Home to indigenous animals, dense jungle and beautiful bays, the tropical paradise of Magnetic Island is a must-visit on Australia’s east coast. Lying 8km offshore in northern Queensland, the only way to get to Magnetic Island is by ferry from the mainland. So if you’re planning a trip there, read on to discover everything you need to know about planning your journey to the island.

Where do I catch the Magnetic Island ferry from?

Ferries depart from the Breakwater Ferry Terminal in Townsville. There are two ferry companies which run the route: Sealink and Magnetic Island Ferries. Sealink is the most popular and runs passenger-only ferries. Whilst Magnetic Island Ferries offers a passenger and car service for those wanting to take their vehicle across.

How do I get to Townsville?

Townsville is a very well connected coastal town that’s easy to travel to. If you’re coming from out of state, Townsville has an airport that offers domestic flights from most of Australia’s main cities. If you’re travelling by road, national bus services including Greyhound and Premier stop in Townsville. Or if you’re wanting to travel by train, the Spirit of Queensland railway network, which connects Brisbane to Cairns, also stops at Townsville station.

Is there a bus stop near the ferry terminal?

Both the Greyhound and Premier coach services stop right outside Townsville Breakwater Ferry Terminal. So if you’re looking to head straight to Magnetic after arriving in Townsville it couldn’t be easier!

How do I get to Magnetic Island from Townsville Airport?

The easiest way to get to Magnetic Island from Townsville Airport is by shuttle bus. A one-way ticket on the shuttle bus costs $10 for one person or $15 for a couple or group of three. The shuttle bus meets every flight at the airport and takes you directly to the Breakwater ferry terminal. You can book your shuttle bus tickets online here.

How do I get to Magnetic Island from Townsville train station?

You can get the local 200/201 bus from Townsville railway station to Townsville Breakwater Ferry Terminal which takes around 20 minutes and costs just $1. Alternatively, you can jump in a taxi which will take less than 10 minutes and cost around $7.

Can I fly direct to Magnetic Island?

Magnetic Island doesn’t have an airport so you can’t fly directly to the island itself. The closest airport is Townsville Airport on the mainland.

How much does a Magnetic Island ferry ticket cost?

A return ferry ticket with Sealink is $30 per passenger when booked online or $34 if you buy your ticket at the ferry terminal. You can also buy packages which include car rental or a bus ticket on the island, as well as day tours and accommodation.

If you’re planning to take your vehicle over to the island, a return ticket with Magnetic Island Ferries starts from $210 for a standard car and includes up to 4 passengers for free.

How long is the ferry to Magnetic Island?

The Sealink passenger ferry takes just 25 minutes to get to Magnetic Island from Townsville. Whilst the car and passenger ferry takes 40 minutes to reach the island.

How often does the ferry run?

The Sealink ferry service departs both Townsville and Magnetic Island roughly once an hour from 5.30 am – 8.30 pm on weekdays and slightly less frequently on weekends. You can view the full-time table here. The Magnetic Island Ferries service departs Townsville and the island approximately every two hours from 5.20 am – 6.55 pm on weekdays and 7.10 am – 5.15 pm on weekends. You can view the full-time table here.

Where does the ferry arrive into?

Both ferry services arrive at Nelly Bay on Magnetic. This is one of the island’s main hubs with car hire companies, a supermarket and a bus stop right next to the ferry port.

How do I get around the island once I’ve arrived?

If you haven’t taken your vehicle over to the island you have a few different transport options whilst you’re there. Hiring a car gives you the most freedom for exploring the island. 4WD or the famous ‘topless’ cars are the most popular choices, and you can book these directly when you arrive at Nelly Bay or as part of a Sealink package.

There’s also a bus network called Sunbus, which runs along the island’s main road from Picnic Bay to Horseshoe Bay. Although less flexible than a car, the bus does run regularly throughout the day and evening. And with the option to buy a saver day ticket or weekly ticket, it’s much more affordable too.

Getting around Magnetic Island

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