Suzie Eisfelder
November 14, 2016

As is our wont we went on holidays a couple of weeks ago telling very few people. I expected to continue some online conversations while we were away, we’d checked and were confident we’d have phone/internet access using our mobile phones. How wrong we were. In our unit there were two spots with connectivity and even those spots were patchy. I’m so glad I planned ahead and wrote articles to cover all my normal publishing days during that time, we’ve been back a week and they’ve now run out so I have to get back to what passes for normal writing. I’m going to start by telling you about our trip before moving onto a conference I went to on the weekend and finally heading back to my normal schedule.

Magnetic Island is a magical paradise just off the coast of Townsville. It’s in the dry topics and the weather over the nine days at the end of October and beginning of November illustrated that perfectly. We had a little rain with the days peaking at around 32º or 33º while the nights were around 22º or 23º. There’s so much to do there we covered very little of the sightseeing and touristy type opportunities. Despite being only 52km² it’s teeming with wildlife and lovely walks.

The bus is very handy and the drivers were lovely, sometimes going out of their way to stop between stops to drop us off where we needed. They were happy to make change out of large notes with the comment ‘This isn’t Melbourne, you know’ and I both appreciated the comment and laughed. But being so small, the island is really easy to get around if you don’t want to hire a taxi, or a car, or a bike, or take a bus. If you’re a good walker you can easily get from one place to another with a short walk or a not so short walk.

Things you must see

The Koala Sanctuary is a lovely place to visit. If you visit early enough on the right day you can have a buffet breakfast and see the koalas, crocodiles, snakes, lizards and birds. We did the two hour tour but neglected to pay the $18 each to hold a koala. What we did get during the two hours was a talk about various animals and birds found on the island and a chance to hold lots of things. When I find time this week I’ll try and put up some photos on Instagram and Twitter so you can see what I managed to hold, or what held me. The highlights were holding a python and giving a black cockatoo a ‘kiss’, i.e. feeding it a seed.

The beaches. Some of them are just so gorgeous and the water is exactly the right temperature. I know, you do have to watch out for dangerous stuff like stingers (jellyfish that sting), crocodiles (only saw a little one) and sharks (probably not close in). We got there just days before the stinger season started and found they had stinger nets to keep them out so you could do a little snorkeling, swimming or just paddling. There’s lot of places for snorkeling, I didn’t as I’m so shortsighted I’d need prescription snorkeling equipment in order to be able to see anything, but I did manage to see a few fish while wading around with my glasses on.

We toured the island in a stretch four wheel drive jeep. It was a must as it went to remote beaches that are not accessible by any other type of vehicle. The roads are more pothole than road and our tourguide kept apologising for them but the experience was fantastic. Ziggy knew a lot about the island, even showing us some bush food, we tasted a fruit with a flavour like blue vein cheese and could have licked part of the green ant but chickened out.

If you’re there you must go to the newsagent in Arcadia, buy some Rock Wallaby feed ($2.50) and go to near Geoffrey Bay where you’ll be able to feed Rock Wallabies at any time of day. I know they’re meant to only come out at dawn and dusk but these animals haven’t learned these rules and we saw them at lunchtime. They live in the rocks and their agility is just amazing. I accidentally managed to get this video gem of them.

Things I missed

I missed seeing much in the way of Indigenous heritage and I totally missed diversity. Most of the people I saw were the same colour as me. It was lovely to get back to multicultural Melbourne with all our different colours and cultures. The Monday after our return I sat at uni listening to three people from three different cultures with three different accents talking and it was balm for my soul. I have no idea what they were saying as I was trying to concentrate on my article but their accents were so beautiful in how they were different to mine.

Anyway, that’s enough for today. I might write one more article with photos for Wednesday but it’ll depend on if I can manage to get them off my phone. I’m having issues with this because I have so, so many photos. Why take one photo when 10 will be better?

  1. My bro, SIL and niece holidayed here quite a lot over the years. My SIL grew up in Townsville so knew the area and (growing up) my niece called it Magic Island. They used to rent a house and often holidayed with others. They’d also often hire vehicles of some sort for their time there. I recall seeing pictures – open buggy things.

    They certainly loved it and I gather it was beautiful and tranquil. Sounds like you had a good time and it was what you needed.


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