Too many beaches to choose from – Saturday 14th April 2012


Overnight, the sky has clouded, but the heat remains. We are no quicker getting out of bed, still recovering from our travels. Suddenly, I remember the couple we met on Bondi beach in October 2011 when we began our journey. They had been travelling for three months through Vietnam, Thailand and were on their way to meet their son in New Zealand. “Don’t do what we did,” they advised, “staying only one night over and over is so tiring!”. Damn right!
Still we are up by 10.30 and ready for action, of sorts.
I’d like to see the end of Jervis Bay peninsula so we drive past Hyams Beach to find a pay booth for Jervis Bay National Park, $10.
It is so similar to Wilson’s Promontory where we went with my Melbourne friend: beautiful, wild and full of beaches. We begin with Cave Beach, (yes, it had a cave!): half a mile of buttermilk sand, which brushes off like talcum powder. John rushes off to the sea, leaping through the waves. There are boogie boards and surfers in the sea, but I reckon the surfers were beginners because the waves were not that strong.
There is little sunshine, but it is warm enough to lie for an hour, people watching. We also walk the length of the beach and find crab sand ball patterns like we did in Northern Queensland. We nearly forget that we wanted to explore all the beaches.
Off to Green Patch, such a sweet beach with a stream down one side and greenish sea. We explore Jervis Village briefly, mostly related to the marine corps I think. Then there is Murrey beach and, suddenly we have run out of daylight. If only this was UK. Our summer days last until 9pm! Here we have darkness by 6 on a dull day!

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We have run out of food, so drive the 30km to Nowar, the nearest big supermarket and buy up.. What to eat tonight? Pre-cooked chook! It’s a Tudor feast with no vegetables just roasted chicken and some bread, all the better of not having to do any cooking myself.

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Radical Bay Magnetic Island Thursday 17th November 2011


Beyond Balding Bay is Radical Bay. The magic of Magnetic Island is the number of beautiful bays around its accessible coastline. Radical is less isolated than Balding as there is a rough road leading from the Forts bus stop which is suitable for cars, but it also shares a steeply stepped footpath from Horseshoe, with Balding Bay. I loved this path for its variety and because it gave me a sense of adventure, through the sheer effort of walking it!

I have very fond memories of this path too, from 13 years ago when I crossed it with my daughter.

Balding bay offers very little shade as it is lined by boulders, but its remote quality is outstanding and makes it my favorite. Radical bay has good shade from coconut trees and from rubber trees. The hinterland also has frangipani trees and sporadic low growing flowers which dot the dry earth in a miracle of nature.

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We arrived after 50 minutes of steep path. Sweet was just pouring off me from the heat of the day and it was only just 9 o’clock! I was desperate for a seat! It’s not just my age! There were some, younger than me, who said they had turned back because it was so hot!

The colours of azure blue, deep tropical green and the palest hue of gold sand make a perfect picture.

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Despite a few moments of an unexpected sudden heavy shower, we stayed for hours. Enjoying the firm sand at the water’s edge, the shade of the trees, the steady turnover of visitors, never more than 4 at any one time. By one o’clock we knew we were in a cleft stick! Burn despite the factor 30, or walk 50 minutes uphill in the hottest sun we’d had for a while.

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We chose the latter, awarding ourselves long cold showers and longer cold drinks when we got back to Bungalow Bay YHA.

I love Magnetic Island. It seems a special place to me. It may be the wildlife we’ve seen, the beautiful beaches, or the fact it brought back some very good memories for me. We leave tomorrow but I’ll look back on this as a very special island.

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