This past weekend, my roommates Scott and Crystal and I finally went to Magnetic Island for the first time. Affectionately referred to as "Maggie" by Townsvillians, this island is just off the shores of Townsville, a 20 minute ferry ride across the water. I'd heard nothing but good things from everyone who knows Maggie, and let me just say, everyone was right. Maggie Island is an incredible, fantastic place that feels so far from the reality of Townsville. I feel like I just spend my weekend in a completely different part of the world, on an island in the middle of nowhere, where nothing but happiness matters, the people are laid back, the beaches are gorgeous, the hiking trails are awesome, and even the Mexican food is good! And the strangest thing is that as easy as it is to get to the island from Townsville, there aren't many people there. It feels like a secret. There rightfully should be more people, more tourists, more bustle, but no. It's quiet, relaxed, lazy, and you can find yourself on a beautiful beach with no one else on it!
My roommate Scott admiring the incredible views from the top Maggie Island.
The three of us spent Saturday hiking "The Forts" trail, which goes up to the old military forts on the east side of the island (the west side is all national park). The views at the top were incredible, and the trails themselves fascinating. On our way back down, we spotted 2 koalas up in a tree above us. My first koala in the wild! They are just as cute and cuddly-looking in person as they are in pictures. They look so incredibly out of place. They're like stuffed animals that someone placed in the tree as a ridiculous joke. Something that cute couldn't possibly survive in the wild! But what a lifestyle they have! They don't really have any natural predators (that I'm aware of), nor do they have competition for food, since other animals cannot tolerate the toxicity of eucalyptus leaves. They basically just sit around and eat for 4 or 5 hours a day, and spend the rest of the 19 or 20 hours sleeping, letting their body manage the toxins. Eat, sleep, and be adorably cute. I could handle that! :)
Cute koala with stuffed animal ears!
After our hike, we stopped in Horseshoe Bay to fill our empty bellies. And that we did, with good Mexican food!! I'm not sure any of you can appreciate how amazing this was to the three of us. We three Californians have been yearning for good Mexican food since we got here. It most definitely doesn't exist in Townsville, and when we try to make it at home, we come up with some really good food, but it just doesn't taste Mexican. It lacks authenticity. So when we sat down at this Mexican cafe in a tiny stretch of town on a sleepy island of Australia, we did not expect much. But apparently you can not go wrong on this magical island, because Noodie's Mexican Cafe was an oasis of GOOD Mexican food! The three of us could not believe our taste buds. I wish you all could've felt the excitement at our table when we took our first bites... we found it! It truly exists! Someone in this country knows how to make real Mexican food!!
We filled up with food and delicious sangria, and then headed off for our half-hour night hike back to the beach on which we were camping. Night hiking was great, because with our headlamps, we could see little glowing eyes in the darkness, making it easy to spot another koala and several brushtail possums running around the trees. It was definitely a cool experience.
One campfire and a good night's sleep later, we spent a gloriously lazy morning relaxing on the beach, with only about 3 other people on the beach with us. We played in the refreshing water, climbed around on all the massive boulders that line the bay (my playground!), and just layed out in the sun, soaking up the happiness. When Scott and Crystal said they had to leave so that they could get some work done that day, I was far too content in the sun to join them, so I stayed behind on the island for the rest of the day Sunday, just enjoying the magic of the place. When I finally did go home, I felt as if I'd spent my entire weekend doing exactly what I was meant to be doing at every moment. It was perfect.
It was truly an incredible weekend, and I can't believe that such a place exists just a short ferry-ride away from where I live. It's a whole different world! Well that's my story, check out my amazing pictures, because I think they do more to display the beauty of the island than my words could ever do.