Journals from James Cook University, Australia
2011-04-29 A Weekend on Magnetic Island
The view from the top of the Forts Walk
About 12 hours after our three day excursion in the Whitsunday Islands, Sam and I boarded another Greyhound bus to Townsville. We arrived in Townsville at 6:30 in the morning and caught an early ferry to Magnetic Island. Magnetic Island, or Maggie as it is known to the locals, is located about 8 kilometers (5 miles) off the coast of Townsville.
We had a very relaxing first day which included lounging on the beach. The hostel we stayed at was definitely the party hostel of the island. People started drinking and playing music at 9 AM and this continued until past midnight. Sam and I were able to get away from the hostel for a day when some friends we met on the sailing trip also happened to be on the island. We went to the other side of the island for the Forts Walk. Magnetic Island is famous for having the largest population of koalas in Australia, and the Forts Walk is supposed to be the perfect place to see them. The four of us trekked two hours round trip and, unfortunately, did not see a koala. At the top of the hike were beautiful views of three different bays on the island and we saw our second snake of the trip on our way back down. We then walked down to one of the most popular bays on the island, Horseshoe Bay. We were able to cool off, have some lunch, and take a dip before going back to the hostel.
Every full moon, our hostel hosts a Full Moon Party. These parties start at 3 PM, last until 5 AM the next morning, hire five separate DJs, and sell tickets to over 2,000 people. The full moon party for April happened to be on one of the nights we were staying on the island. One of the DJs was very well known from MTV and each DJ rotated every few hours. About 1,500 people attended this party and even though we called it a night before 5 AM, the music was deafening until the next morning.
After spending two more very relaxing days on the beach, it was time for our mid-semester break to end. Sam and I traveled another five hours back to Cairns for a very busy school week. Fortunately, after a four day week of taking mid-terms and writing papers, we had another five-day weekend. In Australia, all retail stores and schools are closed for Good Friday and public transportation systems do not run. However, most of these stores are open on Easter day. Sam and I spent a lovely day at the beach, which is where many people spend their Easter day. This year, Easter weekend was the same weekend as the Australian holiday ANZAC Day. Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Day is in remembrance those who fought during World War I. Traditional ANZAC Day celebrations include attending memorial services and having barbeques on the beach.