Townsville is a hate-it-or-think-it’s-not-THAT-bad kind of place. I had heard horrible things, but totally came around to thinking it wasn’t all that bad (I have yet to meet anyone who thought Townsville was fantastic). With the lowest of expectations, I intended spending my time recuperating after a really long train journey (30-odd hours with just one short break) and to catch up on some work, but I managed to find a few fun things to do in between, too.
However, there’s no denying that the best thing about Townsville is the ferry out of there… to beautiful Magnetic Island. The laid-back hospitality and almost luxurious setting of my temporary island home aside, the best thing about Magnetic Island was the easy accessibility of… well, everything.
Getting there from Townsville? Just hop on the hourly ferry for an easy-breezy 20-minute ride across. Wondering how to get to your accommodation (the beautifully located Arcadia Beach Guesthouse)? No worries, they’ll pick you up in their Rolls Royce (I kid you not!) Feel like snorkelling the fringing reef? Just head across the bay and swim about 5 metres in. Want to meet the rock wallabies? Hang out at the edge of the old jetty when you’re done snorkelling – they will come to you! Want to snorkel in one of the other bays? Just take one of the many well-marked hiking tracks. Want to find Koalas? Keep your eyes open on the Forts Walk (we saw about a dozen, some of them close enough to touch (don’t touch!)) Tired after a long day walking and snorkelling? Get a (punctual AND regular!) public bus back to the guest house (which has its own bus stop).
No need to rent a car, book a tour or hire expensive equipment. As the man said: “too easy”!
Other stories I have written about Magnetic Island: