The BEST Magnetic Island Accommodation in 2024

Looking for the best Magnetic Island accommodation options? Find out all of our top recommendations for where to stay in Magnetic Island, Australia!

Magnetic Island may be one of north Queensland’s best-kept secrets. With an idyllic boulder-spotted beach around every bend, the tropical island sits on the edge of the Coral Sea and is an easy 20-minute ferry from Townsville, Australia.

Maintaining a strong sense of 80s nostalgia, Magnetic Island is home to around 2,300 people (and around 1,000 koalas!).

While many people decide to do a day trip to Magnetic Island, we highly recommend spending at least a few nights here to really soak up all the incredible things to do, places to eat and beaches to chill


The Takeaway: Our Best Overall Picks


The traditional custodians of the land, the Wulgurukaba people, call the island Yunbenun. A lot of locals also fondly know her as ‘Maggie.’

Magnetic Island is made up of 75% national park and provides refuge to hundreds of native Australian animals like rock wallabies, sea turtles, and over 180 species of bird, including the Bush-Stone Curlew, whose haunting cries provide an iconic island soundscape at night.

Person Standing In Between Trees Magnetic Island Accommodation
Radical Bay on Magnetic Island – just one of the places you can explore when you’re staying here.

This little slice of paradise is very close to our hearts at NOMADasaurus.

How close? Well, we love this place so much we built a home here and now call Maggie our permanent base!

So, whether you’re looking for budget stays that save you money, the perfect base for your family vacation in Australia, or high-end holiday accommodation, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s explore some of the best Magnetic Island accommodation options for every budget!

The Ultimate Guide to Magnetic Island Accommodation

In this guide, we’ve included our top recommendations for Magnetic Island accommodation options ranging from budget hostels to mid-range apartments and even luxury hotel stays.

We’ve also chosen the best central location, the best beach neighborhood, and the most ideal spot for kids and families.

No matter what you’re looking for, Magnetic Island, Queensland has something for you!

READ NEXT: Also, be sure to check out our guide for getting around Magnetic Island!

Best Central Location on Magnetic Island – Nelly Bay

When you step off the ferry terminal Nelly Bay warmly welcomes you to Magnetic Island.

It’s worth familiarising yourself with Nelly Bay as it’ll be your go-to spot for those nights you want to cook from home or pack a picnic and head down to the beach.

Within walking distance from the ferry terminal, you will find the local IGA shopping market, car rentals, the bottle shop, SOS Seafood, and a beautiful marina to stroll through at the end of the day.

Here are some top-rated places to stay in Nelly Bay, the heart of Magnetic Island.

Budget Backpackers – Nomads Magnetic Island Hostel

After a 20-minute walk from the ferry or a 10-minute bus ride, you might find yourself wandering into Nomads Magnetic Island Hostel, lured by the sound of 90’s RNB on a Friday, or the smell of the infamous Island Burger paddies.

The hostel has a range of dormitory-style waterfront accommodations, or you can save even more and pitch a tent at one of the best camping spots on the island.

Whether you want to share with eight of your closest friends, meet new people, or have a double bed and en suite to yourself, there are plenty of rooms to choose from in this hostel.

It’s also wheelchair accessible and has one of the cheapest costs per night on the island.

During the day, you can hire a topless car and explore all that Magnetic Island has to offer, but at night, be prepared to dance until dawn at Island Bar and make the most of the hostel pool, billiards table, and international DJs.

We’re fairly certain you will make friends from all over the world when you stay at Nomads Magnetic Island Hostel.

Nomads Magnetic Island
Enjoy waterfront views at Nomads! Photo credit: Booking.com

Mid-Range Accommodation – Peppers Blue on Blue Resort

After a day of exploring, we know there’s nothing better than collapsing into a heavenly, king-sized hotel bed.

The good news is, getting to Peppers Blue on Blue Resort is as easy as stepping off the ferry. Located next to the Nelly Bay Terminal, you will hit the pillow, or pool, in no time.

