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Magnetic Island Wildlife Tour and the Rock Wallabies
Monday 4th April 2011 – Magnetic Island, Australia
I had another eventful day ahead of me today on Magnetic Island. The weather was better and was a chance for me to see the place differently than yesterday during the persistent rain. I had no real plans as I awoke in the morning, only that I would be visiting the wildlife park and taking a tour. I had to survive the morning first though.
It was fairly early on in the morning when the silence was shattered and the laughter, chatting and zip fastening began. Despite the late night it appears all my room mates were up and about bright and early, and when they wake up, everybody wakes up. The lights came on and the previous nights conversation re-commenced. I do enjoy hearing stories about how drunk and sick somebody was (being sarcastic).
As the others in the cabin had shown a complete and utter disregard for my being there, and were happy to mess about with their luggage and talk about the previous night, I had no option but to get up and get dressed. The truth is I just wanted to be out the way. The smell in the room was enough to test my gag reflexes, and I showered as quickly as I could in order to vacate the room. I made no effort to talk to the others as there was no effort on their part, and I was still angry for their lack of respect.
Whilst eating my breakfast it was a chance for me to see the place in more detail. I looked about – as I feasted on cereal and toasts – at the hostel surroundings, and realised what a cool place Bungalow Bay Backpackers is. The hostel is set over a large area, accommodating many cabins in various sizes, set amongst the trees and grassy areas. Tables and seating areas are scattered about the grounds, and enable you to find peace and solitude if you so wish, or mix with others in the open plan dining area. The main decking area is the social hot spot, and a small area in the corner is reserved for the book worms and tech geeks, with its books and WiFi signal.
I was met by a couple I had become friends with – a couple that I had met previously in Noosa, and bumped into them again yesterday when I arrived. We chatted for a bit and I saw them onto the bus as they began their journey off Magnetic Island and back to the main land. Afterwards I put on my walking shoes – surprisingly dry now having left them out all night, having been soaked through after hiking all day in the rain yesterday – and began another tour of the Island.
First stop was back to Horseshoe Bay. The rain had relented and it would be a nice opportunity to see the beach in the sunshine, as opposed to the rain and wind of the previous day. Needless to say it looked a lot better this morning, and I was happy to hang around for a while, looking in the local shops and chatting with the locals. A few tourists were making the most of the weather by buzzing about in their Mini Mokes (very small cars).
I took the bus to Arcadia next, and to the home of the Rock Wallabies. Funnily enough, I walked all the way to the end of the road without seeing any. I walked along the rocky path along the edge of the sea and noticed the numerous crabs sunning themselves on the rocks and catching some food. It wasn’t until I started to walk back that I noticed the Rock Wallabies, and once I had seen one, I saw many. Perhaps they were hiding before, or perhaps I just completely missed them first time around. They appear very tame and let me get quite close with my camera. I understand people feed them, but the signs urge people not to, and I had no intention of doing so. I was happy just to watch and admire the cute little animals. Some could be seen in amongst the rocks, hidden away from the daylight, and I wondered how they adapted to live in such conditions.
It was the perfect weather to be exploring today, and I took full advantage of this by walking to the local beaches and taking in the sights and sounds. Some people were on the beach, others in the water, although I have heard the waters are dangerous here. I sat on a bench with a pie by the beach whilst waiting for my bus to return, and whilst there I heard a thud on the ground nearby. A coconut had fallen from a nearby tree and was now resting on the ground waiting to be devoured by the nearest hungry animal. The falling coconut worried me a little, especially as I looked up to see many above my head. I changed seat hastily so as not to be in the firing line, and then finished my pie.
After getting the bus back and having my lunch, it was time for the Wildlife Tour to begin. I made my way to the park adjoining the hostel, and was met by the tour guide and a couple of girls from the same hostel. It was a small group, but apparently this is normal, and the guide prefers this. It felt more personal either way.
The tour lasted a couple of hours, and involved the handling of many lizards and birds. We were given food to feed the animals whilst being fed a lot of interesting information from our guide. We were shown many other creatures, including a bird-eating spider in the trees above our heads. This spider is not part of the tour or the wildlife centre, but has made the trees here his home, and added an extra bit of spice to the tour. We held small crocodile and later a snake – which clung around my neck fairly tightly, constricting my air intake. The girls got their picture taken with the Koala that kept sticking his tongue out, and to finish off we had to feed the Rainbow Lorikeets.
These Lorikeets are brightly coloured birds that screech at a very high pitch, and swarm in their numbers. We were given wet bread to feed them with, and before long we were literally swamped. The birds clung to arms, fingers, ears and heads, digging their claws in and grabbing a mouthful of bread. Some were fighting whilst others seemed to be embracing one another. It was quite intense for a while, and I feared for bird droppings on my head, but it had been a great experience and a thoroughly entertaining tour. We thanked our guide and left to get washed and showered. The tour was well worth the money in my opinion.
I relaxed for the remainder of the afternoon, and met up with some people in the evening for dinner. Many familiar faces had arrived today, faces from various places in Australia, and it was great to catch up with everyone. I couldn’t believe how many people had arrived here that I have met previously. We all had pizza and laughed and chatted into the evening. It was the perfect way to end a good day here on Magnetic Island.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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