Our restaurant recommendations
These are our recommendations on the island and reflect our personal preference and only mention ones we eat in regularly.
Saltwater Magnetic Island - Modern Australian, Asian Fusion restaurant in the heart of Nelly Bay. Open Wednesday’s to Sunday’s. Bookings essential. BYO only. 0414 352 762
Scallywags Cafe - Casual pirate themed cafe which is great for breakfast and does amazing burgers for lunch/dinner. Look out to see if they have a Fire-show, Live Music or Flea Circus while you're here - well worth booking one of those. Great entertainment for kids and adults! Bookings essential for any evening where there is a show. 0458 492 452
Shaka - Fantastic healthy fresh breakkies from a food truck at the old Heliport on Nelly Bay Beach.
Stuffed on Seafood - Casual seafood restaurant, Booking not required unless a large group. Licensed.
Patisserie and Gourmet Pies at Nelly - delicious pies, baguettes and croissants. Take away only. Closed Sundays.
Thai Again - good authentic Thai. Bookings essential. Licensed or BYO. (07) 4758 1659
Mamma Roma - fresh and authentic Italian, sometimes have live music playing on the weekends. Check their facebook page for details. BYO. Open from 5pm for dinner. Bookings essential (07) 4778 5456
The Reef Bar Cafe - Tapas from Tuesday to Sunday from 12 till 2 pm and on Friday night 5.30 till 8 pm.BYO. Bookings recommended. (07) 4758 1477
Stage Door Theatre Restaurant - Cheesy but brilliant. You'll laugh, you'll sing and you'll have a super fun night out. Three course dinner and a show! Bookings essential. (07) 4778 5448
The Early Bird - great spot for Breakfast or Lunch next to Horseshoe Bay beach. Bookings not required.
Cafe Nourish - healthy breakkies and lunches. Bookings not required.
Sandis on Magnetic Island - good for lunch or dinner with steaks and great seafood. Casual. Licensed. Live music sometimes. (07) 4758 1673
Barefoot Art Food Wine - the fine dining option in Horseshoe Bay. Good for lunch or dinner. Combines an art gallery and a restaurant. Bookings recommended. (07) 4758 1170
Adeles - great gelato!
For those of you who ordered the Sunset at Home hamper to get you through the coronavirus isolation, we hope you are enjoying it!
We've pulled together a few ideas of different ways to serve it so you get to enjoy it to it's full potential!! It is far more versatile than just a dollop on a cheese platter, although of course that is our favourite!
#1. The Classic - Served on your Cheese Platter
It would be remiss not to include this one. We recommend the pumpkin chutney with a classic aged cheddar or a creamy brie on a jatz or a wafer cracker.
#2. The Lunch - Delicious Ploughman's Lunch
A British classic:
I love to make my own bread when doing a ploughman's lunch and see below for a recipe for a super-easy, no-knead wholemeal bread. (It doesn't keep for long so either freeze any you don't eat on the day and use it for toast)
#3. The Beer Snack
Are you looking for some nibbles to serve with your beer?
Try some mini poppadoms with condiments such as lime pickle, a cucumber raita (see recipe below) and of course some pumpkin chutney
The poppadoms are super easy to make in the microwave. I do three at a time on the highest setting for 40 seconds. Perfecto!
The next couple of ideas have come from one of our favourite restaurants on Magnetic Island: Saltwater Magnetic Island. [Put it on your list of places to eat when you visit the island!]
#4. Scrummy Curry
Along a similar theme as the beer snack...but by jazzing up the pumpkin chutney it is the perfect condiment to a spicy curry.
Fold the pumpkin chutney through some natural yogurt, add sliced dates or nuts like almonds, a pinch of cinnamon and season. To intensify the flavour add some hot chilli or dried chilli.
#5. Morning Tea - Treat yourself to a Savoury Scone
Serve a savoury scone with some butter, pumpkin chutney and a dollop of sour cream (or creme fraiche, my favourite!). See below for a delicious savoury scone recipe.
A big thank you to Jen & Dan from Saltwater for their suggestions.
We hope you've enjoyed these suggestions and please share any ideas you have in a comment below!!
