Maggie the Seductress

Maggie the Seductress

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Maggie is beautiful.  She keeps it natural, not trying to be hip to get attention.  Best of all she’s remained pure by not being with too many people.  Quiet and unspoiled, Maggie is a gem-in-the-rough, home to wild koalas and lightly touristed parts of the Great Barrier Reef.  While more touristed Cairns gets all the attention those that make the trip to Magnetic Island, or Maggie, are making the right decision.

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Whereas Cairns is recognized as the launching point for trips to the Great Barrier Reef, such attention come at a cost.  Cairns’ tours are substantially larger and visit the same tourist trampled sections of the Reef, no matter the weather or sea conditions.  These sea conditions determine the sea life visitors get to see and vary daily.  Conversely, the tours from Magnetic Island daily choose the best area to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef’s sea-life.  Our boat of less than 20 people was the only tour for the day, providing a relaxed, personalized experience to admire the natural wonder.  For those seeking a relaxed Great Barrier Reef, Maggie is the best launching point.

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As dissimilar as the tour experiences are, the onshore experiences of Cairns and Maggie may be more disparate.  Lodging on Magnetic Island is limited to a few small towns, by which I mean “no stoplight” small.  Where we stayed, there was one hotel, one hostel and one restaurant.  Other “towns” were similarly quaint.  The reports from my in-laws visit to Cairnes was that it was a hopping town with everything one could want.  For us though, what we wanted was quiet time and our own kitchen as we crashed our friends honeymoon.

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Maggie is also home to a wildlife sanctuary with wild koalas.  There is no admission fee to admire the protected area and see the iconic marsupials.  Along the way you can enjoy panoramic views of the island and back to the mainland.  While spotting koalas is not guaranteed, look for where people are assembled and you’ll probably spot them.  In the event that you don’t spot koalas, the views will more than make up for it.

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If peace, quiet, and the Great Barrier Reef are what you are looking for, look no further than Magnetic Island as you’re sure to find Maggie just as attractive as we did.  To see more photos from our time in Maggie and Townsville click here.

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WHEN YOU GO:

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  1. Buy the Virgin Australia Airpass.  We paid $79 AUD each to fly from Sydney to Townsville and $79 each to fly from Townsville to Brisbane, a huge savings over regular airfares.
  2. The ferry between Magnetic Island and Townsville is easy to get to. There are half-hourly shuttles at the Townsville Airport exit that will take you right to the ferry’s dock.
  3. Consider renting a car on Maggie. With only “Topless” jeeps and Mokes for rent you will not only get around easily, but also have a fun ride in these tiny vehicles.
  4. An inexpensive public bus connects Maggie’s towns. It is great to get to/from the port if you don’t rent a car.

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YOUR TURN:  What unknown city have you found a great launching pad for a country’s must-see sight? Share your story in the comments below.

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Comments

» Ryan :
Dec 13, 2014

I’m working in Melbourne for a while, and my wife is coming out to visit in February and we wanted to go somewhere on Great Barrier Reef for part of our trip. The first place I came for a suggestion was LivingIf! I just finished booking a 5 day, 4 night trip on The Magnetic Island. It’s a few months away, but we’re already very excited! Thank you, as always, for the great information, suggestions, and pictures!

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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