Magnetic Island - Whitsundays

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Townsville

We thought we may have had to rent a cabin  but the campground had some nice dry sites with a small but excellent kitchen and some very congenial fellow campers.  Shopped and hope the weather would behave itself for the next day, Easter Sunday and a trip to Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island

Took the passenger ferry to Nelly Bay then bought an all day bus pass to get around the various beaches.

Horseshoe Bay

Almost there, the path to Balding

Balding Beach

While hiking from Horseshoe to the pristine secluded Balding Beach I stopped an octogenarian to make sure we were still on the unmarked trail.   He told me he had hiked the steep path over to Balding every Easter Sunday since 1943,  when he was in the RAAF and stationed in Townsville.  He didn't say but I suspect a romance was involved.   When he arrived at the beach he stripped down to a micro Speedo to soak up the sun,  I think he had been doing that since WW2 as well and all without benefit of "Slip Slop Slap".  I later learned  that Balding Beach  is one of Queensland's premier if unofficial, nude beaches, oops

Back on Horseshoe Beach we took the bus to Arcadia and the lovely picturesque stinger and croc free Alma Bay Beach

Be still my heart, my very first real Aussie lifeguard, (the bollards at Geelong did not count) I briefly  wondered how difficult could it be for me to get into trouble in this gently rolling surf?

We didn't much care for Picnic Beach so spent our time checking out the Rainbow Lorikeets and Bush Stone-Curlew

The Whitsunday's

 On the way South we stopped at the Billabong Sanctuary for a much anticipated 8.00am Cuddle a Koala encounter.  The way our luck was running it should have come as no surprise to find we had been given an outdated brochure and that the Sanctuary didn't open until 8.30, with the Koala's  putting in an appearance at 10.00am.  We moved on

Airlie Cove Big 4, some tent sites with private bathrooms attached, there's posh

Possum Mother and Baby

Spot the Aussie -  he's the one walking by in his bathers while we run for our cameras

Lace Monitor aka Goanna

These largest of the Queensland monitor lizards can grow up to 2 meters in length.    The park groundsmen told me she is small, the resident male being much bigger.   When asked if they were vicious they told me they no longer took their boots off at break time, as one of them lost a big toe to a Goanna.  I never quite knew if they were teasing me.  I updated this on August 14th 2019, next day a goanna attacked a dog at Airlie beach seriously injuring it and the owners who came to their dogs defense 

Their teeth and claws can inflict life threatening injuries to humans and their bite is 'somewhat' venomous

Campground Lorikeet Bathing and Watering Station

Rainbow Lorikeets

This won't be my last photos of these gorgeous birds, they are everywhere, and show no fear of humans, they visit en masse to decorate trees and hang around our campsites kitchens
Tony was still hoping to dive on the  Great Barrier Reef.   He considered a bare boat charter but with choppy water and a five night minimum, I was not too keen.  Fellow campers were still telling us their dive tours were disappointing in the murky waters and then he found Reg, a skipper who took out small groups aboard his yacht Domino.   He was the only person offering this type of trip in the Whitsundays so anyone not looking for a party boat was lucky to find him
It was a cloudy bright day with winds of 20 knots and it was indeed choppy so I was happy with my decision to stay in camp and do laundry with Anna the goanna for company.  Tony enjoyed getting reacquainted with a tiller, the beach picnic, snorkeling amongst the coral and hand feeding the electric coloured fish, visibility wasn't great but the sun shone and everyone had a good time
On our last night at Airlie Beach Big 4 we shared the kitchen with a beautiful baby toting possum and a couple of ancient Brit women who were outrageously funny.  You just don't have evenings like this in hotels or restaurants and if you do, they are likely to ask you to leave.  Next morning they were off on a boat trip and we turned Blot's face towards Noosa Heads
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