From Magnetic Island to Mission Beach

It was quite a good day today as we left Magnetic Island to visit Mission Beach for a few days to have a little look around there. I was really quite sad to be leaving the island, especially all the little wallabies, but we couldn’t stay there forever and we had seen a lot of the island. The prospect of spending another rather dull night in Townsville had meant that we’d booked the Greyhound bus for as soon as we reached the mainland. If the buses had been anything like yesterday though, there was significant chance we might have missed it but thought it was worth the risk!

After getting up at about half 8, we quickly packed our things together and left to check out of the hostel. Luckily, with the girl in our room leaving early for work, we didn’t have to creep around quietly and so were able to quickly shove everything in our bags. I am struggling a bit with the whole room sharing thing due to how different most people’s sleeping patterns. It’s meant we’ve had to be as quiet as we possibly can and then I’ve struggled to sleep with it being quite early to me. I’m sure that it’s get easier in the end and perhaps it’s best that we do sleep earlier, it’s just not that fun at the moment. Once Codie had returned the plates and cutlery and we’d collected our food from the fridge, we set off to wait for the bus and luckily it came quite quickly. I don’t think I’d have coped standing in the sun with my big backpack on! There were a few other people at the bus stop including an Irish couple who were finishing their working holiday and now, finally getting to travel around, were on their way to Airlie Beach. They’d been to quite a few places before but in between working on farms and things and so hadn’t seen as much as they’d liked which is what I want to avoid doing whilst we’re here. Of course I’d like to work out here to get some experience but I never want it to stop us going to new places but instead compliment our travelling like how perhaps working for accommodation would. That way, we’d be gaining new skills but also having the opportunities to still go off to see new things. The Irish couple (we didn’t exchange names!) advised us against working at a banana farm when we get to Cairns as it’s such hard work. They said that you have to catch huge bunches of bananas on your back for hours at a time and for weeks in the heat; I don’t think we’ll be doing that!

The bus journey was quite a nice trip as it gave me time to reflect on our time here and see some of the places we’d visited (yes, I waved at the wallabies). I was a little bit concerned that we’d had to take our backpacks off as after the last time where I couldn’t get mine back on fast enough, I’d have liked to have kept it on but there wasn’t much I could do. Instead I had to hope that the driver gave me enough time to drag it away with me and not drive away with me trapped inside which I’d thought might happen last time! When we made it to the ferry terminal, and I’d managed to drag off my bag, myself and Codie perched ourselves on the benches to wait in the shade. Nobody around us seemed to be happy about leaving and I suppose it’s the charm of the island that does it to you. It has pockets of being fairly built up and populated but it’s also managed to remain very natural and wild and so exciting to explore. I hope I get to come back in the future, if not just to visit the little wallaby colony again.

15 minutes later and I found myself sitting on the ferry waiting to depart. As we set off, I watched the scenery fade away to the blue sea and waited whilst Codie went off to get our free cokes. I decided then and there, I’ll definitely be going back some day. With it only being about a 20 minute crossing, it wasn’t long until we were back in Townsville and after gathering our bags and joining the huge queue to leave the boat, we climbed off and walked to the terminal building. As we had quite a while there before the bus arrived due to everything on Magnetic Island going so smoothly, we decided to have a snack from the cafe. We both settled on bacon and cheese toasties which were very tasty and quickly munched on those to help pass the time whilst watching other people getting ready to leave to visit the island. I was really quite jealous of them all and so it came as a bit of a relief when the bus turned up and we went outside the join the queue…

…For the wrong bus. It turned out that we were actually in the line for the bus heading back down rather than up so we had to scramble out of the way and wait for ours to show up. If only I’d have known this before making a mad dash to the toilet so I didn’t miss the chance to get a seat! Eventually our one turned up and despite there being a queue of people, it was still very chaotic trying to board. Rather than beckoning over those who’d arrived first, the bus driver called over the people who had literally just turned up which not only meant they were able to get on and get the ‘best’ seats but seemed to act as a trigger to everyone else shoving their way to the front as well. Grrrrr. We were originally about 4th in the queue and were now almost at the back, unable to get the driver’s attention even though we were literally stood right in front of him. It was awful as it felt like we were just being looked over constantly and when we finally got to put our bags on, were snapped at for putting them in the wrong place despite the lack of direction. For something that should have been simple, it was exhausting just trying to get on the bus and I hoped it wasn’t a sign of things to come! By the time we’d got on, there were only two seats left together and we quickly grabbed them before we were separated for the 4 hour journey. Phew! At least now we could relax and enjoy the journey. It’s such a shame that it was such hard work when the Greyhound buses we’ve been on before, have been really easy and fun. Hopefully it was a one off though and it’ll be better next time, I haven’t lost my faith in them just yet!

