Trip Part 2: Magnetic Island
Hello and happy Sunday! My previous post focused on the first part of my recent trip – the Port Douglas to Airlie Beach part. This post will tell you all about the Airlie Beach – Magnetic Island – Port Douglas part. I should mention – i’m so sorry for the absence of photos on both posts. I recently switched phones and currently don’t have access to the many, many photos I took on the trip. Hopefully I can add them soon!
We were up early and back to Garuma to fill our stomachs with eggs benedict before we hit the road heading north to Magnetic Island. We arrived at the ferry terminal in the early afternoon and soon we were on our way over a very choppy sea. I thought the ride would be a little smoother, but we didn’t really mind as we were there soon.
We checked into Peppers Beach Club which is a stunning hotel in Nelly Bay close to the ferry port, home to one of the largest swimming pools in the southern hemisphere! The staff were lovely and we adored the two bedroom apartment, which had lovely relaxed vibes and a beautiful view across the swimming pool and out to the ocean.
Conor and I decided to walk to Geoffrey Bay, which was a scenic 15 minute stroll away. We had been looking forward to doing some snorkelling along the trails located in Geoffrey Bay and Nelly Bay, however unfortunately when we asked in a dive shop for some more information we were told that the visibility was terrible for the two days that we would be here. We had also had to leave our car on the mainland, and it didn’t take us long to figure out that we would need to hire one to make the most of the island. So we took the bus back to Nelly Bay and popped into a couple of places with no luck.
We were feeling a little defeated as we wandered around at the lack of snorkelling and car, when it began to rain. So we did the best thing we could think to do in that situation and went into Brasserie & Take Away @ Nelly for a beer and a wine. It turned out that this was the best thing we could have done, as the lovely lady serving us recommended another car hire place just up the road – Fish n Fuel. We headed there feeling more optimistic, and the man who helped us made it very easy. Before we knew it we were driving away in a RAV 4.
We met Conor’s parents back at the hotel and drove up to Horseshoe Bay to have a look around. The roadsides are very green and scenic, so we enjoyed the short drive. Horseshoe Bay is lovely with a delightful beach and a few bars and restaurants, however it was now getting dark so we decided to head back to Nelly to eat dinner. On the way we stopped in Geoffrey Bay to see the wallabies amongst the rocks, which was amazing – it’s always nice to see them in their natural habitat.
Unfortunately there aren’t many restaurants around Nelly Bay so we decided to have dinner that the Boardwalk Restaurant at the hotel as it was steak night. We enjoyed steaks and wine before heading for an early night.
When we told people that we were going to Magnetic Island, the number one thing they recommended was the Fort Walk near to Horseshoe Bay, so we headed there straight after breakfast. The 4KM return walk is best known for the historic WWII fortifications and infrastructure, and for koala spotting. With scenic views too, it really has something for everyone! Boards give you info about the WWII areas which was really fascinating, and there are lots of vantage points to gain breathtaking views out to sea and beyond. We spotted a couple of fuzzy koalas too, so it’s definitely worth remembering to look up!
We were all pretty warm after the walk to we headed to Horseshoe Bay for a dip in the ocean. The beach is patrolled with nets out during stinger season, so it was nice to just relax and enjoy the surrounding views of the beach, the palm trees, and the mountains whilst feeling safe.
Afterwards we ventured back to Nelly Bay craving a little retail therapy at the souvenir and gifty type shops. We had a little drive around the island, although all 4WD tracks were closed on the dates that we went, so we were limited. We ended up on a mission to spot a kookaburra and sure enough we found plenty. Finally we returned the car and hopped into the huge hotel swimming pool to do some laps. My favourite thing about this pool was swimming right up to the edge for a fabulous view of the harbour.
We decided to eat at the Boardwalk restaurant again due to lack of options. They offer a seafood tower, so we ordered two of those between the four of us. I have to see half the enjoyment came from trying new things and navigating the three-tiered meal, rather than the food itself which was also good. We tasted bugs for the first time, and they were surprisingly delicious even though they were something I never would have ordered.
Unfortunately our time on the island had come to an end – it was time to head back to Port Douglas. We began the venture early, allowing us time for a few stops along the way. We stopped for lunch at Mission Beach, which was lovely as always, however the stop we were all most looking forward to was Etty Bay. I had gotten a tip from a friend that this is a fantastic place to see wild cassowaries wandering along the beach. Sure enough, we didn’t have to wait too long to spot one. It ran away pretty quickly, but after a short stroll towards the other end of the beach we soon spotted another, and he hung around for long enough for us to all get plenty of photos. As we got back into the car, another walked right up to us – it was amazing to get so close and personal to them in the wild.
Finally we returned to Port Douglas in the evening. The holiday was over for me and Conor, but as his parents were staying for another week, we got to be tourists in our town. So we headed out for some seafood whilst we planned the remaining days. More on that next week!