How to Make the Perfect Cheese Platter "Pilgrim Style":
Our Pilgrim Sailing sunset cruises are one of our most popular things to do onboard. On every trip, we not only go sailing, but we serve unlimited Tamburlaine Organic Wines, and local beers and every group are served their own personal cheese platter.
Although I certainly wouldn't call myself an expert, I have made a lot of cheese platters over the past ten years, and have enjoyed refining it as I go along! So, how do I do it?
Firstly, The Cheese:
I always select three kinds of cheese to go on my cheese board, unless catering for a large group of people when you may need to add a couple of extras.
My platter includes:
1. A hard cheese, generally a good quality cheddar which has some bite.
2. A soft cheese, generally a brie, camembert or similar
3. An interesting cheese. Our absolute favourite is the Gallo Dairyland macadamia nut cheese. It is to die for. Alternatively, you could choose a washed rind or a blue cheese.
How much cheese per person?
As a rule of thumb, you're looking for 25-30 g per cheese per person assuming you have three kinds of cheese on the platter for an entree or dessert.
Secondly, is the crackers:
I also like to serve three types of crackers, but this may be over the top and two would be sufficient.
1. Jatz or Savoys - ok, controversial, I know. A little bit basic, but everyone loves them. Paul wouldn't let me put a cheese platter out at home without a Jatz featured, so I apply that principle on board too.
Side note: The importance of the Jatz cracker was confirmed by one of our regular guests onboard Pilgrim. Just before I brought out the cheese platter, he proudly announced that one of the favourite things about our sunset cruises was that we always served Jatz on the cheese platter. You can imagine how hard it was to tell him that due to an oversight on my part, we had run out on that day. Note, I have not run out again since!!!
2. Some plain crackers - water biscuits or wafers. If you're buying wafer crackers, make sure you don't buy a cheap brand as they go stale very quickly once exposed to the air.
Top tip: if you don't finish a whole packet keep them in a plastic container in the fridge. They'll last much longer.
3. Some interesting crackers. This could be a bark style cracker or OB Finest - Goji Berry and Coconut is my favourite. [OB Finest, is my go-to brand on Pilgrim]
Another alternative is Janet's sesame crispbread. Here's the recipe:
JANET'S SESAME CRISPBREAD
1 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 LSA mix
3 desert spoons ground psyllium husk
2 oz finely grated Parmesan
Large pinch Malden salt
Water, (about 1/2 cup)
1 beaten egg
Add different toppings: herbs, rosemary, chilli, seaweed salt. For variation.
Next, on the perfect cheese platter is the Condiment:
This one is a no-brainer on Pilgrim: Clare's famous Pumpkin Chutney. This is now available for sale, or if you want to give it a go yourself, here's the recipe.
Then, comes the Fruit:
The most obvious being grapes, I like to use red and white for the colour. But out of season grapes are either terrible quality or very expensive! So my advice is to look for something in season, colourful and reasonably priced. Some of my favourites are passion fruit (picked straight off our vine at home), kiwi fruit, strawberries or figs.
Now, the olives:
Olives can be a personal thing - black, green, whole, pitted, stuffed etc. My personal favourite is the almond stuffed olives from Stubborn Olives (a Sydney based company).
I'm currently searching for a Queensland olive producer, ideally from North Queensland, but so far my research has not delivered. Please get in touch with any recommendations!
Finally, the sprinkle or the gap filler:
I use nuts or blueberries to fill up the cheese platter and make sure it looks pretty and there are no gaps, that is until someone takes the first bite.
To conclude on my take of the perfect cheese platter:
By no means is this the only formula for a delicious cheese platter but it's one which has helped me over the years and takes the thinking out of it every time.
The three overarching principles I apply to every cheese platter, whether at home or on Pilgrim:
- Support local producers, wherever possible
- Choose seasonal ingredients - they taste better and are generally cheaper
- Don't skimp on quality
I hope you enjoy serving you your next cheese platter!
Check out our favourite places to eat near Rose Bay.
Pilgrim Sailing has just arrived back in Sydney for our ninth year of operation on Sydney Harbour! You can jump on board for a range of activities, specialising in Twilight Racing, Sunset Cruises and Private Charters.
Generally, we pick up and drop off guests from Rose Bay and often get asked for recommendations of places to eat in the area either before or after a charter or while they are visiting the area.