4 hours later and we arrived in Mission Beach, a little bit tired but glad to be able to stretch our legs. The hostel we’d booked in for the next two nights was a place called Jackaroo and as we hopped off the bus, I noticed a girl standing there with a sign for it. I was so glad that we didn’t have to make our own way there as the hostel is quite a way out of the centre so it would have been quite hard work. We gathered our bags and headed over to speak to her but she didn’t seem very talkative, only saying “hello” and pointing towards the minibus before throwing our bags in the boot. Oh. This seemed like it was going to be a fun trip! Once everybody had got on the bus and we set off towards the Jackaroo, I relaxed a bit as I watched the sea rolling past outside and looked out for cassowaries. Cassowaries, particularly the Southern cassowary, are an endangered species so are quite rare to see but do inhabit the area so there was still a chance we could see one. I have a feeling that Mission Beach is proud of being a part of “Cassowary Country” as they have a huge model of one outside their shopping centre which you just can’t help but notice. I hoped we would see one at some point as ever since I wrote about them in my primary school Australia project and got a model one in a chocolate ‘Yowie’ *, they’ve intrigued me. Fingers are firmly crossed now!

The girl who was driving us there remained quite frosty throughout the trip and I think we were all relieved when we finally pulled up at the hostel. It looked like a really lovely place hidden in the trees and bordered by the rainforest and, after choosing to stay here based on the proximity of the forest alone, I wasn’t disappointed. The building itself appeared to be mainly wood and so didn’t detract from the natural habitat around it and I was hoping that we’d be on one of the upper levels so that we’d get a good view. After checking in and being upgraded from a double to a deluxe room and eyeing up the drinks and snacks in the little shop, we were given the tour by the manager of the hostel.  Our upgrade did mean that we were now on the ground floor but we were at the front by the pool and the gardens so it wasn’t all bad. The room was perhaps a little small for what they call a “deluxe” but for the price we paid and the fact it had a fridge for all our things made up for it entirely.

The whole place seemed really nice so when, after counting out our change and visiting the little shop to buy coke and some biscuits, we headed upstairs to the kitchen to make ourselves some tea, I was expecting it to be lovely and clean and well equipped. It was definitely big and spacious and the geckos and moths on the walls without a doubt made it more interesting but there wasn’t really enough equipment for everyone to cook with. This meant at times people hovered over your shoulder waiting for things and that wasn’t much fun at all. There were loads of plates and cutlery though so there was no threat of eating off ourselves even if we had to rewash everything beforehand. At one point a huge rhinoceros beetles landing on a pole behind us and a guy carefully plucked it off and sat in on his hand. I’ve never seen one before so it was nice to get the chance to see it up close and watch all it’s little legs wiggling about. He kept saying “don’t be afraid” (the man, not the beetle!) and I really just wanted to tell him “I’m not!” but decided to just focus on enjoying the beetle instead.

After tea, we popped back to the room to gather our shower things and then went off to investigate their washing facilities. I found them a bit strange as rather than normal toilet doors you can lock, they were just shower doors so anybody could just open them and walk in and the frosted glass was a bit odd. This meant that even after draping my towel and clothes over the top so you’d have to be totally oblivious to not know anyone was in there, I still rushed my way through it so I could escape back to the safety of my room. Once we were both warm and dry, we collected our laptops and the cookies we’d ended up buying in the reception shop then headed back upstairs to sit on the decking. It was nice to just sit down and take in the surroundings, listen to the sounds of the birds then the bugs and appreciate being in the rainforest. At 9, they put on a film for us to watch on the projector but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was or what it was about as I was too busy trying not to wobble off the wooden stool! Even the table wobbled so whenever I typed, a girl glared at us as she was trying to paint her nails. I gave her my best apologetic smile and then proceeded to move my mac onto my knee though why she was trying to do that on quite possibly the wobbliest table in the world is completely beyond me. There’s a sign up on the wall that says there are films on every night so I’m looking forward to tomorrow night when we can find better seats and enjoy it.

When we made it back to the room later on, the outside light was on and a wide variety of moths and other nocturnal insects were fluttering and buzzing around it. My sister Tish would have hated it because she’s not the biggest fan of moths but I quite liked see all the different species. Of course that was until one flew at my face, then I thought that going inside was probably best however a rhinoceros beetle though otherwise and had perched itself on the door handle. We like to think it was the same one just going round the hostel but it probably wasn’t as this one was mean. The guy who’d picked one up had just carefully grabbed it from behind but when Codie tried that, it went mental and hissed! They hiss when they’re threatened so rather than annoy it some more, we carefully opened the door, made sure we hadn’t trapped it’s legs and closed it . Happy we were now sorted, both of us promptly realised that we needed the toilet and so the fiasco repeated itself.

Finally we made it to bed and tried to snuggle under the duvet. There’s no air con in the room so it was a bit too hot for it but I love a good duvet and blankets so tried the best I could. Looking forward to looking around Mission Beach tomorrow and seeing what everybody has been saying is so beautiful. It’s very pretty around here so I can imagine it’s a stunning place. As for the Jackaroo hostel, I think we might be judging it too early as it is only our first night. The manager is really nice and friendly and you can tell that he wants it to be a nice place, we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

*Yowie was a type of chocolate sold by Cadbury based on the legendary Aboriginal monster. Each “monster” protected a different aspect of Australia i.e rainforests and each chocolate came with a plastic animal inside. (They were the best chocolates in the world and I remember being very excited when we were given them at parties!) 

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