|Horseshoe Bay from the Nelly Bay to Arcadia Track, Magnetic Island, Queensland|
'What goes up must come down,' she twanged, immediately identifying a) her astonishing originality and b) her country of origin.
|Magnetic Island from the mainland|
How much longer they'd be together was less evident. His well worn hiker kit – 'real' hiking boots with thick socks, water backpack, old T-shirt, hat and pink zinc clearly spelled out more than one significant difference between them.
|Horseshoe Bay from the 1st Lookout, Magnetic Island|
On the steepest part of the track, Pilchard and I were now feeling the effects of setting out on a 6 km hike without food or water, our towel-laden backpacks weighing us down in the tropical humidity. It was all just a simple misunderstanding! Arriving on Magnetic Island, 8 km and 20 minutes by ferry from Townsville, we planned an action-packed schedule over morning tea at the terrific Nelly Bay bakery. As you do.
|Pilchard's fine pic of Fan-tailed Cuckoo|
BUT … wandering along the road from the bakery to the trail head, then winding up more steeply through the rainforest to the vantage point took longer than anticipated. Every few steps was a new bird, flower or vista to admire and/or photograph. By the time we reached the overgrown lookout, we'd already been going the best part of an hour, so it was a cinch to continue up the track in quest of a better view. We could always turn back, couldn't we??
|'Spot' the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo! Magnetic Island, Queensland|
Well, they WERE 20 years younger than us. At least. Probably.
But the honeymoon couple's passing heralded a wildlife bonanza as a passing flock of Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (above) distracted me from uncharitable thoughts of maintaining white frock cleanliness. And as I neatly captured them as 'black dots' as cleverly shown in this rare 'wildlife action' shot, we reached the point of no return. The food and drink of Arcadia beckoned and we reluctantly abandoned fantasies of lunching at the Nelly Bay bakery.
|The Nelly Bay to Arcadia Track, Magnetic Island|
The track headed downhill from here, but several kilometres of walking remained and I started to fantasize about bottles of cold water. Actually, make that flagons. And plunging into the sea to sluice off the dirt and sweat after flinging off my non-white (but still grubby) clothing ...
That's the only explanation I have for missing the droppings on the ground. Because if, like Pilchard, I'd seen them, I would have looked above to identify who or what was responsible. Naturally. BUT happily, wanting to
|Bottom view of Koala, Magnetic Island|
Apart from a further wildlife sighting – this time 'overseas-tourist-hunting-for-the-hiking-track' – the southern descent into the suburbs of Arcadia was uneventful. Except to say if this is suburbia, bring it on!!
Oh! And also the staggering views across the strait to the mainland – and Townsville!
I didn't notice my audience until I'd come up for air – after lining up two drinks and inhaling one of the best fishburgers I've had the pleasure of from Arcadia's Butler's Pantry.
|Bush Stone-curlew in natural foraging habitat|
And that swim was on the cards after all. A bus ride would shortly take us down to Horseshoe Bay – and to one of the most Scenic Public Toilets of our 2011 trip! But that's another story …
|The mainland from the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walking trail, Magnetic Island, Queensland|
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