Mystery tours are a feature introduced in New Horizons, which allows the player to visit random uncharted islands from the airport on their island. Mystery tours provide the player with a way to gather more crafting materials, such as iron nuggets if they run out of them on their home island, as well as opportunities to collect rare fish and bugs, non-native fruit trees, and hybrid flowers.
Accessing the island requires a Nook Miles Ticket, which can be purchased from the Nook Stop in Resident Services for 2,000 Nook Miles. The player must then visit the airport and talk to Orville, selecting the option to "visit other places." If the player has the Nook Miles Ticket in their inventory, Orville will notice and ask if the player would like to visit a mystery island. Visiting a mystery island uses up the Nook Miles Ticket.
All mystery tour islands are guaranteed to feature a dock where the player arrives and can return to their own island, a non-removable simple DIY workbench, and beaches with at least four palm trees. If the island has hardwood and/or pine trees a random tree will drop a wasp nest while another will drop a random furniture item upon being shaken. However, if there are no hardwood and/or pine trees, there will be a guaranteed message in the bottle washed up on the beach. Wilbur is also always present on the dock and will sell flimsy tools in exchange for Nook Miles. The makeup of the island's interior is randomly chosen from a pool of layouts.
If the player has one or more empty house plots available on their island, each mystery tour island will have one random villager camping there. They can be invited to move to the player's island. When all house plots are occupied, no villagers will be present on the mystery islands. They will also not be there if you have reached the limit of villagers living on your island (10 NPC Villagers) and can't reserve any more plots. Villagers are selected the moment the player initiated a mystery tour, and the villager is rolled first on species, then a villager of that species. The game will not factor in personality types at all, and will not consider duplicates or villagers that you have encountered before.
Villagers in your move in queue (obtained from other player's voids and there can only be 4) are excluded from appearing in mystery island tours. They are different from the villagers that Tom Nook invites, as Tom Nook tends to invite villagers of personality types you don't have, and villagers from the move in queue will always claim they moved from a different player island.
If the player has already invited a villager to move to their island that day, even if they have more open plots, no villagers will be present on the mystery island tours. Note that there is an exception to this when filling the initial 3 plots, players can invite more than one villager per day at that time, consisting of one Lazy, one Peppy, and one Normal villager.
Some mystery islands spawn large numbers of rare critters: there exists an island where only tarantulas and scorpions spawn, providing the player with a way to grind large amounts of Bells relatively quickly, similar to palm tree bugs on the island in New Leaf. Passing out due to a tarantula or scorpion bite on a mystery island will not return the player to their home island; they will wake up by the seaplane jetty at the beginning of the island.
Some islands can only be visited at a certain time of day, such as the island infested with hostile insects at 7 PM to 4 AM. However, whatever time you arrived at your island is your locked encounter table for bugs and fish. So you can arrive at an island at 3:59 pm and catch bugs that stop spawning at 4 pm after that time. Likewise, you can visit a nocturnal island, put your system to sleep, and resume your game during the day and get nocturnal spawns during the day.
List of Mystery Islands
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The same island cannot be visited more than once; even though visiting an island with the same layout and theme is possible, if items were left on the ground on a similar one, they will not be present when the player "returns." Wilbur explains that he burns the flight plans to these islands after each trip for "security reasons".
There are exactly 18 unique island layouts. They have been given conjectural names because mystery tour islands are unnamed. Island layouts marked "(rare)" can only be encountered once per day. Some islands will only begin appearing after the Resident Services tent on the player's island has been upgraded to a building.
With the 1.2.0. update, 2 islands containing hybrid flowers were removed and encounter rates were adjusted.
