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How to Get to Magnetic Island by Car Hire

the stunning view of magnetic island

Magnetic Island is an island on the North Queensland Coast with a charming mix of untouched National Park and with over 20 stunning beaches. The island has a resident population of approximately 2,500 people and an array of beautiful holiday resorts. More than half of the Island is covered in National Park, with Mt. Cook in the centre rising to 497 metres. The park serves as a perfect sanctuary for wildlife, including koalas, rock wallabies and a broad range of bird-life. There are also 24 kilometres of walking track through the park with many breathtaking lookouts. 

Known as the capital of North Queensland, the vibrant Townsville is the city to travel for any trip to Magnetic Island. Whether you want to fly or drive, there is sure to be an option to suit your needs if you want to travel to Magnetic Island from Townsville. Check out our transportation options below!

From Within Australia

Domestic Air flights into Townsville

You can fly to Townsville Airport via Jetstar, Qantas, or Virgin direct from any major Australian capital cities as well as some regional centres. Townsville Airport can be found near the Central Business District. It is only 10 minutes  drive via rental car. Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Qantas all have direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and connecting flights from other areas. Note that these are all large modern jet aircraft, which can seat up to 200 passengers and flight time is approximately two hours.
                                                                                         
Normally ranging from 30 to100 seat aircraft, smaller and regional airlines, which offer services from Cairns, Mount Isa, Rockhampton, Mackay and other Queensland regional centres can also help fly you to Townsville.

How to Get to Magnetic Island from Townsville

On the Bruce Highway drive north from Brisbane, approximately 1350 km and from Cairns drive south, approximately 350km to Townsville. The ferry terminals are located near to the centre of the city and easy to locate. 

Passenger Ferry

Approximately 8 kilometres off-shore, Magnetic Island is a short trip across the sheltered waters of Cleveland Bay. Access is through passenger ferry and by car/passenger ferry.

 There are two separate ferry companies that travel to Magnetic Island: Sealink Passenger and Fantasea Cruising.

Sealink Passenger Ferry

Townsville Airport is only a short 10km drive to the Sealink Terminal. Located at Breakwater Terminal on Sir Leslie Thiess Drive, Sealink serves up to 18 return trips daily. The ride only takes 20 minutes, thanks to their high-speed catamarans. You don't have to prebook for your ferry ticket, since tickets are available at the terminal.

Fantasea Cruising - Car Ferry

Operating from 6am - 6pm on weekdays, and 6am - 4pm on weekends – the Fantasea Cruising Magnetic is the only passenger and car ferry that can take you and your vehicle to and from Magnetic Island with ease and confidence. the car/passenger ferry can serve up to 7 return trips daily.

You may hire a car and put your rental car on Fantasea. However, note that only Europcar and Thrifty permit travel to Magnetic Island on the ferry - any insurances are null and void whilst vehicles are being loaded on or off the ferries, or whilst on the ferry.
                                                           
Note also that these two ferry services depart from opposite sides of the river. Both services arrive on Magnetic Island at the Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal.

Transport on Magnetic Island

When you arrive on Magnetic Island, you will find how convenient it is to tour the island, since there are plenty of transport options waiting for you. At the Nelly Bay terminal, you can take the public bus, get a taxi, or even hire a car.

Exploring Magnetic Island has never been easier as it offers visitors access to many beautiful beaches, hiking trails and scenic lookouts. It is also a great place to spot unique Australian wildlife. If you are looking for some recommendations of how to make the most of your time in the region, read our 5 Things to do on Magnetic Island.

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