Queensland

Magnetic Island for Couples: The Ultimate Guide

Feel the warmth of the Queensland sun on your skin as you discover Magnetic Island. This pristine spot is a hop and a skip away from Townsville and perfect for your next couples getaway.

Picture yourself and your partner taking a romantic walk on the beach, holding hands, dodging the waves of the incoming tide; the sound of the water crashing onto the shore relaxing you and for a moment, washing away all your stresses. You find a secluded spot, lay down your blanket, pull out your charcuterie board and clink champagne glasses as you watch a mesmerizing sunset underneath swaying palm trees.

This is Magnetic Island. A true example of a romantic getaway just off of the Australian East coast. Swim in clear waters and discover coral reefs in sheltered turquoise bays, take long hikes up peaceful mountainsides, reconnecting and rejuvenating together as a couple.

How to get to and around Magnetic Island

Part of the sunshine state, Magnetic Island is one of the many Queensland destinations well worth a visit all year round thanks to consistently hot temperatures above 30 degrees. And no need to fret about the rainy season, it never rains for the entire day.

Annemarie Strehl

While Magnetic Island doesn’t have its own airport, visitors can book a flight to nearby Townsville domestic airport and then take a ferry, which leaves multiple times per day from Townsville Breakwater Ferry Terminal. Don’t fret, the trip only lasts half an hour. So you’ll be relaxing in the sunshine in no time.

Fun fact

Why is it called Magnetic Island?

Magnetic Island gets its name because of the supposed “magnetic” effect it had on Captain Cook’s ship when he was discovering Australia’s East Coast back in 1770.

Where to stay on Magnetic Island

While this island may only be 50 kilometres squared and have a population of little over 2,000, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find great places to call home.

Luxurious seaside views of Nelly Bay

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If you want to experience island life to the fullest, the spacious rooms with seaside views from the apartments at Grand Mercure Magnetic Island are a dream. For utmost comfort, each modern beach-style apartment is fully self-contained and comes with its own sleek stone kitchen. This means you have absolute freedom in your dining choices if you decide to stay in and cook a romantic meal for two.

Get comfortable in front of the cable TV and DVD player, book a couples massage at the on-site spa or work out together at the fully equipped fitness centre. Nelly Bay harbour shopping facilities are only a short stroll away, as are long stretches of uninterrupted beach.

Hotel Grand Mercure Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, 1.7 km to Alma Bay
8.0 Very good (731 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
Hotel CTA

Breakfasts overlooking the Marina

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If you want to be as close to the beach as possible, consider your own spacious three-bedroom apartment right by the beach with Beachside Apartment 13. Set your breakfast on the terrace or drink your morning cuppa while overlooking the Magnetic Island Marina.

The private apartment unit comes with its own kitchen, including a dishwasher and microwave, so you can indulge in a quick snack whenever you please. As an added bonus, you have access to a TV, DVD player and regular cable channels, and since the property has a “no party” policy, you can be sure that you’ll have peace and quiet throughout your stay.

Beachside Apartment 13

Magnetic Island, 2 km to Alma Bay
8.0 Very good (29 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.7 / 10
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Rainforest island retreat

Upon your arrival at this comfortable oasis, expect a warm welcome from the owners themselves, as well as a glass of champagne. Mornings here are calming as you wake up to the lush greens of the tropical forest, birdsong and mountain views from the terrace at Oskars Rain Forest Retreat. Local wildlife, such as cockatoos and parakeets, will be right at your doorstep.

The King Studio room includes an extra-large double bed, flat screen TV, and a private seating area. Naturally, the room comes with air conditioning and a bed that is fitted with a mosquito net for an undisturbed and relaxing sleep. In case you need to kickstart your mornings, the Nespresso machine will help you get your daily dose of coffee. Continental breakfast and fresh fruit come stocked up in the fridge.

This gem of an apartment is particularly appealing for nature lovers as it is only a two-minute walk away from the National Park. The beach isn’t too far either with Nelly Bay is just a kilometre away.

Oskars Rain Forest Retreat

Magnetic Island, 2.6 km to Alma Bay
8.4 Very good (38 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
WiFi in lobby
Hotel CTA

Award-winning tropical resort

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A romantic beachside destination wouldn’t be complete without a four-star resort. To treat yourselves, book a stay at the Island Leisure Resort. Even though the beach is only 50 metres away, you have full access to the on-site swimming pool and for exercise, try the tennis court or mini-golf.