|Spiral River Island||9.68%|
|An island with a river that winds in a spiral. It is part of the subset of four "starter" islands that players will randomly arrive at for their very first mystery tour.|
|Fidget Spinner Island||9.68%|
|An island with a large pond in the middle and a small 2nd level to the northwest. The pond's shape has been compared to a fidget spinner, and it has abundant pond fish such as koi. It is part of the subset of four "starter" islands that players will randomly arrive at for their very first mystery tour.|
|Short River Island||9.68%|
|An island two layers, with a river that begins on a small second layer in the north, flows down a waterfall and turns to the east. It is part of the subset of four "starter" islands that players will randomly arrive at for their very first mystery tour.|
|Short River and Pond Island||9.68%|
|It has almost the exact same layout as short river island #1, but with the addition of a pond in the southwest. It is part of the subset of four "starter" islands that players will randomly arrive at for their very first mystery tour.|
|Arachnid Island||2% (rare)|
|A one-layer island where the only bugs that spawn are tarantulas or scorpions depending on the time of year. It has an octagonal stream that surrounds a smaller island in the center. The stream is narrow enough that it can be jumped across without a vaulting pole. This layout can only appear between 7pm and 4am, the time when both insects are active.|
|A one-layer island where bamboo is found. While there are palm trees on the beaches, there are no fruit, hardwood, or cedar trees. This island has the highest encounter rate and is statistically the most common layout that will be encountered.|
|Money Rock Island||5%|
|Requires the Resident Services building upgrade. An island of nothing but money rocks surrounded by water. By eating fruit, the player can break a rock to the north which will open up space for the player to vault to the central island. The rocks in the central island are all money rocks and will drop a total of 80,500 Bells. If you break the rock at the north to get to the center island before hitting it once, you get an additional 8,000 Bells, totaling 88,500 for the whole island.|
|Scorpion and Money Rock Island||1% (rare)|
|Requires the Resident Services building upgrade. This island has four small triangular cliffs in the northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest corners, and no water features. The ground between the cliffs is scattered with money rocks and flowers. This island also has an abundance of scorpions, depending on the time of year.|
|An island where seemingly the only "fish" that spawn in the river are trash items. This island is good for farming Nook Miles and DIY recipes that use trash, as well as any bugs that spawn on water. It also has an increased dragonfly rate.|
|Fin Island||0.5% (rare)|
|Requires the Resident Services building upgrade. An island with a rectangular pond with rectangular cliffs inside, the tallest one being too tall to climb up to. The only fish that spawn here are the fish that have fins sticking out of the water such as great white sharks, ocean sunfish, hammerhead sharks, and suckerfish. This island can only appear during times of the year where finned fish spawn, and no fish will ever spawn in the river, not even if fish bait is used.|
|A three-layer island dominated by cliffs, rivers, and waterfalls. The river flows in a counter-clockwise path, from the third layer down into a small open area of water, which splits into three other sections, with the right-most section leading into a river-mouth. The other two sections lead to a small basin. This island is useful for getting cliff-top fish like the stringfish and char, and since it has also a single mouth for the river, it also makes river-mouth spawning fish like sturgeon easier to farm.|
|A three-tiered island, the first tier contains hardwood or cedar trees and the second tier contains only fruit trees. The top tier has many flowers and five rocks. There are no ponds or rivers, so only ocean fish can be caught. Previously, the only bugs that spawned here were those that appear when hitting rocks, such as centipedes and pill bugs, but now all bugs spawn as expected. If you clear out all of the island, as you would do when making a tarantula island, you can farm tiger beetles and other ground-spawning bugs.|
|Sister Fruit Island||10%|
|An island with 19 fruit trees that are of a different type than your native fruit. The fruit here will always be the same ones referred to as "sister fruit". The island has a short river with an outlet on the west coast.|
|Big Fish Island||3% (rare)|
|An island where the only fish that spawn are size 4 or larger, making it a great place to catch rare size 6 fish. The river originates on a small plateau in the northeastern corner of the island, flows down waterfalls on the southern and western edges of the plateau, and rejoins to flow through a single mouth at the western edge, forming a small river island in the center. The island has four rocks, four palm trees, four trees of the player's native fruit and six other deciduous trees.|
|Gold Rock and Scorpion Island||0.3% (rare)|
|Requires the Resident Services building upgrade. A rare island with a single rock in the middle which only drops gold nuggets when hit. The rock is surrounded by a rectangular pond with a cliff to the south. The ladder and vaulting pole is required to access the rock. The only insects that spawn are scorpions during the season they are available.|
|Rugged Tree Island||1.5% (rare)|
|Requires the Resident Services building upgrade. An island with no water features and no fruit trees other than coconut trees. It has three small cliff areas, two with a single level and one with two levels. The hardwood trees are plentiful and densely-packed. The only insects that spawn are those associated with trees such as the Goliath beetle, Rainbow stag, and Atlas moth.|
|Hardwood Island||1% (rare)|
|This island has the exact same layout as Bamboo Island, but there are only hardwood trees on it instead of bamboo. The only insects that spawn are those associated with trees such as the Walking stick, Earth-boring dung beetle, and Horned atlas.|
|Curly River Island||8%|
|An island with a single, square-shaped cliff in the northeast with a waterfall that feeds a river that flows in a counter-clockwise loop around the island to an outlet on the east coast. Only dragonflies and insects associated with water spawn here.|
Previously available Mystery Islands
These two islands were removed with the 1.2.0 Earth Day update.
|Name||Old Encounter Rate||Map||Image|
|Hybrid Flower Island||2% (rare)|
|A small island consisting of a pond surrounded by hybrid flowers of a single type. The only insects that spawn here are insects that appear near flowers such as butterflies, moths, and honeybees.|
|Big Fish and Hybrid Flower Island||3% (rare)|
|Requires the Resident Services building upgrade. A 3-layer island with a selection of fruit-bearing trees, cedar trees, and palm trees. The highest-most level is a small waterfall with one outlet to the second level. There is a small outlet to the left and then finally flows to a small outlet at the bottom left. There are only size 4+ fish here making getting rare size 6 fish easier. The island also has rare hybrid flowers and only spawns bugs that appear on flowers such as mantis and ladybugs.|
- Each island is numbered within the game's data. Islands 3, 5, 9, 15, and 22 aren't available, suggesting that they were removed during development or may be added in a future update.
- Prior to update 1.2.0, there were two additional islands, both containing hybrid flowers. Encounter rates for the remaining 18 islands were also adjusted.