Here are our favourites:
Our number one recommendation is the Empire Lounge at the Sydney Seaplanes Terminal.
You can check out the food and beverage menu here.
Because we love it so much, we have arranged a dinner package for our Sip&Sail Twilight Cruise guests after the twilight cruise. For an additional $56 per person, you'll be able to select one main dish, one side dish to share, a dessert and one glass of house wine or beer. Just book it as an extra when you book your Sip&Sail Twilight Cruise!
THURSDAY – SUNDAY OPEN FROM 12:00 PM TILL LATE | SERVING LUNCH AND DINNER
Photos sourced from Instagram : @empireloungesydney
But don't look past some of our other favourites, which come HIGHLY RECOMMENDED too:
An easy walking distance from Rose Bay Wharf:
Great place for breakfast, lunch, coffee. Located in the middle of Lyne Park. One of our favourite spots for brekkie!
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 6 am till 5 pm Sat to Sun 6 am till 6 pm
Jewel on the Bay
An excellent Indian restaurant, only a few minutes walk from the wharf. It has a great atmosphere and fantastic food. Bookings recommended.
Opening hours: 7 Days | breakfast & lunch 7 am to 3 pm | Dinner from 5 pm to 10 pm
A Japanese tapas bistro - we enjoy coming here. There are some interesting items on the menu which you don't find in every Japanese restaurant.
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday from 5 pm to 9 pm
Mangia e Bevi - This is a nice Italian restaurant in Rose Bay. This one is a little walk away (approximately 10 minutes), but the pizzas and pasta are delicious, and they always have a good specials board. Good for bigger groups.
For that extra special occasion, there are two restaurants within walking distance of the Rose Bay Wharf - the Good Food Guide's, one hatted, Catalina and Regatta Rose Bay. Both have great views of Sydney Harbour and serve fantastic food, although they come with the Sydney price tag!!!
A little bit further afield by a short bus ride or taxi/uber ride is Double Bay
(approximately 5-10 minutes in car/bus or 20 minute walk)
Here are our absolute favourite restaurants in Double Bay:
Spice Market - a fantastic Thai, very reasonable with long bench tables. Casual with excellent food. We have been visiting Anthony, the owner, at Spice Market for over ten years! If you visit, tell him we sent you!! [BYO]
Chinta Ketchil - delicious Malaysian food in a cosy, quirky restaurant. [BYO]
Quirky and delicious! @chinta_ketchil
Arte Bianca - authentic Italian food - you have to try the pizzas!
18 Footers League Club - GREAT for a sundowner with views overlooking Double Bay and Pilgrim on her mooring!
A little bit further afield again, opposite Edgecliff station (but if you're in a taxi what does it matter), is our favourite Japanese in Sydney - Makizo. We LOVE IT, as do many locals in the area.
Note to readers: All of these restaurants (except for Regatta and Catalina), we frequent regularly and can 100% vouch for the quality of food and service. On the other hand, we have not been to all the restaurants in the area, so there may be some others worth a mention, which we haven't tried.
Feel free to comment below if there is somewhere, we should try and potentially add to the list!!
The Pull of Paradise. Find out what Kate Symons in the Virgin inflight magazine, had to say about Magnetic Island. We think she pretty much nailed it - "Magnetic Island is one of Queensland's hidden gems".
Jump on a plane and come and see for yourself!!
Sails Magazine showcases the Townsville region in a fantastic article by Scott Alle (Apr/May 2019).
The article explores the region from Townsville (including Magnetic Island) to Cairns and gives cruising sailors a great insight into what to expect from the region. It's well worth a read but more importantly the regions is definitely worth a visit!!
There are so many reasons to come here. It provides the perfect climate to escape the cold from the southern states winter, the sailing is excellent, there are heaps of islands to visit and of course we have the Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep!
If you're visiting the region in late August/early September and are keen on sailing, do yourself a favour and jump on board one of the racing yachts at Magnetic Island Race Week hosted by the Townsville Yacht Club. In our humble opinion it's the best of the Queensland regattas offering a very relaxed vibe where crews mingle and socialise both on and off the water.
Time for a visit!!
Check out a snapshot of all the fun we've had at Magnetic Island over winter this year!
