatic 20L Bag

The Nomatic Travel Backpack has 20+ innovative features, perfect for everyday use!


Quick-Dry Travel Towel

travel towel

The most compact, lightweight, and quick-dry towel for traveling!


Portable PowerBank

anker powerbank

Keep your phone, laptop, and accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker PowerBank!

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FINAL THOUGHTS

I can’t talk highly enough about this beautiful bay and I hope from this guide you will have all the information you need to have an epic adventure during your time on the island.

Whether you’re a solo backpacker, traveling as a couple, or whether you’re taking a trip with the entire family, you know you’re never going to be short of things to see and do here in the bay.

If you have any questions at all about Magnetic Island Horseshoe Bay, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can!

For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.

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TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!

bookingcom

Search and book accommodation worldwide.


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Compare and book cheap flights to anywhere.


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Find tickets, tours, and experiences around the world.


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Book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance.


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Search all rental cars in your next destination.


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Need travel insurance for your next trip?

THANKS FOR READING

Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!

Please know this post may contain affiliate links. When making a purchase through one of my links, I earn a small kickback at no extra cost to you and it’s a big help to keep the site up and running. Rest assured, I only promote products and services that I personally use and recommend.

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Many thanks!

2 thoughts on “Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island – Visitor’s Guide [2023]”

  1. From a friend I received a funny little bag with embroidered image of a woman doing a ‘downward dog’ – so so cute. She recently bought the zipper bag at the “Magnetic Island Markets” she said. Can I get contact details of the stall holder who makes the bags? I know request is a ‘long shot’ but what’s to stop me from trying??! Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Margaret, oh wow that is super! I don’t know the contact details I’m afraid, I was only on the island for a few days. I hope you can track them down and get yourself an awesome bag!

      Reply

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