Townsville is a Town which many backpackers choose to skip, and for good reason; there is almost nothing to do there. I went for two nights and only one full day. Firstly as I needed a few nights to recover after the party scene in Airlie Beach, and secondly I had heard that there was a really lovely walk that you could do called the Castle Hill Cliff walk.
The walk was great, I chose the goat track which is 1,315 steps to the top. From the top you get great views of the town and Magnetic Island. Look in my photo album on this trip to see what I mean.
Next stop was Magnetic Island. I got the ferry over from Townsville and it takes about 20 minutes. The island is far larger more developed then the Whitsunday's or Fraser. The island has regular buses, lots of Hotels and Holiday resorts and two backpacker hostels to choose from. I chose to stay in X Base hostel as I was meeting a few friends there. It was easily the best hostel I have stayed on during this trip. In Noosa I stayed in a hostel called "Backpackers by the Beach" and in 1770 I stayed in a Hostel called "Beachside", but neither hostels were anywhere near as close to the beach as this hostel, which didn't even mention a beach in the name!
The hostel was literally on the beach, with log cabins all along the beach all with balconies, all with a sea view. Again, look in my photos to see the view I got to wake up to every morning. The first day on the island was incredibly lazy, spent catching up with friends on the beach. The hostel was also great for entertainment, as there aren't any bars or clubs near the hostel so they put on entertainment every night in the hostel bar. Entertainment included a quiz, bingo and bar wars.
On the second day we did two lots of snorkelling. The first was on the bay that our hostel was next to and the second was in a place called Arthur Bay. The second place was better. But in all honestly, neither places even came close to what I got to see on the Whitsunday's.
The third day the plan was to explore some of the islands walks, as almost the entirety of the island is a national park. But we woke up to 35 degrees of heat and it soon became clear that it was far too hot to do much hiking. So we relaxed all day and then did a sunset trek. We did the trek from Nelly Bay to Picnic bay and got to the top just in time for sunset. Really nice and a pretty gently walk.
The fourth day was the final day and so we tried to cram in as much as possible. We went to horseshoe bay. A really nice beach with a nice walk through the forest to get there. Look out on your walk for kangaroos and wallabies as we saw lots of these. Horseshoe bay is lovely but is nowhere near as nice as the Horseshoe Bay in Greece (which has been voted the 7th most beautiful beach in the world). We then went to the koala sanctuary. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not exactly a natural with animals, and this sanctuary was set up to be a two hour tour in which they show you animals and then you get to hold them. I was not loving this experience. The woman who handed me the crocodile then went off into a speech on its habitat and didn't see me walking towards her shaking my head saying "I don't like it I don't like it!!". Everyone laughed, apart from me as I am now permanently scared from the experience. After that I was made to hold a whole range of creatures. The pictures say it all. The only one I really enjoyed holding was the Koala. Although as it was a male Koala they have a glad on their neck which they rub on you to leave their scent, and it smelt like sweaty feet!
We then did the forts walk. A real highlight of Magnetic Island. The Island was used in WW2 to look out for incoming Japanese ships. The forts, gun points, and ammunitions storage huts are all still there. Also a great walk for those not interested in history as you get to see many koalas in their natural habitat. And great views from the top.
Magnetic Island is in no way just for backpackers, I would recommend it to everyone. A beautiful island with lots to do on it. I couldn't do everything I wanted in the time I was there. And if you love animals I'm sure you will love the Koala sanctuary much more then I did!