• Length: 19 km

  • Duration: 5hrs

  • Grade: 3

  • Style: Circuit

  • Start: Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal

  • End: Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal

  • Closest Town: Nelly Bay

  • Location: Magnetic Island

  • Distance from state capital: 1354km

  • State: QLD

  • Latitude: -19.159062

  • Longitude: 146.855170

Trail Access

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Bitumen Road

Gravel Road

Easy Access

Steep Road

Winding Road

Vehicle Ford

Speed Bumps

2WD Vehicle

4WD Vehicle

Entry Fee

Ample Parking

Accessible Parking

Wheelchair Toilet

Toilet Facilities

Camping Available

Drinking Water

Picnic Shelter

Picnic Table

BBQ Facilities

Fire Pit

Trail Features

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Concrete Path

Timber Boardwalk

Gravel Path

Sandy Trail

Rough Trail

No Defined Trail

Manual Wheelchair

Motorised Wheelchair

Prams and Strollers

Bike Friendly

Overnight Campsites

River Crossings

Rock Scrambling

Bush Bashing

Exposed Ledges

Trail Markers

Drinking Water

Fishing Spots

Swimming Spots

Dog Friendly

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Nelly and Horseshoe Bay Curcuit is a 19 km, grade 3 Circuit hike located in Magnetic Island Queensland. The hike should take approximately 5hrs to complete.


The Nelly and Horseshoe Bay Curcuit is a beautiful walk through thick bushland and pockets of tropical forest. You will walk half way through the lovely Horseshoe Bay with bars and restaurants which provide a great spot for a lunch break.

From Nelly Bay, this walk passes through a rainforest pocket, climbs gradually to the saddle between Nelly and Horseshoe Bays and follows a ridge with views over Arcadia and Horseshoe Bay. The track then branches, with one track leading on to Horseshoe Bay, where you can continue on to other tracks. The hike commences at the ferry terminal on Magnetic Island turning left along the Mandalay Avenue which ends at the hiking trail. After the first 3 km you reach the first steep incline, approximately 200m of elevation gain within approximately 2km. From here the trail is relatively steady going back to almost sea level at a distance of 10 km. Another short incline follows at the 11km mark followed by a steady and exhausting ascent at at 15km mark on the way back.

About the region

For those that enjoy discovering nature on foot, Magnetic Island offers an extensive 25km network of walking trails that guide visitors through thick bushland, ranging from dry wattles and the beautiful barks of eucalypts to pockets of rainforest. Along the way discover many lookout points boasting stunning views of the surrounding bays and beaches!

The most famous and popular trail of them all is the Forts Walk which is roughly a 90 minute return walk and is the best place on the island to see Northern Australia’s largest population of koalas in the wild. The Forts Walk offers magical 360 degree views of the coast and Coral Sea. It is here that you will also discover fascinating WWII history with a number of gun emplacements, an observation tower and a command post still intact.

Getting there

Take the ferry from Townsville near Breakwater Marina. It’s a 20 minutes trip to the Island. The hike commences at the ferry terminal on Magnetic Island turning left along the Mandalay Avenue which ends at the hiking trail.


Total distance: 19165 m
Max elevation: 289 m
Min elevation: 53 m
Total climbing: 458 m
Total descent: -459 m
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