East Coast Part 7: Maggie Madness/Townsville

Note: All pictures stolen from Georgia/Dave and Becki due to my camera being broken and Hannah not uploading her pictures even though she flew home in July. Not that I'm complaining Hannah. Just saying. Might want to put those pictures up.... ;)

Our greyhound journey was unevevntful and only slightly hungover. Dave had a very proud moment at one of the meal breaks however when he found, and opened, a coconut. Drinking milk from what looked like a furry shell at a service station in the middle of nowhere...there's a first time for everything!!!

Day One
(although not actually a tour, breaking it down into days helps me to write, and I'm lazy)

But soon enough our Greyhound arrived at the ferry terminal - a bus stop I knew very well - and it was time to meet Maggie!

Magnetic island has always been one of my favourite places in Australia. Okay, so it might not actually be magnetic but it does somehow draw you in. Covered in rainforest and surrounded by beautiful tiny bays I don't even feel as though I've scratched the surface of this place, despite having visited it many times.

Both times that I've needed to choose a hostel on the island I've gone for the Bungalow Bay YHA. It gave me one brilliant birthday and a fantastic place to park Kat Slater for a couple of nights. This time, however, we'd booked into the Base hostel around the other side of the island. This was purely a frugal choice (I could get it at cost through work) but did go to show that sometimes you really should step out of your comfort zone.

It's in literally the most perfect location, right on the beach and with absolutely incredible views.

Sadly we were down two Canadians as Becki and Dave had alternative accommodation included with their dive course. There were very sad faces all round when we worked this out - only on the ferry on the way over! Good job they checked before trying to check in...!

Hannah, Helen and I had a lovely roommate Georgia who we got on with instantly. We knew we'd be firm friends when she shared the excitement of renting out a 'Barbie car' to drive around the island the next day.

I'm a little bit (okay...a lot) obsessed with moon rises and had basically planned our evening around the super moon rise that was going to happen.

Settling in with our free meal and cheap jugs of beer the lunar showcase didn't disappoint. Obviously it's very hard to capture it with bog standard cameras but suffice to say pretty much everyone yelped "Look at the fucking MOON that's INSANE" at some point in the evening. Along with some poignant silent reflection too, obviously.

The east coast is a funny beast with you often bumping in to people you met earlier in the trip. So it was that we found 4 girls who'd been due to do Fraser island with the same company as us the day after ours finished. We teamed up with them and two hilarious northerners and initiated some drinking Games. 'Koala' was modified, with the rules applying only if you hugged a random stranger in the bar. Last to hug lost. 

But most people were rising early so Hannah, Helen and I were left to battle the possums and curlews as we sat outside enjoying the balmy evening and clear sky.

Day Two

We woke up and had our free breakfast sat looking out over the beach and ocean... There are worse ways to start the day! Once our tummies were full of coffee and bacon we wandered down to the mini moke shop to collect our trusty steed for the next 24 hours: Barbara the Barbie Car!

Looking pretty cool we drove over to the other side of the island to check out Horse Shoe bay, beeping and cheering as we passed Dave and Becki waiting for a bus!

We had a nice time mooching around and mentally spending a lot of money on art. Barbara also had the added use of driving Dave and Becki back to their dive centre after they missed their bus back after a medical. Thanks Barbs!

To be honest, we probably would have been happy to simply drive around for the entire day with the wind in our hair, but we'd got a nice picnic packed for lunch in Radical Bay.

Unfortunately the walk wasn't particularly well signposted and, after getting pretty lost, we ended up wandering down to Arthur Bay instead. Just as beautiful!

There's something very nice about having a beach to yourselves or only sharing it with a couple of other people, especially on a little cove like this. You can keep your Sydney beaches, Bondi has nothing on this!

Helen and I opted to have a splash about, with the warm water still coming as something of a novelty.

But we had a date with some feathered friends and so took off back to Horse Shoe bay and - more specifically - Bungalow Bay for their daily lorikeet feeding!

These little guys might look cute but, trust me, when you have ten of them screeching in your ear it's like being in a technicolour Hitchcock.

All the little blighters kept being scared away but we persevered until a random guy turned up. It seemed like he was the bird whisperer because as soon as he raised his arms all of a sudden they lost their fear and flew down for some dinner!

The colours are so bright and they really are cute to look at.

But they dug so hard into Helen and I's arms that we were covered in lots of scratches. It did look a little bit like we'd done a really crap job at cutting our wrists. 

