We had our new and upgraded van delivered to us in Tully and we set off straight away down the coast to Townsville, about 3 hours away. The town itself seemed to extend out for miles and miles of just shopping malls, fast food restaurants and car dealerships, with big 6 lane highways to seperate them all. We had planned to do some "couchsurfing" in Townsville. Basically there's a website where you can meet people who have a free couch to crash on and so we did exactly that at a girl called Zoe's house. She lived outside the centre of town but we were just happy to have such luxuries as a warm shower, TV and a fridge! We spent our first night at a friend's of hers watching movies and eating free food which took a bit of getting used to as I hadn't seen TV in a while!
After an amazing lie in the next day, we were out in the sunshine with Zoe and her friends and drove up Mount Stuart outside of town to do some rock climbing. The views over Townsville and beyond from the top were amazing and as Dan and I were feeling a little apprehensive about the climbing, Zoe bounded down happily over the side of the cliff! The climbing was great although it was real hard work and we ended up just chilling out and admiring the view and the sunshine! Back at her place we cooked up some food in a real oven! and then headed out to a friend's party. It was cool to be invited to a local house party but it turned out to be pretty lame. Being the poor travellers that we are, we used the opportunity to stock up on free party snacks and came away feeling sick that we had eaten so much. A great night out!
We chilled out the next day and watched some movies at Zoe's place but decided in the afternoon we really should see the town while we were there and so headed into the centre. It wasn't all that special, just a row of shops and a harbour but we headed to the Museum of Tropical Queensland and learnt about the shipwreck of HMS Pandora during the British colonial rule which was really interesting.
We were up early the next morning and made most of the great weather by heading out to Magnetic Island just off the coast. We caught the ferry across and were on the beach by 9 to soak up some rays. The island was really nice with amazing long stretches of beach with hardly anyone there. After laying on the beach for a while we were a little more proactive and took a hike across the hills to another even better bay with even less people. We chilled for a bit more before deciding to walk 6km to our next destination. However, after hiking for half hour and finding ourselves back at the same bay, we managed to hitch hike and a local couple dropped us off at the bottom of a trail which lead to the highest point on the island. We climbed up for an hour, spotting koalas on the way which were really cool! At the top there were some great panoramic views of the island and the mainland and we soaked up the rest of the sunshine before heading back exhausted from all our walking! We spent one more luxurious night infront of the TV and set off early the next day for our next destination.
There wasn't a lot to see in Townsville but it was great to be involved with some local life. Will have to try and couchsurf in a few other towns down the coast. Magnetic Island was definitely the highlight and the weather there certainly kept us happy!