Throwback – Stuff To Write Home About Volume 3 Issue 1 – Magnetic Island

In honour of the tenth anniversary of the year I traveled around Australia, I am posting the articles I wrote and originally posted somewhere else. It’s not there yet, but my sense of humour about my travels is coming out more in subsequent articles. I hope you enjoy my impression of Magnetic Island.

Moving on from Cairns, I took the Greyhound to the ferry terminal at Townsville, and then took the ferry over to Magnetic Island. This island is not in the least magnetic, but apparently the great explorer Captain James Cook named it Magnetic Island because he compass didn’t work properly when he was near it. As it is now, the island is a vacation spot for locals in and around Townsville, tourists, and backpackers.  The hostel/ resort that I stayed at was a short bus ride from the ferry terminal, set amongst some trees. The dorms were actually little A-frame cottages. The majority of my roommates were German and some were boys. It’s not as bad sharing a dorm room with guys as it seems at first (at least from my perspective).  The resort doubled as a wildlife refuge, where the star was the Koala Barney, but as we walked around the park with the guide, a little rock wallaby followed us around. I regret that I didn’t get a picture of the little guy, since he was pretty cute. I held all of the animals available to hold, which is surprising because I didn’t expect I’d ever hold a crocodile or a snake. The reptiles were easier to hold than the Koala. Something that people don’t know about Koalas is that they’re stinky (apparently the female Koalas like stinky). They also have sharp claws for hanging onto trees, or tourists as the case may be. Can’t beat the lifestyle though…sleeping for 18 hours a day, waking only to eat, maybe play a little, find a new branch and go back to sleep.  Shadow the cockatoo was cool too. He could take a seed from between a person’s lips with his tongue, shell it with his beak, swallow the seed and discard the shell, all in a couple of seconds. I saw a possum as well at night time, which hung out in a tree next to the outdoor restaurant/ bar/ lounge area.  I liked the setting of this hostel because it was kind of in the woods, quiet and relaxed, and dark at night time.

I also spent some time at the beach at Horseshoe Bay (actually a horseshoe shape). The beach here is the longest on Magnetic Island. Little beach animals scurried under the sand and made little scribbly designs on the beach when the tide went out. I was sitting at the beach watching the sunset, and an older man (German I think) sat next to me and started to talk. He was saying he had walked over from another bay, which he actually preferred (amazing view apparently). He also explained that the sunset was an optical illusion. I didn’t fully understand what he was saying about it, but the gist is that where the sun appeared to be setting was not due west.  He had landed on Magnetic Island a few years ago, and decided to stay. I think this happens to a lot of people who come to Oz. They fall in love with a particular area and just stay there.

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