Once you step out of the airport or any air-conditioned place you were lucky to be in, the heat hits you. It’s moist, humid, the sun hit any inch of bare skin and you can’t escape. Welcome to Queensland.

We arrived in Townsville, Northern Queensland, after a three-hour flight from Sydney. Is it a town or a city (ville)? I don’t know. The pace of life is much slower than in Sydney, for sure. There are palm trees everywhere and the streets are empty at noon because it’s hot. Too damn hot to move or to do anything. Just thinking requires energy I don’t have, especially considering we got up at 7 a.m. to catch our flight and that we spent the previous night singing with Bono.

We passed a water park on the Strand, the main avenue along the beach. Kids and their parents were playing and I couldn’t help wondering why they were not on the beach instead. I got my answer a few minutes later when I spotted the “no swimming – marine stingers” signs by the water. Australians must love signs: they are everywhere, warning you of coconuts or rocks falling, stingers, koalas, kangaroos, uneven ground and so on.

We stayed a night in Townsville and took a boat to Magnetic Island the following day, where we stayed in a bungalow surrounded by wildlife: kangaroos and koalas are across the road, and parrots eat coconuts above our heads (hence the “watch for falling coconuts” signs I guess). Less pleasant are the bugs, the spiders, the stingers and the damn mosquitoes, apparently attracted by my French-Canadian blood.

We spend the day hoping from one beach to another, and we eat fish & chips on the beach at night. Swimming is a bit challenging because of the stingers—a generic name for all kinds of pretty dangerous jellyfish. Some beaches have a net that blocks most of them, in other remote areas you have to take a chance or wear a singer suit.

But really, this is the only thing spoiling paradise.

Eating Coconut
Townsville and Magnetic Island
Going To Magnetic Island
Road Ends
Marine Stingers
Horseshoe Bay
Swimming Inside the Stinger Net
Arthur Bay
Kangaroos and Koalas
Pic Nic Bay
Sunset on Magnetic Island

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  1. Cynthia December 20, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Lovely but widly scary! It’s such a shame that you cannot swim everywhere on such beautiful beaches !

  2. Linguist-in-Waiting December 20, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Hmm, that’s the first time I’ve seen a stinger net, I never realized that people have some innovative ways of dealing with these interesting creatures!

  3. khengsiong December 20, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Queensland is on East coast. Sunset isn’t so exciting. I think you should wake up early to see sunrise, LOL…

  4. micki December 21, 2010 at 11:05 am

    What a colorful parrot! Gorgeous beach and tropical scenery! Oh.. no..the mosquitoes, they like me too!

  5. Soleil December 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Zhu, just catching up on all of your posts from Australia that I’ve missed. Love the pics and info! Glad to hear you’re having a good time.

  6. Priyank December 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Hi Zhu! Tropical paradise chick! The parrot is cute, but no way its eating a coconut, that thing is too tough for the little bird. Is it a cashew nut?

    by the way, whats with the name “magnetic” about this beach? Its used for something that attracts you right, and clearly, the beach attracts the jellyfish!

  7. Em December 26, 2010 at 9:47 am

    And there was me, who thought that Canadians love signs…

  8. Zhu December 30, 2010 at 5:14 am

    @Cynthia – That’s really the problem in OZ, their wildlife is scary!

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – I had never seen that before either! I guess it prevent a lot of problems.

    @khengsiong – know, I miss the West Coast for the beautiful sunsets! I really can’t do sunrise 😆

    @micki – Mosquitoes like my blood, not sure why. I’m exotic to them I guess 😆

    @Soleil – Thank you Soleil, we are getting a lot of sun so I’m thinking of you 😉

    @Priyank – I think it’s called Magnetic Island before when Captain Cook sailed by (he missed it) his compass went crazy. Thank you for the cashew nut suggestion, it is probably that actually!

    @Em – I LOVE signs! 😆

  9. Andarin May 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    You know, the first time I saw this article, the photo of the parrot caught my eye the most. Stunning colors!

    Thanks again for retweeting and spreading the word about the 6th Byteful Travel Blog Carnival. Hope to see your submissions again next time!

    1. Zhu June 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      I thought that parrot was fake at first, I couldn’t believe it was here, right above my head 😆

  10. Gerri January 24, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Actually, those are not parrots. They are lorikeets and they’re all over Australia. Spent a week on Magnetic Island back in 2007 and loved it. Have been to Australia 4 times, the longest stretch was 3 weeks. Whats not to love? I think what I loved the most was waking up every morning on Brampton island and watching the kangaroos cavort around on the beach right out your window. Mozzies didn’t bother me much, the spiders are as big as your fist, but only saw them in the rainforest. Remember next time you are in Belize, the most poisonous snake in the world, the Fer de Lance, lives in the rainforest there.

    1. Zhu January 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      Thank you for the correction! I’m notoriously bad at proper animal names (and flower names!). I love Australia too but I found it so expensive last year! It’s out of my budget now, their dollar is too strong.


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