It was HOT in Townsville! Upper 80s / lower 90s during the week. We did find a new Shave Ice and Bubble Tea place, so that helped beat the heat a bit! Townsville was a smaller town, but there is a nice beach area called The Strand that’s very popular. It’s stinger season in the Townsville area, meaning there’s a higher likelihood of getting stung by a jellyfish if you swim outside of a designated and safe area.
At The Strand, there’s a sheltered and sectioned off rock pool you can swim in, as well as a sectioned off area in the ocean (both supervised with lifeguards). We’re happy to report we had no Jelly Fish encounters outside of seeing a couple at the local aquarium. They also had some interesting birds in town like Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos, and this little blue guy that Joseph got a great picture of drinking from one of the outdoor beach shower heads.
Our favorite thing about Townsville was visiting Billabong Sanctuary and interacting with all of the animals. Our second favorite was taking a snorkel and fishing trip around Magnetic Island.
Magnetic Island was originally called Magnetical Island by Captain Cook, who thought the island had a magnetic force that was responsible for some of the boulder formations along the shore. You can take a ferry over to Magnetic Island from Townsville, so it’s pretty accessible. Joseph researched and found a little family-owned company called Aquascene that does a combination snorkel and fishing trip. It was very well put together, and the captain grew up on Magnetic Island so he knew his way around.
About Our Trip
The captain took us all the way around the island, and we got to see some great views of the shoreline and all of the granite boulder formations. He stopped in a few bays so the group could get out and snorkel. Since it’s stinger season, we were all geared up with stinger suits (full body suits complete with mitten-like hand covers), flippers, and mask+snorkel.
They provided all of the gear, and had plenty of sizes to choose from. As soon as we jumped in the water, we saw a school of silver colored fish near the boat. The captain threw a few pieces of bread to attract their attention. It was neat to watch them feeding! We also saw some coral, and a few other types of fish. We liked this trip because it was closer than traveling all the way out to the outer Great Barrier Reef, and we still got to see some interesting fish and a few formations of coral.
The trip also included an “afternoon tea,” so the captain put out a tasty spread of fruit, lamingtons, shortbread cookies, and tea for everyone when we stopped at one of the beaches. At our stop, Joseph and I saw something in the water that we thought might be a jellyfish. The captain said it was just a piece of blubber, probably from a jelly fish, and that his kids have “blubber fights” with them sometimes. Guess that’s the Magnetic Island version of a snowball fight! 🙂
The second part of the trip was all about fishing. Sam had never been fishing in the ocean before, and wanted to give it a try. Joseph opted not to fish, and kept busy taking cool pictures of the fish people caught. The bait was bits of squid, and small chunks of fish. Sam got have a fish on the line that felt like a big one! She had to call Joseph over to help hold the pole so it didn’t pull the pole overboard. Strong little bugger. We didn’t see it, and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) the fish ended up snapping the line, and taking the hook with it.
Even though Sam didn’t end up catching anything, it was still fantastic to see the different types of fish that others in the boat caught! Not your garden variety sunnies, crappies, and northerns that we’re used to back home, that’s for true. This was a great way to get a close up look at some different types of fish than the ones we saw while snorkeling.
We thought the Blue Tuskfish was the most interesting! Those tusks…