Magnetic Island (Maggie, or MI as the locals like to call it) is a tropical island located 8km offshore from the coastal town of Townsville in Queensland, Australia.
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.
This 52km² rocky island with only 2000 residents really has it all, and you’ll certainly enjoy yourself there. If you’re looking for a tropical holiday with lots of amazing things to do, Magnetic Island is the right place for you when visiting the Townsville Region.
In this guide, I have included all the information you need to know about where to book the ferry, a breakdown of ticket prices, ferry timetables, and much more!
OVERVIEW – MAGNETIC ISLAND FERRY
Please see below for a brief overview of what you will find in this blog post:
- How to get to Magnetic Island
- Where to book the ferry to Magnetic Island
- Ferry prices
- Ferry timetables
- Ferry terminal location
GET YOUR TICKET → MAGGIE ISLAND FERRY
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HOW TO GET TO MAGNETIC ISLAND
A common question for most visitors is, ‘How to get to Magnetic Island?’
Reaching the island is certainly not a challenge, and it’s as simple as jumping on either the passenger ferry or the Magnetic Island car ferry to make the trip over to this tropical paradise.
If you’re backpacking East Coast Australia, the closest airport to fly into near Magnetic Island is Townsville (TSV).
From the airport, you can reach the Magnetic Island Ferry Terminal in Breakwater, Townsville by taking a taxi which will cost you around $20 to $22, or you can book a shuttle which will cost you $10 to $20 depending on the number of people.
Another option is to rent a car from Townsville Airport and take the car ferry to Magnetic Island.
Click here to see the exact location of the Breakwater Ferry Terminal on Google Maps.
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WHERE TO BOOK
You can book your ferry ticket online from one of two different ferry companies which are Sealink and Magnetic Island Ferries.
While you can book your tickets at Breakwater Ferry Terminal in Townsville upon arrival, you can also check the ferry prices online and book in advance which, in my opinion, is far more convenient.
The ferry companies offer either passenger travel or car travel.
It’s important to note that return trip tickets are open-ended up until 30 days from the purchase date. This is super convenient if you fall in love with the place and want to stay longer on Magnetic Island. Just make sure to ring the ferry office a day or two in advance to book your return ticket as spots on the ferry fill up quite quickly.
If you’re traveling as a passenger to Magnetic Island, you can park your car at the Breakwater Ferry Terminal for only $7.50 for 24 hours. Needless to say, that’s quite an affordable price to pay so you enjoy paradise for a few more days.
The most popular ferry company is Sealink QLD, offering regular ferry service throughout the day (read till the end to learn more). Sealink QLD is a passenger-only service and offers different types of tickets such as family tickets, student tickets, and other packages.
Sealink is a better ferry than its competitor, specifically for passenger tickets. The booking process on their website is easy, user-friendly, and straightforward. They accept Visa, Mastercard, and American Express to please everyone. On the other hand, you can also buy your ticket at the terminal upon arrival.
The journey from Townsville to Magnetic Island with Sealink takes approximately 25 minutes and a return trip ticket will cost you $30.
GET YOUR TICKET → MAGGIE ISLAND FERRY
MAGNETIC ISLAND FERRIES
Magnetic Island Ferries also has a very easy booking process, however, prices are more expensive if you’re planning on taking a vehicle over to the island (more on this below).
Just like Sealink, it’s best to book your ferry tickets online in advance as it saves you cash and certainly some precious time.
To book your ticket, simply visit their website, select your dates of travel, choose your type of vehicle including length, and make a payment.
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MAGNETIC ISLAND FERRY PRICES
There are different Magnetic Island ferry prices available that you need to be aware of that will ultimately save you money, and can be better spent on a hotel or other island experiences.
As mentioned before, the two companies that sell ferry tickets are Sealink QLD and Magnetic Island Ferries.
Sealink gives you the option to travel from Townsville to Magnetic Island as a passenger and leave your car on the mainland at Breakwater Ferry Terminal in Townsville.
Magnetic Island Ferries gives you the option to take your car over to the island by purchasing a Magnetic Island car ferry ticket. This allows you convenient access to the island and exploring with your own wheels.
In addition, if you’re looking to purchase a ticket, the process is simple. Just select your dates, the type of vehicle (car, motorbike), and make a payment.
Ferry Prices – For Passengers:
- Adult (return) $30
- Concession (return) $17
- Child 5-14 years (return) $17
- Student (return) $22.50
- Family (return) $76
Ferry Prices – For Cars:
- Standard Car up to 5.5m (return) $108
- Motorbike with rider and passenger (return) $64
- Walk-on passengers (return) $30
GET YOUR TICKET → FERRY MAGNETIC ISLAND
MAGNETIC ISLAND FERRY TIMETABLES
I mentioned the ferry timetable above, but let’s now dig a little deeper into it.
SEALINK FERRY MAGNETIC ISLAND
Let’s start with the timetable for the Sealink Ferry Magnetic Island.
Sealink offers endless options to get from Townsville to Magnetic Island from 5:30 am until 9:15 pm from Monday to Friday.
However, on Saturdays and Sundays, their schedule is a little more limited but still has over 10 trips available.
On the other hand, if you’re planning a return trip from Magnetic Island to Townsville, the timetable will be just as flexible with over 10 trips available 7 days a week.
MAGNETIC ISLAND FERRIES
The other popular ferry company is Magnetic Island Ferries which is just as convenient. They offer ferries from as early as 5.00 am and until 7.00 pm.
MAGNETIC ISLAND FERRY TERMINAL LOCATION
Nelly Bay is not only the tourism hub but it’s also the home to Magnetic Island’s Ferry Terminal which connects visitors from Townsville. Nelly Bay is also the main residential area which is a great spot to spend some time wandering around or snorkeling the reef before heading off to explore more of the island.
The first departure from Nelly Bay back to Townsville is at 6:00 am with Sealink and 6:05 am with Magnetic Island Ferries.
The last departure is at 10.00 pm with Sealink and at 8.00 pm with Magnetic Island Ferries. Make sure to check out their respective timetable before as some days might be unavailable or even sold out.
Additionally, there are single-access keyed lockers available at the Ferry Terminal in Nelly Bay from 8 am till 6 pm. That’s certainly something to keep in mind if you’re planning to take the ferry to Magnetic Island early in the morning and travel back to Townsville later in the evening.
Other than that, it’s good for you to know that there are plenty of things to do around Nelly Bay. For instance, go on a boat cruise around Magnetic Island, enjoy authentic and delicious seafood from one of the seaside restaurants, or simply tan at the beach.
If you’re spending a few days on Maggie Island, I’d recommend booking a night here to enjoy the amazing activities before heading back to Townsville the day after.
RELATED ARTICLE → 30 THINGS TO DO ON MAGNETIC ISLAND
WHERE TO STAY ON MAGNETIC ISLAND
There are dozens of accommodation options to choose from on Magnetic 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
MID RANGE: DANDALOO GARDENS
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN MAGNETIC ISLAND, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
WHAT TO PACK FOR MAGNETIC ISLAND
When visiting Magnetic Island, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:
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This was the full guide and everything you need to know about the different ferry options, with the convenience and the multiple trips of Sealink QLD, to the car ferry to Magnetic Island.
In summary, taking a ferry with one of these two companies is both easy and affordable.
I hope this guide has answered all of your questions and if you have any further inquiries please leave a comment below 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.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
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THANKS FOR READING
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