After making sure all the birds had their fill of soggy bread we whizzed back around to Horseshoe to see the sunset.

And pose in the car too, obviously.

And write in the sand...

The sunset was absolutely incredible.

When it got too dark we cruised over to picnic bay to take in the lights of Townsville and then picked up Dave, Becki and their friend from the dive course. We spent our evening chilling out on the beach and drinking cider. It's such a hard life...

Day Three

We dragged ourselves out of bed nice and early to drive over and do the famous 'Forts Walk' before we had to return Barbara. On the drive over we ended up behind a 'Ken' car piloted by two people we named Ken and Sven. Unfortunately due to both cars overshooting the turn off and subsequently do a U-turn back in the same direction we looked very much like we were following them...whoops!

The Forts walk was beautiful. It's supposed to be a brilliant place to spot wild koalas but we had no luck. We even had people telling us that they'd seen a mum and baby but after searching fruitlessly we gave up. 

The walk itself was pretty gentle, but we did see one guy struggling...an old guy who was for some unknown reason dragging a small suitcase up the hill with him. Sure.

Magnetic Island was used as a military base during WW2 although no shots were ever fired. All that remains now are some ruins filled with animals.

We could easily have stayed up here all day drinking in the view, but sadly Barbara had to be returned by a certain time.

After a very emotional goodbye we all passed out on the beach. Bed time was early that night as we all had to be up very early the next day...

Day Four

Even though our alarms were set disgustingly early we didn't mind as it was so we could be up early four our 'Bushtucker Champagne Breakfast' over at Bungalow Bay. To say the food was FUCKING AMAZING would be a massive understatement. We had toast cooked on an actual campfire, herb encrusted lamb chops, bacon, eggs, sausages, 'toad in the hole', fresh honey lifted from a hive that actual morning, pancakes, rosella jam and all different kinds of fruit. It almost made us not too fussed about the animals that were brought out and paraded for our enjoyment.

First up we had a little crocodile. All of us (eventually) had a stroke, but poor Helen got a fright when it suddenly decided to make a break for it as she was right next to it. 

There was also a big snake, name unknown. 

After stuffing ourselves we headed down to the Koala park to see Hannah hold a koala.

Helen and I also got a little stroke; we then all got to meet a teeny tiny baby koala who was only a few months old! It was so cute it hurt my eyes.

Sadly it was then time to head to our ferry. All of us were really sad and not at all ready to leave. Every time I visit Maggie it just makes me realise what an amazing place it is. I could easily spend another week over there and not quite fit everything in.


It wasn't all bad however as we were going to have a lovely sail with Mick and Val that evening! After strolling along the strand and getting the world's best pistacio gelato from Juliette's we headed to the yacht club via a bottle o ready to get on the water!

As Dave and Becki's course finished too late they headed over to 'Hotel Wally' and our home for the night - thank you Wally for putting up 5 backpackers!!!

But Helen, Hannah and I really enoyed our sail so big thanks to Mick, Val and the crew of Panacea. Unfortunately there wasn't much wind, but we still really enjoyed ourselves. I also hope we answered Hannah and Helen's questions about why we had to stock up on alcohol for a short sailing trip...!

Such a beautiful sunset

We dashed off after we got back in as we had a BBQ date at Wally's and also had to cheer Queensland on in the State of Origin match. They must have heard us shouting (and doing a little bit of swearing) because QLD romped to a glorious victory!!!

Wally cooked up a feast for us - thank you so much!!! - and after the match we even got to Skype my Mum and introduce her to my new Canadian friends.

At some point someone suggested doing tequila and before we knew it it was 2am and we were all pretty tipsy. We had such a fun night and are very grateful to Wally for his hospitality and company. Don't you love unexpectedly fun nights like that???

Chez Wally gave us the best view to wake up to, even though we were pretty hungover! There was only one thing for it...coffee and jaffles at my favourite Townsville place The Sweatshop

Ahh...that's better! 

We ALL want this painting

Even though we felt much better after stuffing ourselves with carbs and caffeine the though of more walking with our piles and piles of stuff felt overwhelming... And even Dave 'Hodor' Canavan was feeling tired.

But we made it...only to find that our bus was delayed. Thanks to SO MANY ROADWORKS the journey felt like it lasted forever but I knew that soon we'd be back in my favourite place in the world...

Next Stop: Mission Beach!!!

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