Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | November 3, 2014

Adventures on the Other Side of the World #18

If you ever visit Townsville, I highly recommend making the trip over to Magnetic Island.

If you ever visit Townsville, I highly recommend making the trip over to Magnetic Island.

My dear readers, I have gone and done it again, by which I mean I have managed to get some colour, and that colour is an angry, angry red.  I am not sure if I didn’t apply enough sunscreen, didn’t take to the shade often enough, or some combination of the both, but there are definitely consequences to be paid for spending a day at the beach when your skin is as fair as mine is, and when you also have a habit of forgetting just how quickly you can burn when the symptoms don’t show right away. Yes, there are consequences that I am paying, but while I do regret the sunburn, I don’t regret the day at all.  My last full day in Townsville with the Magoos has been a delight, and I’m sorry to be heading away (though glad I am hopefully not wearing out my welcome).

Liz has a few days off as part of her regular rotation and I am on vacation, so this morning while Gerry went to work and the kids went off to school, we didn’t have to do anything.  For the past couple of days we’ve been talking Australian treats, so Liz and I spent a little time making chocolate crackles (which I made by myself!) and honey joys (which Liz made), before popping them into the fridge to cool and heading off for the ferry.  We had decided to spend the day on Magnetic Island (or Maggie, as the Aussie’s call it), which is across from Townsville and is a great place to holiday. Apparently it got it’s name because Captain James Cook thought the island was magnetic and affecting his compass, though no others have observed a similar thing since, so perhaps Captain Cook simply had a shoddy compass.

We spent our morning relaxing on this beach. The afternoon's was even nicer, believe it or not!

We spent our morning relaxing on this beach. The afternoon’s was even nicer, believe it or not!

It’s just a short 20 minutes from the Breakwater Terminal to the Nelly Bay Terminal on the other side, where the buses run across the island.  Liz and I took the bus to Horseshoe Bay first, because she thought we might go paddle boarding.  When we got there, part of the beach was fenced off, as this week they are apparently doing sand rejuvenation. We grabbed a coffee and went to sit on the beach where the orange fencing wasn’t, where we drank our caffeinated loveliness and read while listening to the waves.  It is the start of stinger (jellyfish) season, so I probably shouldn’t have had a dip in that particular bay, but I was hot so I did go in for a bit, as did Liz, though she admitted she likely wouldn’t have let her kids do it and we were taking a risk.  No stings though, and they didn’t have the red warning flags up (or even the yellow), so I don’t think it was too worrisome.

This little wallaby has an even littler joey peeking out to say hello!

This little wallaby has an even littler joey peeking out to say hello! 

We grabbed lunch after that, then took the bus back to Arcadia, to find Geoffrey Bay on the island.  This bay is beautiful, the water much clearer than Horseshoe Bay, and is not as affected by the tide and rarely gets stingers.  So I spent a lot of time in the water then drying out in the sun while reading (which may be why my shoulders have turned the colour of a tomato, between the reflection off the water and then not hitting the shade soon enough). It was really quiet, likely as tourist season isn’t quite in full swing yet and it is a work day for most, so it was nice to simply relax there. I did put a t-shirt on when I noticed I was starting to pink up, but I think by then I was much too late.

We’d ended the day on that particular bay because not far, about seven minutes by foot in flip flops, is a rocky area where you can feed wild wallabies. We bought some wallaby feed (though you can bring fruit and veggies scraps) and headed over to feed them.  Some were quite shy, not yet humanized, and some were greedy bullies, hissing at their fellow wallabies when they didn’t want to share, but I did get to feel them by hand again, which was awesome.  I love how small and delicate the wallabies look.  One of the wallabies had a joey and I got to feed her while her little one peeked up at me from the pouch. That was a huge highlight for me!

Sunset coming back on the ferry.

Sunset coming back on the ferry.

I ended up giving some of the second bag to another set of tourists there, as there wasn’t time to empty it without missing the next bus back to Nelly Bay.  There, we caught the ferry back to Townsville, while the sun was setting over the sea. It was just beautiful.

I took lots of pictures, and even tried a panoramic picture on my iPhone for the first time, though it was too bumpy on a moving boat for it. None of them do it justice, though. Before going home, Liz and I stopped for gelato at Juliette’s, and it was delicious. The gelato is made fresh there every day, and definitely felt like a true Italian experience. I had a white passionfruit flavour, a salted peanut butter flavour, and stracciatella (which was like sweet cream and chocolate drilled on it). Best gelato in Australia to date, hands down.

Honey joys and chocolate crackles are typically served at Australian parties, but we didn't need an occasion for these sweet treats!

Honey joys and chocolate crackles are typically served at Australian parties, but we didn’t need an occasion for these sweet treats!

After dinner, we went back to the Magoos, where I had a cool shower and an application of aloe before having a delicious dinner of lamb roast with potatoes, asparagus, and a squash of some type (or pumpkin, as they call it here), which was beautifully prepared and plated by Liz.

After that, I got to try the chocolate crackles and honey joys we’d made earlier; the chocolate crackles were good, but the honey joys were even more delicious, as I quite love honey.   As I said, a beautiful, wonderful day, sunburn and all, and I’m sorry to be leaving Townsville so soon. I’ll just have to make a point of coming back to Australia again one day!

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