Townsville and Magnetic Island
8th July 2012
Waking up that morning and stretching out, I forgot that we parked on a normal street late last night. Sadly, our preferred location to camp overnight by the rock pools on the Strand was deterred by a security warden who told us to move on with a bemused expression on his face. Why bemused? Late at night he was approaching a campervan with its curtains closed, peeking lights surrounding the curtains, quiet music leaking out from inside…and the campervan was rocking. He probably expected the worst when he cleared his throat and came up to the open door with its curtain across. But what he probably didn’t expect as he pulled the curtain open was 2 fully grown adults singing and dancing to Beyonce’s Single Ladies. I don’t he liked it very much to put a ring on it.
So probably about 10pm last night, we moved on very discreetly into residential area and pulled up for the night.
Acting non Chalant, sorting out the van, I finally closed the back door, pleased that we not caused any comment from the residents, I burped. Loudly. And it was just right by when a local was passing by from behind me and my burp wafted into her path. Oops. Time to scarper.
We drove back to the rock pool on the Strand and feeling the need to shower, I forgone any public inhibitions, stripped down to my speedo like swimwear and swam first thing in the morning in the rock pools before getting out and using the open showers to shampoo myself and make myself fresh. At least I wasn’t like certain Europeans who opted to bathe in just their birthday suits.
And the showers were next to the children’s playground. I wouldn’t like to admit that certain mothers were checking out the handsomeness of a certain British man, but there we have it.
It’s Sunday! That means the market on the up and coming street of Flinders Street was in full swing. Showcasing many arts and crafts, budding musicians ranging from the old rockers and the young flute players, you can easily get lost in this popular market. I finally found a new ‘wallet’ for my money, my old one broke its zipper, and all for a measly sum of $2!
After a good morning of bargain hunting, I decided it was time for my brain to be utilised and entered the Tropical Museum of Queensland that held exhibitions on the shipwrecked HMS Pandora that was sent by the British Admiralty to capture the mutinous HMS Bounty. They also held exhibitions on Corals and especially about Coral spawning which proved to be very interesting. But my studious face kept flicking to the corners of the room where I would notice certain staff members staring at me. I ignored them to continue studying the exhibition when one of them approached and asked my thoughts of the exhibition. Perplexed, I said it was interesting to which she gleefully clapped her hands and smiled too much for me and said, ‘your thoughts really mean a lot to us.’ Okay…what’s going on…turns out that they thought I was one of the researchers that discovered coral spawning and was amazed to have that person in their museum. Apparently, I look like one of them. My 5 minutes of environmental fame over, I carried on checking out the geological history and faunal history when I decided to go back to the campervan to find Smera reading her book. It was lunchtime and I wanted to go somewhere different.
She simply answered, ‘why don’t we just go to Magnetic Island for the afternoon?’
An hour later, we could be found hopping onto one of the many frequent ferries that make the trips over to what locals refer to as ‘Maggie’. Quite a tumultuous journey as the sea was very rough and sitting on the front of the boat really could feel the waves that ended up smacking themselves on the windows. Everyone went especially quiet and most clutched at their stomachs with a pallid expression on their faces. But me? I loved it. I absolutely love boats and being upon water. I’m a water baby I reckon and I mucky prefer baths to showers. I think my Dad gets this already as many a time he could be found banging on the door, shouting angrily to get out of the bathroom already. It’s wrong for my old man to get himself like this I know, but doesn’t he know I don’t wear my hearing aids in the bath which I wallow in for 2 hours with candle tea lights and bubble bath? Oh…I have a rubber duck in with me to make it not too girly.
Back to the travels!
The transport around Magnetic Island is pretty easy to work out. There’s a sunbus that stops off at the main places along the 7km stretch of this rocky isle. I would heartily recommend you do public transport as it will cost you a eye watering 180 Australian dollars to get your vehicle across!
The first place I was pretty excited to get dropped off by the sun bus was ‘The Forts‘ . Full of gun emplacements within this national park, it’s easy to forget that Australia itself was threatened in the second world war by the possible invasion by the Japanese. They even had a few bombings mostly in the Townsville area. So gun placements were set up on Magnetic Island just outside of Townsville to have a warning to the populace that an imminent bomb attach was to take place.
Granted, it was useful to walk through the Forts National Park to see the history, but I confess that I was to find something else…wild koalas. With no predators on this island, it’s the largest koala colony in Australia so surely I would be guaranteed to catch a glimpse? Wrong, wrong wrong. I didn’t even see a wag of its ear in sight. I Was very much sorely disappointed not to see Australia’s official animal.
Walking back down, I could feel a pull to the island that I couldn’t quite shake off. It hummed inside my head with a metallic noise and before I knew it, I was pinned to a massive boulder. Oh dear, I’ve become attached to magnetic island! My embedded cochlear implant magnet was he source of my downfall. See the pics…
And a shout out to my worried aunties, I’m only a joking!
Hopping back onto the sunbus, we could see the clouds were darkening again…godnabbit! But arriving into Horseshoe Bay that amazingly looks like a horseshoe shape, both Smera and I treated ourselves to Tacos and an added extra for me…a beer. We watched the action on the bay as we slowly ate our food. It’s the place to come if you are willing to spend dollars on water adrenalin activities such as jet skiing, wakeboarding and many more. But looking at the flies buzzing from our empty pockets, I don’t think it’s for us.
Jumping back on the sun bus, we made our way back towards the ferry terminal but we stopped off just before as the sun went down, I really recommend you to do this…jump off at Arcadia, walk a distance to Bremner Point and be treated with this:
Wild Rock Wallabies! They come out at dusk and are amazingly used to us humans. But whatever you do, please do not feed them. Many people feed them the wrong stuff. Many baby rock wallabies came out to play and you can’t help but marvel at the spectacular scene unfolding before you.
Leaving them alone after taking a few snaps, we headed back to the ferry. Both Smera and I were glad to just come for the afternoon today rather than the full day tomorrow as we would have got bored quite easily if we did. But we did enjoy the hours we had on the isle, especially after Smera prised me off the boulder.
After bother rough ferry experience, we took the van up north to a rest point and camped there overnight hoping the wardens wouldn’t catch us. They didn’t.
A day of no koalas but very cute rock wallabies more than made up for it. Australia, sometimes you deliver better goods.