With two hotel swimming pools to choose from and the island’s most luxurious day spa, you will feel like you’re floating back to your room at Peppers Blue on Blue Resort.

Kick back after a day of exploring, take a long bath, and enjoy uninterrupted waterfront views.

Or head down to the onsite restaurant at Peppers Blue on Blue Resort to enjoy live music and a sunset sangria overlooking the marina.

Keep an eye out for whales! From June to October, this is the perfect place to spot pods of Humpback Whales migrating north along our coastline.

Luxury Stay – Dacha On Maggie

For a laid-back island, Dacha on Maggie certainly brings a level of sophistication and style to their luxurious and modern stay.

There’s nothing better than greeting the day with a gentle yoga flow on the patio, overlooking the marina, or taking a short walk to the helipad to see some of our favourite furry friends, the rock wallabies.

Dacha on Maggie has two properties to choose from – one with six bedrooms, the other with seven.

Both properties feature opulent bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, mountain views, and a horizon swimming pool to enjoy wine and watch the sun dip behind the distant mainland.

When booking your Magnetic Island accommodation, if you want unrivalled island luxury within walking distance from shops and restaurants, we’d recommend Dacha on Maggie. It’s one of the best Magnetic Island hotels on offer!

Dacha On Maggie
Spend your nights on Magnetic Island in comfort at Dacha on Maggie. Photo credit: Booking.com

Best Beach Neighbourhood on Magnetic Island – Horseshoe Bay

Located on the north side of the island, Horseshoe Bay may give you the best taste of what it means to be a local on Magnetic Island.

While this bay is the furthest from the ferry terminal, it’s certainly not one to be overlooked.

With some of these hotels on Magnetic Island giving best access to the national park and around 3km of beach to play on, you’ll never be cramped for space.

Horseshoe Bay also likes to show off with one of the best sunset spots on the island, so prepare to see lots of beautiful sunsets if you choose this area for your Magnetic Island stay.

Whether you take the bus or a mini moke, it’s worth taking a dip at Alma or Geoffrey Bay on your way there and hiking The Forts to see the island’s cuddliest koalas, in the wild.

Looking for the best beaches on Magnetic Island? Check out our ultimate guide to the island’s best beaches and bays!

Best For Budget – Selina Magnetic Island

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature and soak up the island’s natural beauty, Selina Magnetic Island is for you.

A local favourite, recently bought by one of Australia’s most attractive travel brands, Selina blends everything that is iconic ‘Maggie’ with uniquely designed accommodation, wellness, and remote working.

Grab your welcome drink at the open-air bar before catching up with friends by the swimming pool, lounging in a hammock as you listen to live music, or test your skills at a game of billiards.

Then light up the night with an enchanting walk back to your A-frame to get a good night’s rest before enjoying breakfast with the koalas at Selina’s wildlife park.

Learn about the island’s native animals by getting up close and personal with some of our furry or scaley friends.

Just make sure to give Harry the wombat a good belly rub for us before you go! And with a reasonable price per night, there is no better place to stay for a budget Magnetic Island holiday!

Selina Magnetic Island
Cute, comfortable and surrounded by koalas. Hard to beat a night (or five) at Selina Magnetic Island!

Best Mid-Range Stay – Maggie A-Frame

For one of the most unique stays on Magnetic Island, you can’t go past the infamous Maggie A-Frame.

Renovated by local designer and entrepreneur, Frankie Ratford, every inch of the space has considered your comfort.

The iconic A-frame guesthouse sleeps five people per night and includes a loft-style bedroom, kitchen, lounge, and outdoor deck area that is perfect for a glass of wine, charcuterie board, and hours of conversation under the stars.

The A-frame hotel is within walking distance of Horseshoe Bay and the bars and restaurants that line the esplanade.

During the day we’d recommend testing out the hammock and picking your favourite book off the shelf.

