I love the heat, the sun and the beach. I love summer, however, I felt like I didn't get enough of that in 2012. Spending five weeks in Europe, in what was meant to be spring (and felt like winter), probably contributed to the insufficiency of my usual heat consumption, but also coming back to winter in Brisbane felt like winter lasted for ages. I know, I know, winter in Brisbane doesn't actually get that bad, but having being here for 20 years, I expected more warmth. I guess this was why we decided to go somewhere sunny and warm over the Christmas break.
Overseas travel is so cheap nowadays that people tend to think about going overseas than somewhere in Australia. My husband and I talked about what we wanted on our holiday. We wanted the beach, the sun, the heat, relaxation and lots of outdoor activities. I did my research and decided Magnetic Island suited us the best. It was less expensive than other islands in North Queensland, and offered all aspects of what we wanted on our holiday and more.
Magnetic Island is located just 8 kilometres off Townsville, just a twenty-minute ferry ride away. Its relaxed tropical lifestyle, secluded beaches, access to the Great Barrier Reef, blend of untouched national parks offer an experience of a lifetime in Australia's tropics.
Spending seven nights there was absolutely heaven. We managed to snatch the last beach-front accommodation at Nelly Bay. Although it was a little pricey, we figured if we were going to spend most of our time there, we may as well be very comfortable.
Out of all the bays on Magnetic Island, Nelly Bay was my absolute favourite. There were a lot of people traffic around the ferry terminal, but where we stayed was relatively quiet and peaceful. If this is not what you want, you can take your pick from Horseshoe Bay, Picnic Bay and Arcadia offering all sorts of accommodation, from resorts and luxury villas to self-contained and budge. No matter what kind of a traveller you are, you are sure to find something that suits you.
There were plenty to do on the island. We rented scooters - Paris and Mickey (yes, they all hadnames), and rode around the island stopping to take photos, for lunch, and to chill on the beach. We got to see all of the bays accessible via roads and just loved riding along the turquoise water with wind in our faces. It was quite nerve-wracking when riding along a narrow road with a bus or ten cars behind you, but I must say the other motorists seemed to be quite good about it. I pulled over whenever I got the chance and did not get one dirty look or flashing lights.
Fishing was the highlight of our trip. We caught baby reef sharks, cods, yellowtail breams etc. It was so exciting because each time we were reeling in, we did not know what could be on the hook. We fished every day and when we ran out of sinkers or bait, we popped back to Fish'n N Fuel'n for more. As well as fishing, we also got close and personal with some fish while snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef. My husband and I swam hand-in-hand looking at the amazing coral and beautiful fish. It was like a whole new world under the surface. Just breathtaking!
We found that because we had no transport (other than the scooters for two days), we either cooked or ate out near where we stayed. With Mexican, fish and chips, pizza and pasta and French restaurants nearby, we didn't have problems deciding what to eat. Some restaurants even offered home delivery, which was handy when we did not feel like the 10-minute walk.
There was an abundance of activities on offer ranging from the invigorating, like the jet ski tours, to the relaxing, sailing in a quiet bay. Or you can swim, snorkel or just laze in the sun.
We both truly loved our time on Magnetic Island. With a quiet beach just 40 metres from our town-house, fishing being a five-minute walk away, friendly locals, decent priced groceries, various restaurants, we couldn't have really ask for more. I've heard people commenting about how touristy Magnetic Island has become compared to a few years ago. This may be true, but I experienced Magnetic Island culture. One thing we did not do was hiking. With 24 kilometres of walking tracks through the park with many spectacular lookouts, I felt like this was the only thing I should have done. Nevertheless, we had a great time and started 2013 recharged and refreshed.
If you would like more information, check out www.whatsonmagneticisland.com.au as it contains a lot of information and I found this very useful when planning my trip.