We have had a fantastic summer with over 700 guests jumping on board for a range of sailing experiences - Twilight racing, #Sip&Sail with Tamburlaine Organic Wines, Private charters, Charity regattas to name a few.
A big highlight was coming second in the RANSA Twilight Series so a big thank you to our regular crew who helped us to victory and also made all the guests on board feel at home and welcome!
We've loved sharing Pilgrim and Sydney Harbour with everyone: check out a little recap of all the fun we had this season.
But all good things have to come to an end....on 24th March we left Sydney for our trip North to Magnetic Island for winter...we're looking forward to meeting new people, discovering new places and again sharing the fun of Pilgrim and sailing with anyone that come on board! Before we get there we're going to enjoy the "Pilgrimage" up the coast and enjoy cruising and exploring for a while.....
Launching our first ever Sip & Sail with Tamburlaine Organic Wines
A couple of wonderful evenings sailing around Sydney Harbour enjoying the sights while sipping a range of Tamburlaine's wines and enjoying Woombye Cheeses....
How do you provision a boat for Cruising?
Provisioning (i.e. shopping) for several weeks cruising offshore is a very different from your weekly shop at the local supermarket, when you can pop back if you forget the butter.
After over six months of living on board we learnt a little bit about the dos and don'ts of provisioning. Often the hard way. So when we were asked by our friends from Pilgrim's bestie "Wine-Dark Sea" to give a talk at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron to their cruising members about provisioning for cruising, we welcomed the opportunity to share what our tips.
You can see all recommendations in the link to the presentation below.
Time to head south to Sydney for the summer season.
On 25th September 2015 - Pete and Sarah joined us at Keppel Bay Marina, Rosslyn Bay for the journey south to Sydney. A trip to Rosslyn Bay is not complete without a trip to the Fishermans Market or the Capricornia Cruising Yacht Club
First stop, when the wind eased, was Great Keppel Island where we showed Sa & Pete the cruising way with sundowners on the beach with all the other cruising sailors.
After that we were heading for the reef - after lots of local advice we settled on North West Island for our first reef experience (on this leg of the trip) and it didn't let us down. On the sail from Great Keppel to North West Island we were blessed with heaps of sea-pets to keep us company - whales, dolphins and a shark. With the recent siting of the shark our senses were heightened and when we arrived at North West Island desperate for a swim in the clear blue waters we paused to identify some unknown creatures in the water which looked scarely close to the fins of sharks, but they weren't moving in quite the right way. We paused for lunch to assess the situation and finally figured out they were manta rays. Suddenly everyone wanted to jump in again!
We went for a budgie ride to get to the reef and then went for a snorkel in. Pete was lucky enough to swim with the manta rays a little bit later. All very special.
We settled in for the night enjoying celebratory champagne for arriving in paradise with a spectacular sunset followed by a full moon rise. Perfection - with very few boats around us.
The next day we left for Fitzroy Reef and went via Heron Island and Wistari Reef. There was a nice wide channel between the two with incredible green waters showing us where the reef was. Again dolphins and whales to great our arrival at Fitzroy Reef.
The channel to get into the lagoon was terrifyingly narrow with a strong current but very deep so we were all stationed to a position - bow and at the shrouds - to assist Paul in the navigation of the channel. We could all breathe again once we'd anchored clear of bommies and could see the anchor on the bottom in 9m of water. Incredible.
Lunch then a snorkel was the plan, which wasn't as successful as we'd hoped - suffice to say our trip to Fitzroy Reef was cut short with a little accident which required Paul to get medical assistance. Crew stepped into action promptly and in text book fashion with the medical kit followed by a pan pan.
Thankfully we were assisted by an incredible boat called "Hooked on Two" from Hooked on 1770 Fishing Charters who came to our assistance and took Paul to 1770 for onward transfer to Bundaberg Hospital.
Pete, Sarah and I sailed the boat overnight to Bundaberg where we caught up with Paul - who seemed very happy to be surrounded by attentive nurses!
After 24 hours and safe in the knowledge that Paul was being looked after in hospital we continue the journey south to make the tide window to go through the Great Sandy Strait. The plan was for Paul to meet us in Southport of Tin Can Bay.
