Long Weekend on Magnetic Island

Aug 11, 2014

On the journey over, Magnetic Island (Maggie) had certainly impressed its spectacular natural beauty on us and we were looking forward to an idyllic lazy tropical family holiday and it turns out that is exactly what we got! Our long weekend was spent lazing, gazing, swimming, eating and playing near the water.

Dinner with a view

To kick off our family long weekend on Magnetic Island, we spent our first night dining at Peppers Blue on Blue Resort Boardwalk restaurant and bar in Nelly Bay. It had a good kids menu and we sat out on the deck and it was like a postcard picture looking out at the sunset pink landscape with uninterrupted views onto the seas dotted with yachts sparkling under a blanket of stars. Perfect!

Located at 123 Sooning Street, Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island 

Sunday – Exploring Horseshoe Bay

After a late start to the day with breakfast in the apartment and a swim in the resort pool, we caught the bus to spend the afternoon on Horseshoe Bay.

It had an immediate vibe as soon as we stepped off the bus, with a long beach with swimming and water sport options and the biggest concentration of eating options on the Island plus it had a vibrant market on Sunday.

I loved Horseshoe Bay instantly and we ended up spending most of our vacation time around there. It would be my future pick for accommodation on the island as I like to be able to walk to all the attractions on my vacation.

Highlight - Bungalow Bay Koala Village
My Island highlight was the great hands on educational tour with one of the Rangers at Bungalow Bay Koala Village. Maggie has an abundant wildlife, including one of Australia’s largest concentrations of wild koalas and at Bungalow Bay we got to get up close and personal to some of the local animals.

Our small tour group of 10 was met by Tony who is a passionate ranger and a protector of native wildlife and he thrilled us for two hours with his stories and knowledge.  He also scared us a bit too (well maybe it was just me, I think the others quite liked it!) by placing lizards on our head, giving us a python to wear, a baby saltwater crocodile to eyeball. We also took turns feeding a black cockatoo by placing a Sesame Seed in our mouths for the cockatoo to retrieve (huge achievement for me as I am scared of birds!). To top off all the excitement Tweeny cuddled with Matilda, a sleepy koala.

This was a highlight to do as a family. We were inadvertently learning about our native animals while having the opportunity to get up close and personal to them in a safe way.

Located at 40 Horseshoe Bay Road, Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island

We paid an admission price of $65 for a family pass (2 Adults & 3 children) plus an additional $15 per person to cuddle a koala

Sunset Dinner
We ended the day sitting on the sand watching the sun set over beautiful Horseshoe Bay and then walked across the road to have what ended up being my favourite meal on the Island dinner at Barefoot Art, Food, Wine. Part restaurant, part gallery, with multiple dining decks we choose to sit in the seclusion of the fairy light lit back garden for dinner. They offered a great kids menu with Tweeny choosing a steak, which was a lovely cut of meat cooked to her medium well specifications. The husband had the fish of the day, grilled barramundi, but my meal was the stand out – bug tail spaghetti, with hints of chilli, tomato and garlic! Yum! My mouth is watering just remembering the meal, freshly grilled bug tail cooked perfectly was too good to share.

Located at 5 Pacific Drive, Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island


After another late start to the day with breakfast in the apartment, we again caught the bus to spend the afternoon on Horseshoe Bay partaking in some water sports.

Tube Ride

There was a plethora of water sport options being offered up and down the beach at Horseshoe Bay, with Jet Skiing, Kayaking, Kneeboarding, Fishing, Wakeboarding, Waterskiing and tube rides all on offer we opted to start our day with adrenalin pumping tube ride.


Strapped into our lifejackets, we boarded our three person tube and sat with anticipation while the speed boat towed us out to the open sea. From there it was a fast and furious 10 minutes as we were skilfully manoeuvred for maximum scream curdling fun! Bouncing up and down in our seats with hair flapping in the wind all I could hear was the engine of the speedboat along with Tweeny’s delighted giggles.

Located at Horseshoe Bay Foreshore, Magnetic Island
We paid $45 for 2 adults & 1 child


For a little change of pace after the tube ride, we had booked in for a two hour fishing trip. I hadn’t prebooked any activities before arriving on the Island so it was a last minute scramble to find availability with a fishing tour operator. Luckily Barnacle Bill was able to fit us in on his afternoon fishing tour, we would have ideally have loved to have done a combined fishing and snorkelling trip but alas it wasn’t meant to be.
Barnacle Bill was a no fuss type of tour with all the basics (rods & bait) plus instruction provided. Even though we did not catch any fish worth keeping, it was a spectacular afternoon on the water.

Located at Horseshoe Bay Foreshore, Magnetic Island
We paid $200 ($80 per adult & $40 per child)

Man Friday on a Monday

Man Friday restaurant received some glowing reviews from some of the Maggie locals we had met, so based on their recommendation and the fact it was within walking distance of our accommodation,  we tried it out as an early dinner option for our last night on the Island. We were tipped off to make a booking and it is a good thing we did, as it got full very quickly and we saw a quite a few diners without a reservation turned away.
Located in a quiet suburban street in Nelly Bay, Man Friday offers up Tex-Mex food in a simple rustic setting with roaming resident possums (which if I am honest freaked me out and I spent most of the night with my legs tucked up on the chair trying to avoid the possums).Thanks to another local tip, we bought our own wine and enjoyed a quick, casual dinner under the stars and coloured fairy lights in the outdoor garden. The husband ordered a beef fajita while I enjoyed the chicken version and Tweeny opted for the beef nachos from the kids menu.

Located at 37 Warboys Street, Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island