A quick guide to the best sunset locations on Magnetic Island off Townsville, Queensland. Find out where to enjoy the best sundowners on this epic little island paradise!
Just a quick boat ride from Townsville, Magnetic Island has you covered for tropical island sunsets. But, where are the best Magnetic Island sunset locations? In this guide, I’ll outline all of the best spots to go to wind up your day on Magnetic Island.
I’ve also written a comprehensive guide to the best things to do on Magnetic Island based on my experience, so go check that one out too for more inspiration!
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
How to Get to Magnetic Island
Getting to Magnetic Island is as easy as a 40-minute ferry ride from the coast of Townsville.
The best ferry company is SeaLink, which has ferries operating roughly every hour from Townsville to Nelly Bay ferry terminal on Magnetic Island.
The cheapest SeaLink ticket can be booked online in advance on GetYourGuide, which gives you a scannable QR code to use on your phone when you board.
The cost of the return trip to Magnetic Island on SeaLink is $39 per adult with several concession options also available.
Magnetic Island Sunset Locations
I'm sure that the sunset will be epic wherever you decide to watch it on Magnetic Island. But, if you're looking for the best places to catch snaps of the Magnetic Island sunset, consider the spots below.
1. Horseshoe Bay
Horseshoe Bay is located on the Northern end of Magnetic Island and is the island hotspot for jet skiing and kayaking. It's also one of the best places on the island to catch the sunset.
In the drier months, the sun will set right next to the western headland, casting its colours and light across the bay. There are usually also plenty of sailing boats cruising through, which make for some epic pictures.
2. The Magnetic Island Wreck Viewpoint at Cockle Bay
An epic viewpoint spot on the south side of Magnetic Island is a secret local lookout known as Sail Rock.
From here, the sun will set across the island and light the sky up around the bays. What's best about this sunset location is that you'll most likely have it to yourself.
This spot is located on a hill overlooking both Cockle Bay and Picnic Bay. You can even get a distant view of the famous SS City of Adelaide Wreck, a great spot to catch that magical Magnetic Island sunset.
3. The Forts
The Forts are one of the more popular hikes or bushwalks on Magnetic Island, but for good reason.
The walk starts at the Forts carpark on Horshoe Bay Road. It then continues up the mountain to some historic World War II war fortifications.
There are plenty of places to stop and watch the sunset over the bays. However, my personal favourite Magnetic Island sunset location is on the upper fort. This will reward you with 360 panoramic views over the island, and you can watch the sunset perfectly behind the headland at Horseshoe Bay.
While you're on the walk, make sure to keep an eye out for wild koalas, as the Forts walk is one of the best places to spot them in Queensland.
4. Radical Bay
If you want a more secluded bay to watch the tropical island sunsets on the water, then Radical Bay would be a great option.
Radical Bay is only a short walk from Horseshoe Bay, following a 20-minute track from the East side of the beach.
Another alternative close to Radical Bay is Balding Bay. However, keep in mind that it is a nudist beach, so probably best to not bring a camera.
If you're wondering how to get to Radical Bay and surrounding bays, then you can read the full blog post below.
What Time is Sunset on Magnetic Island?
The answer is that it varies depending on the season.
In the wetter, summer months, the sun usually rises at 5:30 AM and sets at 6:30 PM. In the busier winter months, also known as the dry season, the sun rises at 6:40 AM and goes down at 5:30 PM.
To get accurate Magnetic Island sunset and sunrise times, check out the WillyWeather forecast.
Where to Stay on Magnetic Island
Below I've summarised the three best places to stay on Magnetic Island for various budgets. The links go to Booking.com, which is what I personally always use to book the best deals on accommodation.
- Stay at the Koala Sanctuary: Bungalow Bay Koala Village - This hostel is one of the best-rated budget accommodation options on Magnetic Island. It has a good chill-out area, pool and of course, the on-site koalas.
- Best Hostel With a View: Base Backpackers - Base Backpackers is a name synonymous with budget travel in Australia. This hostel has shared rooms for under $35 a night. Rooms are actually small cottages and overlook the reef right on the water's edge in Nelly Bay.
- Best Guest House for Couples: CStay in Picnic Bay - One of the best value accommodation options for couples is Cstays in Picnic Bay. There are several twin rooms for less than $65 per night.
More Adventures on Maggie and Queensland
I hope that you enjoyed this quick guide to catching the best spots for sunset on Magnetic Island. While you're here, why not check out some of my other adventure and travel guides around Queensland? Below are a few to start!