Magnetic Island National Park Townsville

Photo credit: © Queensland Government

Visiting Magnetic Island safely

    Getting there and getting around

    Find out more about Magnetic Island and how to get around the walking trail network at the Forts Junction.

    Find out more about Magnetic Island and how to get around the walking trail network at the Forts Junction.

    Photo credit: © Queensland Government

    Explore the national park via a network of natural moderate grade walking tracks.

    Explore the national park via a network of natural moderate grade walking tracks.

    Photo credit: © Queensland Government

    Magnetic Island can be reached by passenger and car ferry services from Townsville. The 11.5km trip to the Nelly Bay harbour takes about 20-40 minutes. The island can also be accessed by private boat.

    On the island, the local bus service is a good way to access the walking trail network and travel between the key destinations. There is also the option to hire bicycles, scooters and cars to get around the island and bays. For safety, bicycles should only be ridden on pathways and quiet roads. Riding bicycles over the road from Alma Bay to Horseshoe Bay is not recommended.

    For bus timetables and fares visit Sunbus - Magnetic Island or phone 13 12 30.

    One of the best ways to explore Magnetic Island is on foot via a network of walking trails. Different walking trail routes link key destinations around the island, allowing visitors to choose their own adventure when exploring the island.

    Key destinations provide a cool place to prepare for a walk or rest during the walking adventure. Toilets, water, shelter and busses as well as commercial centres can be found at these locations.

    See the tourism information links for details of ferry and bus services, and vehicle rentals.

    Vehicles are prohibited on tidal lands (PDF, 94.4KB) from West Point to Cockle Bay to protect the intertidal marine environment.

    Wheelchair accessibility

    The Forts Junction including the Magnetic Island National Park entry area is wheelchair-accessible.

    Staying safe

    Walking safely

    • Survive the sun—walk in the cooler parts of the day, cover up and wear sunscreen.
    • Carry enough water—stay hydrated to avoid heat stress.
    • Walk well—wear sturdy shoes.
    • Know your limits—choose tracks and trails that suit your level of fitness or that of the slowest member of your group
    • Stay on the walking tracks—take care on loose or uneven surfaces and around boulders, steep slopes, and rock faces.

    Swimming safely

    • Swim safely—swim in patrolled beaches.
    • Snorkel safely—never snorkel alone. Help is not always close by.
    • Take care! Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in coastal waters at any time but occur more frequently in the warmer months. A full-body Lycra suit, or equivalent, provides a good measure of protection against stinging jellyfish and sunburn. See marine stingers for more information.
    • Be shark-wise! Sharks are present at all times of the year in open ocean. Avoid swimming at dawn and dusk. Always swim with a buddy. See SharkSmart for more information.
    • Be crocwise! Estuarine crocodiles live in some areas of the coast around the Townsville region. Always be croc wise in croc country.

    For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

    Before you visit

    Our precious Great Barrier Reef World Heritage islands are among the most pest-free islands in the world. They need your help to stay this way. Please Be pest-free! (PDF, 573.6KB) before your visit.

    Essentials to bring

    Remember to pack:

    • sunscreen, hat, suitable clothing and sturdy footwear
    • drinking water—most walks do not have water available
    • insect repellent.

    Opening hours

    The national park is open all year round. Visitors should check weather conditions as the island may be inaccessible if strong wind warnings, gales or cyclonic activity prevent ferries from operating.

    Permits and fees

    Special permits are required for commercial or organised events. View permits and fees for further information.


    Domestic animals are not permitted in Magnetic Island National Park or on tidal land, including sand dunes, beaches, mangroves and rocky headlands, within the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park adjacent to Magnetic Island National Park. Dogs are not permitted on the beaches at Rocky, Arthur, Florence, Balding, White Lady, Lovers and all of the Five Beach bays.

    Climate and weather

    Magnetic Island has a tropical climate with a wet season usually from December to April. The dry season, from May to November, is the best time to visit. Magnetic Island is within the dry tropics, an area that has a wet season similar to other parts of the tropics but is characterised by a dry season with very little rain and lots of sunshine. Daytime temperatures vary between 25 and 32°C throughout the year. The high humidity, especially during summer months, can be very tiring for visitors unaccustomed to the tropics. For more information see the tourism information links.

    Fuel and supplies

    Fuel and supplies are available on Magnetic Island and in Townsville. For more information see the tourism information links.