Why everyone should live on an island in Queensland
It’s the best thing I EVER did.
I moved to Magnetic Island in Townsville North Queensland for a whole winter. I couldn’t face another dismal, bone-chillingly cold winter in Melbourne – I wanted to feel the sun every day on my body and swim in the sea in July.
This is what I learnt about island living, which might come in handy if you feel like having your own Cast Away experience (but with power, hot water and access to a dentist).
You don’t have to rush… ever
You’re on island time now, of course they drive slower ‘round these parts and there’ll often be someone who wants to stop you for a chat. Sometimes drivers stop in the middle of the road to do so. Don’t toot your horn, it’s just island living.
You can get to know the locals
The sorts of people you might’ve rushed to avoid in your city streets are often the biggest characters who’ll provide the greatest rewards if you befriend them. Some of my best memories of Magnetic Island were spent with a crazy old bloke called Bob who lived on the beach with birds and was married to a turtle.
You can have a beach day, every day
Remember: you live on an island. And what are islands surrounded by? The sea, of course. You came here to connect with nature, so, connect… each and every day. Don’t let a bit of rain put you off – you’re going to get wet anyway.
The Great Barrier Reef spans 2300 kilometres along the Queensland coastline, providing for a spectacular backyard of coral and marine life to explore.
Let Facebook go, emails aren’t that important and The Voice will be back on again next year.
Never go to an island worried about modem speed and available digital TV channels. That all belongs in the big place across the sea… Australia. Leave the TV off, only check emails once a day (maximum), and forget about Facebook unless you really feel the need to brag.
You can reconnect… just before you head back
Whether you live on an island or you’re just visiting, getting back into the real world can scare the stuffings out of you if you jump back into it too quickly. It’s easy to block the world out, but it might be an idea to scan the news headlines the day before you leave to dull the shock!
Take time out to stare
Don’t visit an island with a fixed agenda. You’d be surprised how many things there are to look at: the waves washing ashore as the tide comes in, whales in winter, dolphins year-round, rare dugongs making a public appearance. Allow some time to lie in a hammock and check it all out.
Chances are the local golf club of any island will be the place where the biggest larrikins gather. Even if you can barely hit a club, take the time to knock a few balls around and escape the tourists for a while.
The rewards will be worth it. All it takes is a five-minute stroll – even from a resort complex – and you’ll find some of the most pristine environment in Australia. Too many people make the mistake of spending all their time on the beach (or by their pool!), but trekking in the Aussie bush gives you a whole new perspective on what else is living on the island.