Magnetic Magic!

Jakkie writes………

Magnetic Island in Queensland is beautiful. We took a day trip there by ferry last week.

Magnetic Island was named by James Cook in 1770 when he believed the magnetic compass on his ship ‘Endeavour’ was effected by the island. I must admit, it does have a kind of magnetic charm.

Our intention for the day was to do some snorkelling and to find a Koala. Neither of us have come across a Koala on our trip so far, so we were on a mission as apparently Magnetic Island is full of them!

The day started by almost missing the 9.30am ferry crossing. Glen and I have a very unhealthy habit of nearly always being late. We almost exceeded the speed limit getting to the ferry terminal in Townsville and because we weren’t sure where it was, was making the journey more stressful. We found the ferry terminal with a few minutes to spare, so we threw the Dreamtime van into the nearest available car parking spot. This unfortunately upset the car park attendant, because we had parked in a non camper-van designated area, taking up 2 parking places instead of one, but we really didn’t have time to move the van, so we muttered our sincere apologies and legged it to the ferry only just making it.


Once on the island all thoughts of car park attendants and stressful road journeys faded into insignificance as the Island and all its beauty engulfed us.

We bought a bus pass each for the day to enable us to hop on and off at different spots on the Island. Actually 50 cents of our ticket was bought by a lovely old woman sitting at the front of the bus who couldn’t bare seeing us scrabble around in our pockets and bags for the remaining 50 cents we needed for the rest of the fare. Thank you sweet woman, you were very kind and saved the day.

We firstly hoped off the bus at Horseshoe bay where the sea was jade blue and calm. From the beach we took a rainforest bush track which lead us to many of the little bays in the national park. When we got to Radical bay, we came across an old disused piano just sitting there on the beach (as you do) which Glen had fun playing. The wind was a bit stronger on the southern side of the island so the conditions for snorkelling weren’t brilliant, but we had a few sessions regardless. The visibility was poor, but that didn’t matter because from the murky waters, out popped a Loggerhead Turtle! I had just a few moments to witness its huge form while it checked me out and then it disappeared into the murkiness again. That was a very special moment. We dried off and again trekked off to continue our hunt for the elusive Koala.


The Forts walk took us up to two lookouts with panoramic 360 degrees of island beauty. On the way up I was scouring the trees for any sign of Koalas, I even sniffed the air as apparently you can usually smell them before you can see them, but I wasn’t quite sure what Koala smelt like (like a koala of course!) Unfortunately no sign (or sniff) of one, but the view at the top outweighed our koala disappointment. Stunning! It would’ve been nice to sit for a bit and soak up the beauty but we were aware that if we wanted to catch the next bus onward (there wasn’t another one for another hour and a half) we needed to crack on.

We were half running down the loop track joking that a Koala better not appear now as we haven’t got time for it and at that moment I stopped dead. On the footpath before us was a hand written note pinned to the ground by a few rocks. The note said, ‘KOALA’. We looked up above us and there nestled in the tree above was a very cute, very sleepy Koala. We found him!! Suddenly the importance of catching the bus went out the window. We both ‘Oooohed’ and ‘Aaaaahed’ took our photos and thanked the person who was on the path before us for kindly leaving the note as if it wasn’t for the note, we would never have spotted it.

We didn’t miss our bus and we took it to the far point at the other end of the island called Picnic bay, which apparently is great for watching the sunset. We sat at Picnic bay and had a picnic (of course, we had to honour its name) just in time for sunset and the bus back to get the 7pm ferry.

Thank you Magnetic Island for a truly wonderful day……and the best bit was WE SAW A KOALA!!

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