Even in the chance of rainy weather, this stay is perfect for guilt-free rest days, creative retreats, and romantic getaways, making it one of the best options for Magnetic Island accommodation.

Maggie A Frame Accommodation
The beautiful and chic Maggie A-Frame, owned by our good friend Frankie Ratford.

Best Luxury Accommodation – VILLA Kembali

For a taste of Bali on your Magnetic Island holiday, you can’t go past Villa Kembali.

Located at the end of a cul de sac with direct access to Horseshoe Bay Beach you will feel like you’re in a world all of your own.

This large holiday home is perfect for families or staying with a group of friends, featuring four spacious bedrooms and three bathrooms, a large deck, an outdoor swimming pool, and a BBQ area.

With panoramic views of the bay, you’ll hardly want to leave this stunning holiday accommodation. But if you do choose to venture out, you’re within walking distance of some of the island’s best bars and restaurants.

And if you’re lucky enough to be holidaying here between June and September, be sure to spot the Blue Tiger Butterflies on the enchanting Magnetic Island butterfly walk nearby.

Best Area For Families On Magnetic Island – Picnic Bay & Arcadia

From Summer days jumping off the jetty, to building castles in the sand, Picnic Bay is one of the oldest and most nostalgic bays on Magnetic Island that draws people back year after year.

Ideal for families, Picnic Bay has some of the best food and brews on the island with Mama Roma’s Italian Restaurant, Maggie Island Brewery, and Picnic Bay Pub.

Arcadia also puts on a good show with the dazzling Alma Bay complete with a children’s playground and grassy area perfect for picnics.

So if you’re looking for the best Magnetic Island holiday spot for families, consider Picnic Bay and Arcadia.

Budget – Arcadia Beach Guest House

Quirky, laid back, and jam-packed with local knowledge, the Arcadia Beach Guest House is full of charm and character.

Situated directly across the road from the breathtaking Geoffrey Bay Marine Park, you’re within walking distance from one of the best snorkelling trails on the island.

Or, hire one of the topless 4WDs on-site and explore all Magnetic Island has to offer.

Located within a five-minute walk of a corner store, bottle shop, pub, and restaurants, you’ll never feel cut off from civilisation even as you traverse some of the island’s best walking tracks and take in the view from a range of lookouts.

The rooms are basic, comfortable, and equipped with everything you need. Prices per night are very affordable for Magnetic Island as well!

Ranging from king studio apartments with ocean views to twin dorms (and even safari tents) there are plenty of options depending on your budget.

And while there is so much to see and do at your front doorstep, it’s also easy to spend the day relaxing at the guest house. Enjoy the pool table and pizza oven for cruisey evenings watching the sunset from the front deck.

If you’re looking for a great location on a budget, you can’t go past Arcadia Beach Guest House.

Guest House Magnetic Island
This guest house puts you in a great location for exploring Maggie! Photo credit: Booking.com

Exploring more of Australia’s sunshine state? Check out our favorite Queensland road trip itineraries!

Mid-Range Stay – Kooyong Apartments

When booking accommodation, Magnetic Island offers a range of comfortable stays without spending a fortune, like Kooyong Apartments in Arcadia.

Tucked beneath the palm trees and barely a 100m walk from Alma Bay and Geoffrey Bay, the eight fully furnished apartments sleep anywhere from two to six guests, making it the perfect holiday accommodation for groups traveling the Magnetic Island together.

At Kooyong, you can enjoy the perfect mix of bush and beach with plenty of walking tracks and unbeatable snorkelling spots right at your front door.

There’s a communal BBQ area and swimming pool, or why not head down to the local bowling club game of barefoot bowls or trivia at Arcadia Pub?

You might even bet on a winner at the iconic Magnetic Island toad races every Wednesday. These top-rated apartments are the ideal location for you and your family on Magnetic Island, Australia!

