The Best Accommodation Options to Book on Magnetic Island, Australia

Marina views at Waters Edge Townhouse
Marina views at Waters Edge Townhouse | © Hayley Simpson
Photo of Suzy Pope
21 September 2021

A litany of boutique hotels, luxury villas for big groups and eco-villages provide a place to lay your head between treks and diving sessions here on your visit to Magnetic Island, Australia. These are the best places to stay on the island – bookable via Culture Trip.

Just off the coast of Townsville, Magnetic Island is a wildlife hotspot and gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The island itself is a tropical paradise of soft-sand beaches and a rugged, jungle interior where koalas cling to the trees.

Bungalow Bay Koala Village

Courtesy of Bungalow Bay Koala Village /

This eco-village on Magnetic Island’s north coast has options for every style of travel and budget. It’s all about getting to know nature here, complete with its own wildlife park. Rangers guide you through the forest to spot koalas, wombats and all kinds of birdlife. There are koala cuddling sessions and opportunities to hold a python while learning about the resort’s conservation initiatives. Run by YHA, choose to pitch up a tent in the camping area or stay in a glamping-style wooden cabin in a shared four-bed or private double.

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Pure Magnetic Villa 2

Courtesy of Pure Magnetic Villa 2 /

On the shore of Nelly Bay, these beach-front villas – with A-frame design and decor in teak – feature two bedrooms, a full kitchen and outdoor spaces with a barbecue. Private verandas come with loungers and tables set for dining in the sea breeze and the waves of the Coral Sea lap at the sand, just across the road. This villa is a great option if you want a little independence with your luxury.

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Maggies Beachfront Apartment 10

Courtesy of Maggies Beachfront Apt. 10 /

With walls of glass and balconies looking out over Horseshoe Bay, Maggies Beachfront Apartments offer three-bedroom accommodation, right by the beach. Glass doors slide open to melt the barrier between indoor and outdoor living where you can choose to dine at the large dining table inside, or on your private terrace overlooking the ocean. Days can be spent snorkelling in the crystal clear sea, or perhaps sinking into the silky water of the building’s indoor mineral pool.

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Peppers Blue on Blue

Resort, Serviced Apartment, Spa Hotel
4.3/5 (639 Reviews)
Courtesy of Peppers Blue on Blue /
Price Drop
Now from $141 per night

On the marina at Nelly Bay – where the Townsville ferry drops off travellers – this classy apart-hotel awaits, just a 20m (65.6ft) stroll from the ferry dock. Choose between a standard hotel room or a little more independence in a three-bedroom apartment or four-bedroom penthouse. Every option comes with glass sliding doors from your room or living area to a private balcony, set up for dining or evening drinks. It’s particularly idyllic as the sun sets over the marina.

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  • Base Magnetic Island Hostel

    4.1/5 (47 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Base Magnetic Island /
    Price Drop
    Now from $105 per night

    Backpackers on a budget looking to meet fellow travellers should look no further than Base Magnetic Island Hostel. Six-bed dorms in A-frame cabins offer the cheapest option – there are also female-only rooms available – and private doubles sit on the rocks right on the ocean. This beach-side spot is dotted with chill-out spaces – think beanbag-strewn decks, hammocks slung up between palms and an outdoor pool. Come nightfall, Island Bar is the liveliest place to be in Nelly Bay.

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    Lotus House

    Courtesy of Lotus House, Horseshoe Bay /

    Set in tropical gardens, Lotus House is a luxurious villa rental on Magnetic Island’s Coral Coast. Ensuite bedrooms can house up to six guests and you can walk straight from the pool terrace to the soft sand of Horseshoe Bay. Designed in teak wood with high ceilings, there’s a distinctly Balinese feel here – complemented by sprawling day beds on private balconies and a lotus pond in the grounds.

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    Waters Edge Townhouse 2

    4/5 (1 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Waters Edge Townhouse 2 /

    This three-bedroom apartment is a two-minute stroll from Nelly Bay beach, where you can take advantage of Magnetic Island’s main town restaurants, shops and bars. As the name suggests, it’s right on the waterfront and you can enjoy marina views from the barbecue terrace, swimming pool and balcony. The open-plan living area has a full kitchen for self-catering and there’s a spa tub in the master bathroom.

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    Villa Kembali

    Courtesy of Villa Kembali /

    Just 20 steps from the beach at Horseshoe Bay, this Balinese-inspired villa is ideal for extended family or a group of friends. Four bedrooms sleep up to ten people and there’s plenty of room for the group to spread out across private balconies, terraces and by the pool. There’s a wet bar on the terrace and loungers facing the sea view provide the perfect spot for a sundowner.

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    The Beach House at Arthur Bay

    Courtesy of The Beach House at Arthur Bay /

    Within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, this four-bedroom villa is the only accommodation in beautiful Arthur Bay. The largest population of koalas reside just beyond the backyard and you might spot the odd wallaby or wake to the sound of kookaburras. You’ll have the house to yourself – ideal for a group of friends or a family get-together. There’s a barbecue and swimming pool outside to make the most of the tropical climate – and the reefs of the Great Barrier are begging to be explored just beyond your doorstep.

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    If you’re heading back to Townsville, you’ll want a bite to eat in one of the best coffee shops and cafes around. Or, if you’re thinking of going to the capital of Queensland, discover the best hotels or spots to go camping in and around Brisbane, now bookable via Culture Trip. There’s something for everyone here – explore the city’s museums or trek on Brisbane’s hiking trails.

    This is a rewrite of an article originally by Hayley Simpson.

    These recommendations were updated on September 21, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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