We stopped the night at Kingfisher Resort before embarking on the 3.5 hour trip through the shallow and very shallow waters of the inside passage. A nerve-wracking experience but after 3 touches we were safely through and quickly made the call that we were NOT crossing Wide Bay Bar without Paul, especially as on the outside strong winds were forecast for 24 hours.
Tin Can Bay was a little piece of heaven and the yacht club seemed the right place for dinner!
The next day Paul returned to the boat with 28 stitches in this knee for day late birthday celebrations.
Thankfully the rest of the trip was less eventful - crossing Wide Bay Bar was still hair-raising but with the co-ordinates from VMR Tin Can Bay and watchful eyes on the leads, chart and the breaking waves we crossed it with no issues.
We were on a deadline to get to Coffs to avoid a strong southerly that was forecast to come in at 1pm in two days time. We smoked down the coast, surrounded by heaps of whales (one breached so close to the boat much to Sarah's delight & fright!) and arrived at 7am - right on cue at 1pm with tripled up mooring lines we watched Pilgrim tack in the berth as 55 knots howled around us. Glad we weren't outside!!
On 9th October it was time for the penultimate trip south to Pittwater for a few days refuge before the final sail through Sydney Heads on 15th October.
What a trip!!!!
For more details on this trip you can read it on Wine Dark Sea's blog (Sarah & Pete's blog).
A thoroughly enjoyable few days with the Waplings on board Pilgrim. We packed in sailing, fishing, snorkelling, paddle boarding, relaxing, exploring, swimming into 4 days! There was plenty to keep the kids entertained and Budgie the dinghy was a hit!
Itinerary this time was:
Hamilton Island to Nara Inlet via a swim and prawn lunch at Henning Island. Nara Inlet there were paddle-board v budgie races, exploring on the beach and a new bait recipe was put to the test by the boys.
Next day we took advantage of the glorious weather and headed to Hill Inlet for the walk to the lookout before heading down to Chalkies. Lee, Sarah and the kids hung out on the beach for hours only radio-ing back for refreshments to be sent over by paddle-board as the afternoon sun started to set!
We weren't sure if Chalkies could be beaten but gave it a go the next day and headed to Whitehaven. Another success but it was time to head to Sawmill Bay for the night to allow for an easy trip the next day to Airlie Beach.
The time flew by but we squeezed plenty into the short trip...please come back again - we loved having you on board!
Geoff, Helen and Nicola joined us for 6 nights of exploring the Whitsundays. The itinerary was based on the weather and the limitations of having little Nicola at 10 months old on board.
Depart Hamilton Island Marina on 6th September - head straight to Whitehaven Beach
7th September - Motored to Chalkies for some fishing (Helen) and snorkelling around the reef (Geoff & Helen) - beautiful anchorage and less rolly than Whitehaven.
8th September - Sailed to Butterfly Bay. When Nicola was having her lunchtime nap - Mum and Dad went for a little snorkel.
9th September - with strong winds forecast in couple of days time we decided to find shelter in Nara Inlet for the night. On the way there we stopped at Blue Pearl Bay for a snorkel and then headed to Nara. The aboriginal cave paintings were a great family trip before Helen took to the fishing rod again!
10th September - a windy ride to Sawmill Bay to seek shelter for the last two nights. We tried our luck at crabbing but sadly only small ones so they were returned to nature. Despite the weather we were very protected so there was more fishing, walking and exploring to be done.
A lovely few days with the Saxby's - Nicola took it all in her stride and seemed to love the experience! Let's hope next time she'll be pulling ropes!!
Pilgrim Sailing's first Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week and it certainly won't be the last. We had core crew of four - Paul, Clare, Micko and Sandy with extras joining us along the week either for the day or those who got hooked kept coming back for more...Ken!!
The racing was great fun and competitive mainly around Cleveland Bay with the Round the Island Race on Saturday was, of course, the day with the least wind!
MIRW is a stark contrast to Hamilton Island Race Week in its relaxed and easy feel. All the accommodation, boats and Race HQ are a stones throw apart.
WE LOVED Magnetic Island Race Week and will be back next year with bells on for the 10th annual regatta! Who's coming with us?