Luxury Stay – Beached on Magnetic, Picnic Bay

Beached on Magnetic boasts the best Picnic Bay has to offer. With four bedrooms and three en suite bathrooms, a large open-plan living and dining area, beachfront views, and a heated outdoor swimming pool, this home is the perfect island stay all year round.

Beached on Magnetic sleeps 10 guests per night in its spacious rooms. The relaxed holiday lifestyle here, paired with uninterrupted views of Picnic Bay Beach make it hard to beat.

You’re also a short walk away from Hawking’s Point lookout with panorama views of Picnic Bay, Tom Thumb, and Nelly Bay.

No traffic, no rush! Stroll down to the local cafe or brewery, have a round of golf or drive to Cockle Bay for the best sunset spot on the island.

Or, if you’d rather stay at home, kick your feet up in one of the deck chairs and enjoy the ocean breeze.

This home is perfect for family catchups, Christmas, or any excuse to get the whole tribe together.

Wondering how to get to the island? Here is our guide for getting to Magnetic Island!

Coolest Place for Short-Term Stays – The Creative Residence at Jungle Club, Nelly Bay

Jungle Club is one of the island’s cool new kids on the block. With three exclusive creative resident rooms, a swimming pool, and a short walk to the beach, you’ll be spoilt for choice when staying in the one of the most affordable rooms on the island.

The Creative Residence program run by Frankie Ratford (of Design Kids fame, who also owns the Maggie A-Frame) offers people the chance to stay for one, two or three weeks.

Artists, designers, writers, and entrepreneurs alike frequently retreat to Jungle Club, working at the on-site co-working space, Locale Co, and snagging breakfast and morning coffee from Tiny Palm (voted the best on Magnetic Island).

Step outside your room and spend the morning browsing boutique clothing at Salty Fridays, book a cheeky appointment at Allure Ink Tattoo Studio, and bring back new and unique treasures from the unmissable homeware haven, Juniper and Company.

This accommodation is one of our favourites if you want to immerse yourself in the local community, and it’s one of the best places to stay if you want to learn what it’s like to live on Magnetic Island.

As a fair warning, more than a few people who came as creative residents ended up moving back to the island permanently – it’s just that good!

Jungle Club Creative Residency
The Green Room at Jungle Club, which you can book as part of a 1, 2 or 3 week long Creative Residency.

Best Luxury Holiday Accommodation – The Lotus House, Horseshoe Bay

For the ultimate in beachfront romance, you can’t go past the luxurious Lotus House.

You might spot this fabulous Magnetic Island hotel towering over the palm trees as you walk along Horseshoe Bay.

This secluded stay will take your breath away and wins the prize for the best Magnetic Island holiday accommodation.

With three bedrooms to choose from, you can watch the sunset over the Coral Sea from the comfort of your king-sized bed.

Or spot dolphins at dawn as you enjoy a cup of coffee on the balcony overlooking Horseshoe Bay. The Lotus House is a multi-level slice of serenity.

Your very own private retreat, The Lotus House boasts a 12-metre pool, lush tropical gardens, a large deck, and sleeps up to six guests per night.

And while you might feel a million miles away from the rest of the world, The Lotus House is still within walking distance of bars and cafes scattered along the esplanade.

It’s easy to see why this decadent holiday home wins our vote for the most luxurious stay when it comes to Magnetic Island holiday accommodation.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

About the Author - Bethany Ross

Living and working on Magnetic Island, in Far North Queensland, Bethany has a fascination for places off the beaten track. She has worked as a writer in parts of the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. For her, culture, history and people are what put a place on the map. She is infatuated with anything ancient, is drawn to wild landscapes and loves getting outside her comfort zone. She has slept under the stars with bedouins in the Wadi Rum desert, visited monks in an ancient monastery outside of Mosul, Iraq, dodged avalanches on a road trip across Tajikistan and hiked into a blue lava volcano in Indonesia.

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