We arrived in Townsville on Wednesday afternoon and headed straight to the ferry. A short 25 minute ride and we arrived in paradise! Words and pictures will never begin to describe how beautiful this island is. It consists of four main bays. We landed in Nelly Bay. Our Bnb was in Picnic Bay. Geoffrey Bay is where they feed the rock wallabies and Horseshoe Bay, on the other side of the island is where most of the watersports happen. There is a bus that runs from one end to the other. For 7 bucks you can get on and off all day long.
Murray and Rhonda, our hosts, suggested that we do a short hike up behind their house. Hawksbury Point is only 600 metres from bottom to top. The terrain is rough and it is a pretty steady climb. We were rewarded with a spectacular view of Picnic and Nelly Bay. We could see Townsville and many other islands of which we have no clue what they are called.
After a quick lunch we hopped the bus and got off at Geoffrey Bay. We wandered about and seeing no wallabies, we thought we’d start walking towards The Forts which is where the koalas live in the wild. It was a pretty decent walk, lots of hills and rocky pathways. Once at The Forts, the information board tells us that the circuit is 1.9 kms and to allow two hours to complete. That must be for real slowpokes! Off we go! The slope is a gentle incline. We meet a few folks on their way back who tell us that there is a mommy koala with her baby sleeping up in a tree. We are finally rewarded with our first koala! So fuzzy and cute! And so sleepy! Richard takes a few pictures and we continue on. The surroundings are amazing – many different trees, birds and vegetation. Rocks and escarpments on one side of us and valley and clear blue ocean on the other. Paradise! We start to see signs for The Forts and the way gets steeper. In fact, we are now just walking up stone steps – some large, some small. And up. And up. And Up! But the rewards are great for those who persevere! The Forts was the first line of defense to protect the bay during the war. The lookout towers and signal stations were high atop the rocks. And we got to the top! Can’t imagine the men and women that made that trek up there everyday carrying a full army kit. Makes you appreciate these folks for what they do to protect us every day.
The view is fantastic! A 300 degree sight line. The day is clear and we can see for miles! If only we knew what all those damn islands were called!
The walk down is pretty steep and just a little treacherous. We make it down and see our koala again – still sleeping. Total time of our walk – two and a half hours. So I guess we are slow pokes!
Off to Horseshoe Bay for a drink and to watch the sunset. There is a horse pasture along the way so we stop to say hello to the horses that are hanging out at the fence and to video the kangaroos that are eating the horse feed. The horses love the attention but the roos are spooked and hop off to a safe distance. At the bay, the drink is lovely, the sunset disappointing. Nothing beats a Manitoba sunset – at least nothing that we’ve seen yet.
Back to Picnic Bay for an authentic Italian meal at a local restaurant. A nice bottle of wine and some pasta end our day on Magnetic Island.
As we were unaware of what a gem this is, we only booked a two night, one day stay. If anyone is coming around this way, I would suggest at least a couple of days. There is so much to see and do. I would highly recommend this island.
So, now we’re on the bus travelling south along the coast to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays. We have a tour booked for Sunday on a schooner. How fun!
For those that are keeping track, we’re down another water bottle. It got lost somewhere between Townsville airport, the ferry depot on either end or the ferry itself. Sigh.
Until next time,
The Happy Wanderer