The rooms and wood-and-straw huts at this multi-award-winning tropical resort are self-contained, air-conditioned and equipped with a ceiling fan to stay cool on hot tropical days. For days you feel like staying on the premises, take advantage of the convenient on-site snack bar and barbecue facilities. For the adventurous types, we encourage you to take one of the many tours, which can easily be booked at the reception and tour desk. Extra bonuses include free WiFi in public areas and on-site parking facilities.

Island Leisure Resort

Top rated
Magnetic Island, 2.3 km to Alma Bay
8.8 Excellent (541 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Outdoor swimming pool
Hotel CTA

Apartments near Horseshoe Bay

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Magnetic Island Insiders know that Horseshoe Bay is one of the best places for finding a beautiful beachfront apartment. The area around Maggies Beachfront Apartments is brimming with a selection of restaurants and beach activities.

The apartments overlook the three-kilometre-long stretch of beach, which makes experiencing sunrise and sunset both intimate and romantic. If soaking in the calm surroundings wasn’t relaxing enough, treat yourselves to an hour or two at the on-site heated pool and spa. Your stay will also include a private kitchen, outdoor garden, laundry facilities, free WiFi, satellite TV and air-conditioning.

Maggies Beachfront Apartments

Magnetic Island, 3.6 km to Alma Bay
9.0 Excellent (295 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Wellness centre / Spa
Gym
Hotel CTA

Where to eat around Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island boasts an impressive variety of cuisines, considering its small population. Man Friday Restaurant in Nelly Bay serves delectable Mexican cuisine, while Mamma Roma makes delicious Italian pizza from an authentic wood-fired pizza oven.

Start your day right with a hearty but healthy breakfast, we suggest at Gilligan’s Cafe Bar. This spot is a local gem based off of the popular TV series, Gilligan’s Island. Everything down to the décor is quirky and wonderful and if you get the chance, chat to the owner who will tell you all about her passion growing up with the show.

Annemarie Strehl

Annemarie Strehl

When it comes to tasteful design and desserts that are decorated like masterpieces, take a seat at the sea view terrace of Boardwalk Restaurant and Bar. The location will make you never want to leave, just like the chocolate & citrus tart, which is vegetarian and garnished with candied Disaronno orange and tropical fruits.

For cheap eats and street food, stroll hand in hand through Arcadia Night Market. Pair your visit with a drink at the licensed bar of Arcadia Village Hotel and take part in a local game of cane toad races.

Dining out

Looking to taste a classic Aussie dish?

For fresh and generous portions of fish and chips by the beach, Horseshoe Bay Fish and Chips is the go-to locale.

Best beaches on Magnetic Island

What Magnetic Island certainly doesn’t lack are pristine beaches. From popular sunbathing hotspots on the East coast to off-the-beaten-path locations up North, Magnetic Island is a paradise for beach lovers and hobby hikers alike.

After landing on Magnetic Island, your first stop will be Nelly Bay. The local beach here is mostly quiet and allows for long beach walks. Similarly inviting is Geoffrey Bay, particularly during low tide. You can buy snacks by the beachfront and feed local rock wallabies in the northern tip of the bay.

For swimming, choose smaller bays for a more intimate setting such as Alma Bay, which is particularly popular with couples and families. Locals love Florence Bay, too, for its untouched beauty and inshore reefs.

If you prefer undisturbed tanning, try the nudist beach in Balding Bay. A visit can easily be combined with nearby (non-nudist) Radical Bay. If you’re lucky, you’ll have both all to yourselves!

Horseshoe Bay is by far the most popular beach and offers plenty of waterside activities and dining options. While you can’t see the actual sunset or sunrise over Horseshoe Bay, the light reflected on the smooth water makes for an amazing atmosphere.

You could also stroll to White Lady Bay for undisturbed views away from the popular hangout spots. Local buses operate around the island in case you want to beach hop.

Activities on Magnetic Island

Hiking
If a hike together is more in line with your travel style, enjoy the shady forest trail from Horseshoe Bay along Florence Bay, Arthur Bay and over to the Forts. Here, you can watch koalas in the eucalypt trees and gaze at the setting sun from the open forts.

Annemarie Strehl

Annemarie Strehl

Snorkelling
With so many sheltered bays and coral reefs around Magnetic Island, snorkelling is a real treat. There even is an official snorkel trail, the first one in Australia!

Most snorkelling tours will take you to Magnetic Island Reef in Nelly Bay or Cockle Bay Reef to see fringing coral. This is different from outer reef coral, which can be found in the Great Barrier Reef.

Picnics
In Nelly Bay, you can find picnic tables and coin barbecues in case you want to create your own romantic picnic experience. Stock up on fresh produce at the local markets, spread out your picnic blanket and enjoy your romantic meal.