Townsville and Magnetic Island

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November 30th 2015
Published: November 30th 2015
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Sunday 29 November

Both of us slept like logs last night after a busy couple of days. Although we did wake early and Pat was making coffee about 7.30 am.

We hadn't brought much stuff in from the car, as we had readied overnight stuff only to bring in.

So we prepared for the day and took stuff to the car. I spoke with the owner for a short while, about various things.

At 8.00 am it was 32℃.

We departed at just before 9.30 am and were heading for Townsville which is not far away, so an easy drive. Nothing in particular to stop for along the way unless we choose to do so.

We saw a sign for a lookout which appealed and pulled off the road into a layby.

Hinchinbrook island was the focus of the lookout, a large island just off the coast here. There was a stunning view of the area from this point, so a good stop.

Our plan was possibly to stop at Ingham, if it looked alright, as we were looking for some breakfast. When we got there, it being a Sunday nothing looked much alive, but Pat spotted a sign for a restaurant in the Tyto National park, so we thought it might be worth a look.

The restaurant was called Tiddaliks (Greedy frog) and was very much open. There were a number of people there and we joined them.

Pat had poached eggs and bacon on toast and I opted for the breakfast buffet. It was like a cafe/restaurant you get in a National Trust location in the UK. Great food, well presented and very helpful staff. The bill, with drinks was AUS$42.

After the breakfast we walked along the raised walkway, looking at various flora and fauna. Lots of birds, including geese and egrets. A terrapin trying to climb a lily pad was fun to watch. Then into the visitor centre, the lady on duty gave us a few details about Ingham and how it was named.

There are a large number of Italians, who ended up in this area, involved with the sugar cane.

Then back to the car and off to Townsville. We drove along mostly unchanging countryside, still a lot of cane, but trees as well. A lot of the scrub had been burnt out, but trees looked ok.

We arrived at Townsville about 1.30 pm and ended up at the hotel after dithering what to do first, as it wasn't quite check in time. The girl on reception was helpful and said the room was available anyway. So we checked in and moved our stuff upstairs.

It had been a hot journey so we refreshed ourselves and headed out. We hadn't gotten the lay of the land yet so went in the car to recce the town.

Along the way we discussed what we were going to do tomorrow, which is to possibly visit Magnetic Island.

You can go by foot or car ferry we knew, but not much more. Therefore we thought if we headed for the Ferry terminals we could find out. First was the foot ferry and the price was AUS$32 each, various crossing times to and from the island and there was a tour bus at a certain time, which was another AUS$30 each or public transport was available on the island.

Next, on to the car ferry terminal and there are again a number of crossing times, cost AUS$180.00. After a moments discussion we opted for the car ferry as we have the car and this would give us the freedom of the Island.

So it was booked, out at 9.00 am, back 5.15 pm.

The time was now 3.20 pm, and we have a busy day tomorrow so a short rest and then out for some dinner later.

At 7 pm we headed out on foot into the local area. The Australians tend to eat early in the evening, so the restaurants were already buzzing. We walked passed a few and ended up in Ribs and Rumps. Pat ordered a lamb rump and I had chicken parmigiana. Another good meal and back to the room at 8.15 pm.

Monday 30 November

A good nights sleep and again we woke early. A bit cloudy but still stinking hot.

Our ferry was due to depart at 9.00 am and was approximately one kilometer away, with us needing to be there 20 minutes before.

In our flurry of things happening yesterday we hadn't topped up with fuel, but we managed to find out that there are 2 petrol stations on the island, so although may have to pay a premium, we could at least get some. At the end of the day it is only 8 kilometers long so we may have difficulty using a lot of fuel.

We left our nice new hotel, with things to swipe everywhere and a remote for the parking.

Fantasea ferry terminal, was our destination and we parked up and waited for the little ferry, called Fantasea Arcadia. It came, we loaded with a few other vehicles and went to the seating on the top deck to watch the world go by.

The journey is 35 minutes and this went very quickly. The ferry arrived at Nelly Bay and we discharged.

We wanted some breakfast and drove passed the town - it's pretty small, then turned round and drove back to an esplanade of shops, where we had seen a 'brekky' sign. But first we also caught sight of the petrol station so bunged in AUS$30.00 to keep us going.

We parked and went into the bakery and ordered two breakfasts, teas and coffees. A great start to the day and a good price.

Pat posted a card to her mum at the post office and then we drove off exploring. After Nelly Bay was Picnic Bay, which was very pretty. Then back through Nelly Bay to Arcadia, then on to Horshoe Bay - and that is it.

The island is idyllic, with lovely beaches and blue skies, like somewhere out of a holiday brochure.

Because we had spent the money to bring the car, this gave us total freedom on the island and we ended up back at Picnic bay, because Pat liked that the most. We spent the afernoon lazing on the beach and swimming, in the shark free zone.

They have little cars for hire here, which they refer to as topless, because obviously they are open topped. They come in various colours but pink predominates and they seem to be driven by pairs of girls more often than not.

During our travels around we spotted a few more new animals to us, mainly birds. We saw a flock of Australian white ibis this morning, a kookaburra who didn't seem to mind posing for pictures. Rainbow Lorikeets, which are very vibrant in there colouring and aptly named, it's noisy too. Also a bird scratching around in leaves, called Chowchillas.

Our return ferry was at 5.15 pm from Nelly Bay and we had stopped at the IGA for a few supplies, before boarding. 35 minutes crossing and one kilometre to the hotel we were soon relaxing in the room.

Distance 38 kilometres today.

A special day and a wonderful place, well worth the visit.


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