From 15th - 22nd August Pilgrim race at Hamilton Island Race Week. The crew were Paul Ley, Clare Ley, Matt Wenke (tactician), Chris Brooks, Dave Hodgson, Liz Blackford, Sandy Garrie, Michael Sugg, Ben Feeney, John Dooley, Nick Atwell and Christian Becerra with a few guest appearances along the way.
It was a great race week - plenty of breeze to test the crew and plenty of Tamburlaine wine to get the party going after the race.
Layday was a chill out day with hammocks, bubbles and a visit to our neighbour the Police Boat for a tour!
Overall we came mid fleet which was a respectable result based on all the super new carbon "cruisers" around us!
We'll be back next year...!
Sailing from Townsville to Orpheus Island.
Our next guests arrived for a long weekend on Pilgrim, sailing from Townsville Yacht Club to Orpheus Island Resort. We spotted our first whale of the season, discovered some beautiful new anchor spots off the beaten track, snorkelled, sailed, explored and relaxed!
With a commitment to meet the Magnetic Island Race Week organisers and the local press we had no time to waste on our trip up to Townsville. With stops only at Woodwark Bay (again), Gloucester Island, Cape Upstart we arrived with a couple of days up our sleeve to explore Magnetic Island. What a heavenly place it is. More photos when we have more time here....maybe next winter...stay tuned?!?!
Time to share all we've discovered in the Whitsundays with our first charter guests up here - tailoring the itinerary to the weather and Martin & Chris's interests:
Day 1 - Hamilton Island to Sawmill Bay (strong wind forecasts - again!)
Day 2 - Walk to the top of Whitsunday Peak for stunning 360 degree views over the Whitsundays followed by a sail to Stonehaven anchorage for sundowners
Day 3 - Sail to Blue Pearl Bay, Hayman Island for some sensational snorkelling followed by a motor sail to Nara Inlet to explore the aboriginal cave paintings.
Day 4 - Time to blow away the cobwebs and get some steering practice in. A good windy day for a sail in the Whitsunday Passage before returning to Sawmill Bay for a paddle board and a swim.
Day 5 - The Grand Finale - wind obliged by abating in time for the trip to Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet. We dropped the boys off at Chance Bay for a snorkel and then a walk across the headland to Whitehaven while we brought the boat round meeting them on Whitehaven Beach. Stunning day - white sands, crystal waters - lived up to all expectations! Last stop for the day was a visit to Hill Inlet - picture postcard stuff!
Day 6 - Time to head back to Hamilton Island to catch the flight back to the chilly Sydney winter!
All in all a great trip with heaps packed into six days!
A great little spot 6 miles north of Airlie Beach is the exclusive resort of Woodwark Bay. It has a lovely little beach with a creek which treated us with our second mud crab. A little nerve-wracking when we find out after exploring in the creek that it's home to a croc!
During June we've been exploring the Whitsundays - unfortunately a bit of rain and strong winds means we've been staying mainly on the western side of Whitsunday and Hook Islands - with our favourite anchorage being Sawmill Bay with great sunsets and rainbows.
Another glorious spot - can't believe the resort isn't in operation. It's a beautiful island with great opportunities but seems it has been closed for several years. Well worth a visit if it ever re-opens or if you're sailing by!
Another new anchorage for us and again well worth checking out and "respectfully ignoring" the charts depth of 1.1m!!
The second fishing success....a 1 metre spotted mackerel. All a bit exciting as it was caught in Budgie (the dinghy) - not much room for us once the fish had made an appearance!
With a strong wind warning - there's nowhere else we'd like to anchor than Scawfell. An old faithful for us. Weather was a bit sketchy with winds and rain but nothing to stop a bit of exploring on the beach.
Trying to break from the Middle Percy mould we tried South Percy initially but at the tide change around 4pm the rolling became unbearable so we headed straight to the "comfort" of Middle Percy. A very social anchorage (as usual) - drinks in the A-frame with plenty of other yachties and some delicious nibbles - fresh coconut marinated in honey and lime juice was very memorable.
Crab pot was set in the boat harbour finally with success (after some tips from the locals) - a lovely large mud crab. Yum yum - Singapore Chilli Mud Crab for dinner! Hmmm slight problem - no crab cracking utensils..pliers will do!