I made it to Townsville at about 12.15am and dragged all my bags down to the hostel which turned out to be right in the middle of party central.
When I finally made it to my room I had to dodge the mess on the floor (7 guys sharing 1 small room = bad idea!!), then there was the noise from the nightclub nearby, not to mention the 7 varying levels of snoring and a general pong of unwashed male backpacker!! Mmmm....nice! Smells like the colour brown!! I have never been so glad to be leaving a place!!
I met Máire the following day at around 1.30pm and we jumped on the ferry across to Magnetic Island, and from there, hopped onto the waiting bus out to the YHA at Horseshoe Bay.
The YHA hostel is awesome! The rooms are individually placed wooden huts that sleep 8 people and has an en suite bathroom (but not much room for bags and backpacks!!)
I bumped into 3 girls that I was on the Matilda cruise with and Kristine who was at the Jillaroo course with me (small world huh!)
Máire and I walked down to the local beach at Horseshoe Bay to check out the town (which is basically about 8 - 10 shops) and ended up having a drink and dinner at the local pub (Marlin's Bar).
The sun had gone down by the time we headed back to the hostel, so, dressed in summer gear, we did some pretty impressive speed walking by torch light in order to stay warm on our way home.
Our first full day on Magnetic Island was spent looking through brochures and trying to decide what to do. We finally made the decision to hire a "topless car" which are small, jeep like cars with no roofs (great, unless it rains!!)
We caught the bus back to the ferry terminal at Nelly bay to pick up our car....which was pink!!! Ok, the actual car was white, but it had pink bumpers, pink mirrors, pink seats.....basically, it was a Barbie car!! So, with that in mind, we named her Barbara!!
We headed back to the hostel to pick up Lauren and met Marlijne who had just arrived in our dorm. Within minutes of meeting her, she had agreed to join our merry band and off we went....with me at the helm! (thankfully I remembered how to drive a manual!!)
We drove around for a bit, beeping a cheering at any other Barbie cars that drove past, before stopping to buy some wallaby food so that we could go and feed the rock wallabies down at Geoffrey Bay.
Following the instructions of the receptionist at the hostel, we headed to the Post Office to make the purchase. This baffled the people at the post office, because they don't, and never have sold wallaby food! (and apparently we weren't the first people in to ask about it!)
We decided to make so with the food that Máire and I had got free with our hostel package and headed down to Geoffrey Bay. We arrived there just in time to meet Vern, who comes down to feed the wallabies, 5 days a week at the same time. Vern told us that he took over feeding them after the last guy who did it passed away.
He showed us how to call them and how to feed them. We managed to get a fair few of them feeding directly out of our hands too. Some of them even had little joeys in their pouches! So cute!!
From here we drove down to Picnic Bay, had a great laugh playing in the kids playground (because needs to be a big kid once in a while!!) before heading to the pub for a drink whilst watching the sunset (only a soft drink for me as designated driver for the evening!)
Driving back to the hostel in the dark was......hilarious! It gets really cold here very quickly after the sun goes down, so our roofless car was freezing and everyone was huddling under any warm clothes we had with us!
We grabbed dinner at the hostel bar/restaurant and then signed up to play bingo - not that we won anything, but we did guilt one of the staff members into giving us the jug of beer that he won! He he he!
So, after a few beverages of the 'free' variety, we retreated back to our cabin to watch a film of the laptop before heading to bed.
The next day we had a nice little cruise around in the car, stopping at a bar/restaurant in Horseshoe Bay, called Noodies, for some lunch. Then, it was time to return Barbara. Somehow, we managed to rack up an impressive 84km.....on a 12km stretch of road!!
We jumped on the bus back to horseshoe bay for our next adventure.....kayaking!! I'd never been kayaking before, and really wasn't sure what to expect, but...the kayaks were fairly stable and before long we were all paddling along at a decent speed towards the tip of the headland (enjoying a nice sing-song as we went).
Following kayaking, we stumbled back into Noodies for a celebratory drink. We had only intended to stay for 1 jug of sangria, which then turned into 2 jugs. Having tried the red and rose sangrias, we felt it only right that we try the white wine sangria too (after all, you can't show favouritism!). We were by this point wearing borrowed sombreros and probably scaring away the other customers, but we were having fun!!
The next day for us started with horse riding. We arrived at the ranch at 8.30am, and after some general form filling, we were allocated our horses. I was given Matilda (who turned out to be a bit of a Moody Matilda rather than a Waltzing Matilda).
Trekking through the bush was amazing and we even got the chance to practice some trotting and cantering. We rode down to the beach at Horseshoe Bay where we changed into our swimming gear whilst the staff unsaddled the horses. It was then a case of trying to get back up onto your horse (and stay on) as you rode them, bareback, along the beach and into the water. Matilda, not being a natural water horse, was happy to wade out far enough for me to get a wet arse, but not far enough that she actually had to swim!
Deciding to make the most of the beautiful weather, we decided to dedicate the afternoon to completing the walk up to the Forts. Along the way we got chatting to Peter and Celia, a couple from northern Queensland. Happy to have some company, we ended up chatting with them all the way up to the fort.
On the way back down, we spotted some wild koalas! One of them even had a baby!
Having spent more time on the walk than we had originally planned, Peter and Celia offered to give us a lift back to Horseshoe Bay, which allowed us to go ahead with our original plan of going swimming in the sea, even though it was almost sunset! Knowing it was going to be cold, we did what any normal people would do - we ran, full speed into the water, screaming as we went! The water wasn't as bad as I thought I was going to be...but it was by no means warm!! However, it was so beautiful to watch the sun setting across the water, and it was almost completely gone when we emerged from the water, failing miserably in our attempting to look like Bond girls!
Our final morning on Maggie was spent having breakfast on the beach at Horseshoe Bay as the sun rose. Then it was back to the hostel to pack before travelling back to Townsville where we had to say goodbye to Marlijne who was heading south, whilst Máire and I headed northwards to our next stop....Mission Beach!!