After a few weeks of procrastination, was it yay, or was it nay? Did we want to spend the $180 to go across on the barge with the car? Did we want to just take the pushbikes across? Blah blah blah!
The long weekend was coming up and there were some really good specials to bring the car across. We decided to take the plunge, so to speak and booked our passage over to ‘Maggie’ the affectionate name the locals of the Townsville region call her! There was a catch as there always is with a special, that it was only for the 7.10am barge through to Maggie, (damn!) On the upside, we could also take the pushbikes across for some further Island exploring.
So here we are! On the barge for a 35 minute cruise across the waters! It was a bit breezy being early with the sun only just peaking over the horizon! I love Barry’s two handed selfie action on this shot!
With our day beginning, I decided to have a coffee to try and wake myself up for the day ahead! Barry is quite, how can I say it? ‘Passionate’ about riding bikes! So I knew we would be pushing the pedals straight up!
The barge arrived in Nelly Bay and as we disembarked off the Fantasea, ‘WOW!’ (came to mind) Hasn’t this place changed since last we came, a right little tourist mecca has sprung up to support the docking area of the barges and catamarans! Last time we were here, you just lined up your cars, while waiting for the barge to arrive, you would see the rock wallabies throughout the little caves embedded in the side of the waiting area! Very ‘Swish’.
Our first heading was to Picnic Bay, a short winding, up and down road. This was the sleepy end of town it seemed, or maybe it was just too early, who knows! We parked the car and proceeded to take the bikes off the back of the car. From here we rode around to the Jetty area, which views of Townsville, The Strand and Castle Hill stood out clearly. It really doesn’t look so far across!
We rode around here for a while, taking some short walks through tracks along the way. These paths took us to some beautiful viewing vantage spots, really worth some of the steps!
We loaded the bikes and headed back towards Nelly Bay, all the way, we couldn’t help but notice that the Island had come so far since we were there last in 2003 (I think). It was now a self contained little community, where the permanent natives wouldn’t have to rely on going over to Townsville every other day, just for essentials. Housing, buildings and the communities essential services (medical, shops, golf course etc) were nestled unobtrusively amongst the picturesque back drop of the National Park towards Mt Cook.
In Nelly Bay, we stopped off at a local market. Here we pottered about for a while, checking out what each stall had to offer. Nothing over the top, just like any small town market, in any small town around the country. The chatter amongst stall holders and the locals was extremely familiar! It reminded me of when I used to have a stall in Katherine Markets, selling my wares, a very heartwarming feeling!
As the morning progressed, we were feeling a bit peckish. Knowing that Horseshoe Bay was at the other end of the Island, another 8 kms, and was from memory, a little bit more touristy, so to speWe pointed out different things while we drove along that we may have wanted to do as we meandered our way back for the late afternoon cruise back to Townsville.
Horseshoe Bay, as expected, was where it was all ‘at’!, all the water sport adventures seemed to kick off from here. This meant there was a variety and an abundance of coffee and food on this end of the Island!
To show what is on offer, follow this link to the 2014/15 ‘Magnetic Island Guide’
After walking along the shoreline at Horseshoe Bay, checking out the locals and their activities, we had a coffee and a toastie to settle our stomach rumblings. We perused through the above links hard cover counterpart, which was available at the cafe we were now sitting in. There was a Koala park that looked nice, and was probably the first park/walking track on the ambling road back. We had also heard of the new Forts Walk, and, without going into too much detail as the above link will also give you some background, this was one of the posts for the Army, with rich history of what it was for and how it came to be.
This was an enjoyable walk, not too hard, just a little rough and slippery in places due to the gravel surface.
We did have a 30 minute break and cool down when we got to the top, as coming down would be just as hot, with not a lot of shade on the track…and it was the middle of the day (oops)
Once we arrived back at the carpark, we decided to go back to Picnic Bay to the pub to have a counter meal and a cold drink, before heading back to Geoffrey Bay for some sitting on the beach time before we left!
After lunch, which by the way was scrumptious! I had the salt and pepper squid, while Barry had the boring fisherman’s basket! of course he was eyeing mine off!
We slowly made our way to Geoffrey Bay, where I wanted to relax and take in the beach scene! Barry wanted to go for another bike ride along the boardwalks, which suited me. My aching achillies weren’t up to another ride and Barry was happy to leave me there and explore a little more.
I found a comfortable part of the park, closest to the sand (didn’t want to get sand in my knickers) and just breathed! (le sigh) Heaven on Earth to me, one of my favourite things in the world to do!
As it happened, there was a lot of fluffing around on the beach front to the right – they were setting up for a wedding, I was close enough to check this out, but far enough not to be considered part of the guest list! The bride, as usual, looked stunning, as brides do on a windy beach trying to look glamorous!
After a while, I walked back towards the car and found a park bench that I could sit on and wait for Barry to finish his ride. It was nearly time for us to head back to Nelly Bay for our return trip to Townsville.
Back to Nelly Bay
The day had nearly reached its end, and we were feeling pretty happy that we did take the time to go to Maggie. To reconnect with nature, travel and each other.
I love short trips like this as much as I love the longer ones, camping, visiting, exploring. It is refreshing for the mind and keeps positive thoughts flowing, life isn’t always bad – in fact – it can be beautiful 💞