koalas

Magnetic Island

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a sleeping koala staking out his territory
a sleeping koala staking out his territory

Earlier this year I took off for a weeks R&R with extended family to Magnetic Island, an island off Queensland’s north coast. Over half the island is National Park. Being separated from the mainland (it sits 8 ks or 5 miles offshore) has enabled the island to become a rich haven for local wildlife, including the koala who is under threat in so many other locations due to environmental destruction, disease and non-native predators.

Arthur Bay
Arthur Bay

The scenery is spectacular. The island itself is fringed with isolated coves for the sun-lover, and while the water is gloriously clear and warm there are ‘stingers’ at certain times of year that require caution and/or nylon ‘onesies’ to protect swimmers. In some locations you can find bottles of vinegar on hand, an old remedy for stingers that can alleviate some of the pain until further help arrives.

granite 'totem' outcrops are common on the island
granite ‘totem’ outcrops are common on the island

There are many walking trails on the island, most meander past gigantic granite boulders and tall Hoop pines, through eucalypt forest or a patch of rainforest. Some take you on a steady climb up to old World War 2 forts where troops kept watch over Cleveland Bay, an important anchorage and assembly point for convoys operating in the South Pacific.

The author, taking in the spectacular view from a WW2 fort
The author, taking in the spectacular view from a WW2 fort

One of the highlights of our visit was to hire a four wheel drive and drive up to the western extremity of the island to watch the sun set over the water. A lovely finish to another perfect day of balmy weather and natural scenery.