Exploring Magnetic Island

Thursday (9 September) we stayed on board and did boat jobs. So we made some water; did some hand washing; made routine engine checks; and sorted out the navigation in readiness for our departure in the morning. During the afternoon we saw some whales frolicking in the distance but, unfortunately, they didn’t come in closer. After our final Cape Upstart sunset we had an early night.

Friday morning, at 3.30 am, we picked up our anchor and heading into the darkness. We had to dodge a few prawn boats as we worked our way out of the bay, having to motor sail initially as there was little wind, so we took the opportunity to make some water too. Around 9 am the wind had filled in and the swells started to push us around a bit – but we had a fantastic feisty downwind sail to the Horseshoe Bay anchorage on Magnetic Island having covered the 70 miles quickly and had our anchor down by 2.30 pm.

Although there were over 90 boats in the bay there was lots of room and we just anchored at the back of the fleet. We were pretty tired so had a quiet afternoon and evening on board enjoying the sunset and watching the prawn boats heading out to sea for the night before we headed down below for an early night.

Saturday morning we headed ashore and explored the beach area a little bit before having a coffee out at one of the seafront cafes. The anchorage is designated by yellow buoys which have a 6 knot restriction within – outside of that watersports are allowed, so anchor further out there and you would expect to get buzzed by jet skis etc.

We then caught the bus and got off at Geoffrey Bay and enjoyed the views there before walking around to Nelly Bay.

We had seen (on Facebook) that Norm was currently in the marina here so we wandered around, checked out the marina (pretty nice actually) and found SV Peggy Anne on the dock so popped down for a catch up with him. Was lovely to see him again.

We then headed to the supermarket at the ferry terminal – realising just how far from home we are from the signpost – and picked up some fresh produce before realising that there was a big gap in the timetable to the next bus, so decided to grab a taxi back. Was an interesting ride as the driver explained that, normally, about 70% of their customers at this time of year are from Victoria and, with the latest lockdowns, they were missing so most businesses were feeling the pinch.

On arriving back we continued checking out the small shops at Horseshoe Bay before heading to the Marlin Bar Tavern for a couple of cold ones before we returned to Morphie, where we sat in the cockpit for a while before having a quiet night in.

Sunday morning we went ashore early. Magnetic Island has a market on the foreshore on the 2nd Sunday of each month so we thought we’d check it out. Was some interesting art and crafts but nothing we would need to have onboard. Great to see the motorbikes though….

After the market we had breakfast in a café before deciding to go searching for wild koalas. Allegedly some had been spotted at Wallaby Street a couple of kms away tucked down a back street. It was a long and hot walk but at least it was largely paved and, yay, we found one sleeping in an eucalyptus tree along the side of a path. He was pretty sleepy but did manage to open his eyes to say hi before snoozing again. Was very exciting!

We then walked back towards Horseshoe Bay and had a kangaroo encounter along the way.

In need of some refreshment we then stopped off at the Bungalow Bay Koala Village (a Youth Hostel property) for a cold drink before continuing our return trip. They do have captive koalas there but we didn’t feel the need to pay to see them now that we had managed to find a wild one.

We then returned to Morphie for a quiet night on board.

Monday morning and we were up early again for a bus tour of the island. We got off first at The Forts which is a trek up into the hills and, apparently, good for koala spotting. Well, we walked and walked and walked and looked and looked and looked…but to no avail. Now other friends had done this only a week ago and had seen a family of koalas but they weren’t around for us. Never mind, we enjoyed the scenery along the way although the walk was a bit of a stretch for me.

We walked back – still searching in vain for koalas – before getting back on the bus to Picnic Bay. We got off here and walked the foreshore before checking the bus timetables. Again there was a wait so we decided to have some lunch in the Picnic Bay Pub which was surprisingly good.

After lunch we rejoined the bus and got off at Arcadia and went for walk along Armand Way.

This is where the rock wallabies hang out so I had already prepped a little bag of carrots for them, feeling optimistic. We found the first couple by the bus stop although they were a bit nervous, but certainly enjoyed the carrots. We carried on walking through the rocks and boulders and suddenly we had quite a few friends come to join us. We both really enjoyed getting up close and personal with these lovely little critters.

Returning to Arcadia we had a recuperative ice cream whilst waiting for the bus back to Horseshoe Bay. We had hoped to feed the rainbow parakeets on the foreshore but they were only interested in begging for chips and cakes from other tourists…which is really bad for them. So we decided to return to the Bungalow Bay Koala Village on the bus (having had enough walking for one day) where they feed the birds at 4pm for free. So we had a couple of happy hour cold ones and then we were given some fruit and were told to walk across the bridge. Well, it was quite intense, with parakeets everywhere including landing on our heads and shoulders….

After that we returned again to Horseshoe Bay on the bus and had a couple of beers in the Marlin Bar Tavern before returning to Morphie for the night. It had been such a great day.

Tuesday morning we had a lazy start and then went to the beach for the day. We had hoped to do a bit of bobbing and, although there was a shark netted enclosure, both of us were a bit uncertain about the cloudy water so didn’t do much more than paddle. But we had a lovely day anyway. Here is the view from our shade tent on the beach.

This morning, Wednesday, and we are just chilling out onboard. Tomorrow we are heading into Breakwater Marina in Townsville for a week. We need to re-provision / visit doctors / get medications / do laundry / wash Morphie down etc. So looking forward to exploring somewhere new.

We continue to send love and hugs to you all and didn’t think you needed any Australian cuties this week as there are lots of special moments whilst here on Magnetic Island. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and may well revisit when we turn south again to return to the Gold Coast.

Bye for now