For those of you wondering what is magnetic about Magnetic Island, here is the lowdown. Only 8 kms offshore from Townsville, it was so named by Captain Cook because of the apparent magnetic effect it had on the ship’s compass as he was sailing up the coast in 1770. This effect was never replicated, but having spent a few days here, we can vouch for magnetism of a different kind!
I will be honest and say I personally was not looking forward to Magnetic Island… close to the mainland, an extremely popular holiday destination with hordes of tourists descending on the island from the local ferry day in day out, and lots of yachties congregating there! But after the initial shock of the masses, we found it a lovely spot to come to and ended up staying there for three nights.
We spent most of our time based at Horseshoe Bay.
The largest bay on the island, protected from the trade winds, it seems to be a winter home for many cruisers. We counted some 30 boats anchored, and even Take It Easy joined us there! There is a small settlement which attracts tourists of all nationalities. There are a few water sports businesses with the dreaded jet skis and tubes of death zooming around the bay, so you definitely don’t go there for peace and quiet. But the eateries along its foreshore were nice for a couple of restaurant meals, and the beautiful long beach was great for Bengie too who could walk safely in the morning.
We had been starved of exercise for the last couple of weeks so we took the opportunity to explore the many walking tracks on the island. It is scenic, with granite outcrops, rainforest, interesting vegetation such as hoop pines, kapok trees, even bougainvillea, and the tracks lead through bushland to beautiful palm fringed aqua bays and stunning lookouts. We followed a historical track to the old World War II fort and gun emplacement, did a long loop walk that linked the southern bays and afforded stunning views towards the mainland and the nearby islands, and we took Anui to a couple of quieter coves outside of the favoured Horseshoe Bay for a less crowded interlude and a snorkel. Here is a slide show of some of the lovely sights we enjoyed. Just swipe to move to the next image.
We sailed back to Townsville on Wednesday afternoon.
We are now doing the usual chores (provisioning and laundry), ready for the continuation of our trek north. Our next destinations: Orpheus Island with its giant clams, and majestic Hinchinbrook Island. More on this over the next few posts.