Queensland - TOWNSVILLE, MAGNETIC ISLAND & CAIRNS



June 1, 2006

We arrived at Townsville very early in the morning, having had to slow down to approach by light.

We were fortunate to get a spot in the busy marina, however, the tide was too low for us to proceed through the inner harbour and into the marina so we anchored out and waited for the tide to rise, dolphins swimming all around us.

We sailed overnight to Townsville and had a passenger tag along on our bemini. A very content Booby Bird he was, remaining with us most of the night!
By mid-afternoon we were settled in and headed into town. We were pleasantly surprised at how charming Townsville was, clean and picturesque with a beautiful waterfront park area and a pleasant beach that extended along the walkway.
  That evening a group of us ventured into town for a  delicious meal of Thai food! The streets were vibrant and alive with young people enjoying the nightlife in Townsville, Australia's largest tropical city.
We spent several days in charismatic Townsville. Becky (Stardust) and I strolled the streets and enjoyed the parkland, while Gord did repairs on the boat. All facilities were available including chandleries, internet, shopping and laundry.


From Townsville, it is an easy sail to Magnetic Island, the large rocky outcrop of boulders piled high and covered with pine trees and eucalyptus brush. We marveled at how the scenery had changed as we anchored in Horseshoe Bay in front of a sandy beach backed by a boisterous touristy town. Magnetic Island is a national park and Bob, Becky, Gord and myself took a great hike.


The rocky track proved to be quite a climb.   We were rewarded with a fabulous white sand beach, clear water, no one in sight.   It was smoking hot and we wished we had our swim suits with us.
Becky headed back to town & we continued on down a steep track that led to another dazzling beach

This beach was not totally deserted...a few sun worshippers were nearby and that got the attention of Bob & Gord!


We left early to make our way to Cairns next. As we sailed north we noticed a dramatic change in the landscape as the headland became more mountainous. We arrived in Trinity Inlet and anchored outside the marina in the river. The current was extreme and the bottom wasn't good holding so it took several tries to set the hook among the crowd of boats. Ashore we walked along the clean waterfront area bustling with activity. The parks were perfectly manicured and spotless.

Instead of the Sea

Tidal mudflats preclude traditional beach activities (left) so there is a manmade lagoon, always busy with swimmers and sunbathers, near the shoreline, complete with sand and clear stinger-free salt water.


Cairns is a major tourist and boating centre and the last sizeable city of the great tropical outback. There are all the normal tourist facilities, cafes and shops.




Buying our Didge

We perused the streets and found the didgeridoo that Gord had been searching for. It displayed colourful Aboriginal artwork in dot-like fashion and we learned the history of the local who made the instrument from rose eucalyptus, naturally hollowed out by termites. Didgeridoos were traditionally used for ceremonial dances since the beginning of time, although now didge playing has been taken up by modern musicians


Each didgeridoo has a unique sound depending on length, diameter and bore width.


We spent several days in Cairns, enjoying the city immensely. Lorikeets filled the treetops and the plant life was prolific and tropical. Although we would have like to spend more time in this lovely city, we needed to press on in order to get to Darwin for the Rally.