After our last breakfast at On The Wallaby Lodge in Yungaburra, we began our four hour journey to the beautiful Magnetic Island. Along the way we stopped to stretch our legs and enjoy lunch by the ocean side. Once we reached Townsville, we caught a short ferry to Nelly Bay on Magnetic Island. Upon arrival we got settled at Bungalow Bay Koala Village and started making our pasta dinner. We topped off the night by exploring the town and relaxing.
The following morning we went to the Smart Lifestyle Center and met Matt and Rachel who talked with us about the Seven Solar Cities and the progress made on Magnetic Island. At previous energy use rates, Magnetic Island was facing the installation of a third submarine cable to supply electricity on the Island. So with the help of Ergon Energy, a solar suburb project was created to reduce energy use during peak demand. By educating the community, offering free home and business energy assesments, and installing solar photovoltaic systems, the island was able to deter the installation of the cable, reduce greenhouse gases by over 43,000 tons, and most importantly introduce behavioral changes for a more sustainable future.
After our visit to the Smart Lifestyle Center we met with Dr. Rick Braley at the Aquasearch lab and aquarium where we learned about aquaculture of giant clams. We were informed about the symbiotic purpose of clams to the ecosystem, as they serve as bio filters dissolving ammonia and nitrate. We were able to see four giant clams, clown fish, coral, and a variety of fish native to the area. Following the tour around the aquarium we watched an informational video then discussed the health of the Great Barrier Reef and efforts to stop degradation.
Next, we headed down to the ocean and enjoyed some sun and a lunch break. After relaxing we went back to Bungalow Bay koala sanctuary for our wildlife tour where we learned about the Native Australian animals and their habitats. We got the opportunity to hold “Barbie” an eight year old indopacific crocodile, native turtles and lizards, a python and we even got a group picture with one of the koalas from the sanctuary. We then ended our day with a group reflection and dinner on Picnic Bay.
Finally, for our last day on Magnetic Island we had a champagne breakfast in the koala sanctuary, topped off with a free day. A majority of us spent the day exploring the island, hiking up Balding bay and enjoying the ocean and relaxing. It was a perfect way to wind down for the end of our trip.
Making Memories on Magnetic Island
Towards the end of our trip we will arrive to the beautiful Magnetic Island (or “Maggie”), about 7 miles off of the coast of Townsville. The Island received its unique name because of Captain Cook, who struggled with his compass while sailing past the island thus he presumed that the island must have some magnetic qualities. The beautiful Island is in the midst of multiple national parks, access to the Great Barrier Reef, thriving wildlife, and gorgeous weather, averaging around eight hours of sunshine daily.
During our stay on Magnetic Island we will be residing at Bungalo Bay Koala Village, a locally owned resort built into the national park, just a short walk from Horseshoe Bay Beach. The Resort, “is Australia’s only resort with resident koalas and other Aussie wildlife in its boutique wildlife park” (“Magnetic Island Backpackers”) which will be an experience like nothing we could have in the states.
Our second day on Magnetic Island, we will get to learn about the Magnetic Island Solar Suburb Initiative taken by on Ergon Energy, as well as many residents and business owners. The Island was the national winner for the project. Magnetic Island has transformed its use of energy becoming more and more sustainable utilizing solar energy, smart meters, energy assessments and much more. Right below is the link for more information about how they’re working to create a more sustainable future. http://www.townsvillesolarcity.com.au/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx
Later in the day we will be visiting the Aquasearch Center meeting with the world expert, Dr. Rick Braley. The Aqusearch Center has an amazing marine display, including specimens of a 26-year-old cultured giant clams, and clown anemone fish.
Finally, the last day on the Island, we will get to enjoy a “Koala Champagne breakfast”. This breakfast consists of “Bush Tucker” or, native spices, fruits, animals and etc. This food is the type of food that has been eaten here for nearly 50,000 years. Along with the great assortment of native foods, there will be an animal presentation where we will get to see some native Australian animals. Then following the breakfast we will have a free afternoon where we will get to explore the island. Common activities on Maggie include water sports, lounging on the beach, bike tours, horseback riding and even scuba diving. I’m sure this day will be an amazing way to wrap up the end of our trip.
Aquarium and Educational Tours. N.d. Photograph. Web. 12 July 2012. <aquasearch.net.au>.
Australia. Solar Cities. Townsville Solar City. N.p., 2008. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://www.townsvillesolarcity.com.au/ProjectOverview/MagneticIslandSolarSuburb/Overview/tabid/90/Default.aspx>.
Braley, Dr. Richard D., and Cornelia Braley. “Aquasearch.” Aquasearch. N.p., May 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://www.aquasearch.net.au/aqua/consultancies.htm>.
Koala Cuddles. 2012. Photograph. 30 May 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <aspire2.blogspot.com>.
Magnetic Island at Dusk. N.d. Photograph. Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island. Web. 12 July 2012. <geocities.ws>.
“Magnetic Island Backpackers Accommodation YHA Townsville, North Queensland.” Magnetic Island Backpackers Accommodation YHA Townsville, North Queensland. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://bungalowbay.com.au/index.html>.
N.d. Photograph. Bungalow Bay Koala Village. Web. 12 July 2012. <bungalowbay.com.au>.
Radical Bay Photo Gallery. N.d. Photograph. Radical Bay Photo Gallery, Magnetic Island. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://www.radicalbay.com.au/photo-gallery.php>.
Smith, Roff. National Geographic Traveler: Australia. N.p.: Random House, 2010. Print.