Exploring Magnetic Island in a Convertible Tropical Car – Where to Visit and What to Discover
My visit to Magnetic Island during my road trip up the east coast of Australia was a true highlight. This World Heritage island, located just 8km off the coast of Townsville, feels like a whole different world. It’s a place where stunning natural beauty awaits, from eucalyptus forests to pristine beaches, along with the opportunity to cruise around the island in quirky hire cars. Let me guide you on how to make the most of your visit to Magnetic Island.
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Getting to Magnetic Island
Getting to Magnetic Island is a breeze. You’ll need to take a ferry, and SeaLink offers a convenient option with 18 daily ferries to the island. Booking your ferry ticket is easy; you can purchase it at the ferry terminal on the day of your trip or reserve it online in advance. The journey to Magnetic Island takes about 20 minutes on a high-speed catamaran.
You can also book a return ferry trip through Viator for added convenience.
Where to Stay on Magnetic Island
While on Magnetic Island, I opted for Base Backpackers, choosing an eight-bed dorm. The hostel is a tropical paradise, featuring beach-hut-style accommodations, palm trees, and breathtaking ocean views. Plus, there’s a bar on-site, perfect for enjoying cocktails while watching the sunset over the ocean.
If you prefer more private accommodations like apartments or hotels, consider Peppers Blue on Blue. It offers private pools and stunning marina views. Alternatively, check out Absolute Waterfront, situated right by the waterfront, offering epic ocean views over Nelly Bay.
Exploring Magnetic Island by Car
Let’s discuss the exciting part: getting your ultimate Magnetic Island hire car. Magnetic Island is famous for its diverse selection of hire cars tourists use to explore the island. You’ll find various options, from 4WDs and SUVs to mini mokes and tiny, brightly-colored Daihatsu Mira cars.
Here’s a list of some of the best Magnetic Island car rental companies, along with details on their available cars and prices:
- Tropical Topless (Temporarily Closed)
- Available cars: Barbie Cars from $80; Mini Mokes from $95
- Location: Nelly Bay
- Website: tropicaltopless.com (not available until the company reopens)
- Tropical Palms 4WD
- Available cars: 4WDs from $90
- Location: Picnic Bay
- Website: tpmi.com.au
- Isle Hire
- Available cars: SUV/ASX from $110; Mini Convertible from $169; Barbie Cars from $126
- Location: Nelly Bay
- Website: islehire.com.au
- Best Of Magnetic Car Hire
- Available cars: Hyundai Accent from $69; Fiat 500 from $89; Mazda MX5 Convertible from $99; Nissan X-Trail 4WD from $109; MG 3 from $69; MG ZS Excite from $79
- Location: Nelly Bay
- Website: bestofmagnetic.com
Please note that to hire a car in Australia, you must be 21 years old and have held your driver’s license for at least 12 months.
I chose Tropical Topless, known for its iconic Barbie Cars. These tiny, topless cars are a novelty worth trying. They can be rented for just $80 per day, and the company provides a convenient pickup service from your hostel or hotel. Plus, they include 40km worth of fuel in the price. Navigating Magnetic Island is a breeze due to its small size and simple road structure.
Things to Do on Magnetic Island
Now that you have your hire car, it’s time to explore the island’s attractions:
1. Spot Wild Koalas on the Forts Walk
Magnetic Island is home to around 800 koalas, making it ideal for koala spotting. The Forts Walk is the best location on the island to see these adorable creatures. It’s recommended to embark on this 4km hike in the early morning or late afternoon. Other hikers often leave arrows on the ground to indicate where koalas can be found, making them relatively easy to spot. Along the way, you’ll traverse beautiful eucalyptus forests and discover old World War II military camps, offering historical insights. Remember to admire the stunning panoramic views of Palm Island Group to the north and Bowling Green Bay National Park to the south from various scenic lookouts.
2. Check Out the Bays
Magnetic Island boasts 23 picturesque beach coves. While Horseshoe Bay, Alma Bay/Arcadia, Nelly Bay, and Picnic Bay are the primary residential bays, you can also find quieter, more secluded ones. One of my favorites was Horseshoe Bay, located at the westernmost accessible point of the island without a 4WD. Here, you’ll find a row of relaxed restaurants, bars, and cafes, perfect for enjoying refreshments under the Australian sun.
3. Meet the Rock Wallabies at Geoffrey Bay
Geoffrey Bay is home to numerous rock wallabies eager for a snack. They enjoy treats like carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, and melons. You can even purchase special wallaby pellets from the newsagent in Arcadia, close to Geoffrey Bay. These wallabies are pretty friendly and will happily accept treats from your hand. The best time to see them is just before sunset when they’re most active.
So, there you have everything you need to know about renting a car and exploring the best of Magnetic Island. Get ready for a unique adventure on this enchanting island paradise!
Q1: Can I rent a convertible car on Magnetic Island?
A1: Several rental agencies on the island offer convertible cars for hire. Make sure to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
Q2: Are there any age restrictions for renting a convertible car?
A2: Typically, you must be at least 21 years old to rent a convertible car and have a valid driver’s license.
Q3: What is the best time to visit Magnetic Island for a convertible car adventure?
A3: The best time to visit is during the dry season, from April to September when the weather is pleasant and rainfall is minimal.
Exploring Magnetic Island in a convertible tropical car is an experience like no other. From the moment you hit the open road, you’ll be captivated by the island’s natural beauty and unique charm. Magnetic Island has it all, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both. So, rent that convertible, feel the wind in your hair, and embark on an unforgettable journey through this tropical paradise. Discover hidden gems, soak up the sun, and create memories that will last a lifetime on Magnetic Island.