Righteo, I am back in Oz! And after a few months of scrambling to find a foothold in the ever-changing landscape of Byron Bay, I have managed to cobble together a sort of existence that should hold steady for about 5 minutes ….
This leaves me with a few minutes spare to share some wild experiences I have had in Australia — I am referring to encounters with native wildlife, of course!
While I have been to various animal sanctuaries and visited the world-famous Australia Zoo during my East Coast travels, nothing beats seeing animals in their natural environment. And Magnetic Island, located 20 minutes off the coast of Townsville, far-north Queensland, provided amazing opportunities to see all sorts of critters. (I have been lucky enough to visit this place twice, both times with amazing people who have become life-long friends.)
“Maggie,” as the locals call it, is stunning:
Captain James Cook discovered the island in 1770 and named it “Magnetic” as he thought the island was emitting a force responsible for messing with his ship’s compass readings. His theory about the island having some sort of magical pull was proven false, at least in terms of science.
However, with a distinct World War II history, beautiful walking trails and beaches, I found the island has a sort of natural attraction, and there’s even more surprises waiting in the bush:
Magnetic Island is home to Northern Australia’s largest wild koala population — but don’t be fooled, these little guys can be tricky to spot in the treetops!
There are also heaps of birds species on the island, including my favorite little lorikeets:
And if you know were to look, you can find rock wallabies: