I’m caught taking too many photos of sugarcane fields by Nick our cameraman who informs me if we don’t get on the road, we’ll miss the ferry. Hitting Townsville just in the nick of time, we jump aboard the SeaLink passenger ferry and wave farewell to the mainland for a few days. It’s a quick trip of only seven kilometres out to the paradise of Magnetic Island.
A Visit to Magnetic Island
Just over half of Magnetic Island is national park and falls within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area. It is like a postcard paradise with rocky granite headlands and hoop pines dropping down to sandy bays and azure seas. Its beauty is immediately apparent and I’m already in love with it before I’ve even taken two steps off the ferry.
2,000 lucky locals call the island home and Adam, who runs the local boat charter Aquascene, has been one such man for over 35 years. We jump aboard his boat and cruise to some of his favorite bays. He even introduces us first hand to the bird life he’s become friendly with over the years. We have a quick swim and an afternoon tea of lamingtons before watching the sunset over the horizon. Another perfect day.
Sunrise is just as spectacular from my bedroom, which is perched upon a cliff facing east at the Grand Mercure Apartments. With an endless view of ocean and some tiny rock wallabies saying ‘good morning’, I take in the pink dawn of another adventure-filled day.
Breakfast is with the wildlife at Bungalow Bay where we meet the incredibly passionate Tony who’s lived his life as a ranger and a protector of our native wildlife. He introduces me to his weird and wonderful menagerie, puts a lizard on my head, gives me a snake to snuggle and then tops it off with a cuddle with Matilda, a sweet but sleepy koala.
Seeing how much I love his koalas, he takes us on his favourite walk on the island, the Forts walk where you have a 90% chance of spotting koalas in the wild. We spot two on the way up and are rewarded for our efforts with a spectacular view over Arthur Bay from the summit, where two lookout posts and gun placements stand as legacies to our freedom from World War II.
View from Above
I love Magnetic Island, but the next morning I can’t resist slipping back to Townsville on board Sealink to take a scenic flight in the world’s only two-passenger, open cockpit bi-plane on floats. The ‘Red Baron’ seaplane is actually a movie star that now calls Townsville home. She starred in the 1996 movie ‘The Phantom’ with famous passengers Catherine Zeta-Jones and Billy Zane.
Today she is flying Josh, our assistant and myself. We squeeze into the front seats of this red rocket seaplane with our leather flying caps on, and aviation guru/pilot Paul takes us up and over the sea with some adrenalin-pumping aerobatics! This is unbelievable fun as we wave to ‘Maggie’ and the crew from the air. Ahhh the thrill of the adventure….
The last ten days have been a scenic and exhilarating road trip along the Great Barrier Reef. As the sun sets on our final day, we look at each and appreciate another adventure, discovering new places and making new friends along the way.
Have you ever visited Magnetic Island yourself? Share your experience in the comments below!