Magnetic Island on a Scale of Barbie Car to 4×4

Hey team! Guess what! Remember how easy it was to find friends to rent a car with in Cairns? Whelp, it’s just as simple on Magnetic Island as well. This is due to a few things…1. It’s a tiny island and relatively easy to get around in a rental. 2. It’s decently cheap if you fill the car you’re renting. 3. Barbie Cars. 4. 4×4’s for sunset.

So, number 1. The island is tiny! There is actually a bus you can take around the island which gets you just about anywhere you’d need to be, but it’s kind of expensive and isn’t the most convenient public transport I’ve taken. Don’t get me wrong, super great when you’re trying to get from the ferry terminal to your accommodation (*cough*Base*cough*), but otherwise it takes a little bit to get from one side of the island to the other if you’re on the bus. On the other hand, if you’re in your own rental, it’s pretty tough to get lost, and it’s decently fast to get from point A to point B when you’re not making all of the stops that the bus does. Not to mention, the bus seems to barely make it up some of those hills which is less than comforting. Also you can’t get out to West Point unless you have a 4×4, which is the “top spot” to watch the sunset

More on that later though.

Okay! Already on to number 2 look at us fly! It’s not super expensive if you’ve got a little crew of people! In the 4×4’s you can typically get five people and the Barbie cars can do four. Both usually run around $80-$90 per day plus petrol. I know that sounds like a lot, but for the island, and split up between you all, it’s not actually terrible. Now, I know we’ve gone over this, but all you need to do is wander around your hostel and politely ask your fellow backpackers if they’d like to rent a car with you. You honestly don’t need more than one day with the rentals, like I said….tiny island. You can actually get to everywhere you need to go on the busses, but it’s not as fun as rollin around the island with a few pals from the hostel.

Okayyyyy, number 3, Barbie Cars.

These are ridiculous little pink topless cars that can’t go very fast and can’t go on any somewhat bumpy roads, but man are they entertaining. I actually didn’t rent one, my group wanted to, but we had five people and therefore couldn’t fit into a Barbie car, and the day before, when we had seven people to make it more worth it, they didn’t have any Barbie cars available. (Also I can do math, I’m talking about us getting two cars, okay if you didn’t get that you’re the stupid one not me). Bummer. That didn’t stop us from hopping into an unattended car and taking photos of course though. That’s just about all these cars are good for anyway. Seriously, they can’t go on the 4×4 roads, or rather….shouldn’t go on the 4×4 roads, and they don’t go super fast, and they can’t go down to the good, secluded beaches. So just save your time and spend your money elsewhere and just hop into a parked car and take your photos.

Unless you want the classic topless photo, that could be a little more awkward in someone else’s rental in a random car park. But hey, to each their own.

Anyway, onto the important information, 4×4’s! So there’s a few companies you can get your “off-road vehicles” from, and I hate to do this to the one we got ours from because they were truly lovely, but I have to recommend a different company. Actually, I lied, I will still recommend the company we went with because it’s bloody hot on Magnetic Island and the company we rented through had enclosed cars with working A/C. Glorious, especially after hiking up the forts or standing outside for more than three minutes. Also, you can fit six people into the car instead of just five! We had made an extra friend who wanted to watch the sunset with us so….we found him a place to sit.

Fun anecdotal inside jokes such as “someone should let Bruno out of the trunk” have followed ever since. PSA: this was super illegal….so, yeah drive carefully and try to not hit too many bumps on that 4×4 road if you end up shoving someone into the boot of the car. Also don’t tell on me okay thanks. Anyway, the company was Tropical Palms Resort and 4WD Hire, and like I said, they were absolutely lovely. They picked us up and dropped us off at our hostel, they helped us with getting the right insurance for the 24 hours we were going to have the car, and yeah, they were just really lovely people to be dealing with. Seemed like a small, family owned place, so, if you want air con, or just don’t care too much about the specific type of 4×4 you get, go support this business! They’re great.

Otherwise, if you want the more rugged, topless 4×4, go with Arcadia Beach Guest House and Car Hire. The only real problem we had with our rental is that we wanted to get down to a few bays on the north-western end of the island, and we weren’t allowed to go down the only road that accessed those bays in our specific rental. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea, all I know is that in our rental we weren’t allowed to use that one road, and these other rentals were allowed to. Also we had really been hoping for the topless 4×4 because we are young and carefree and wanted a topless car that really showed that. And we’d do anything for the Gram.

Look how happy we were! (Side note: this was with a different group of people from the hostel on my last night. They were going to the sunset again and I decided to join to see if I could get a better sunset than the night before.)

Anyway back to the road we weren’t allowed on. We parked up at the forts parking area and walked all the way to the first of four bays – Arthur Bay.

It was about a 15 minute walk, which was fine there, because it was all downhill and we were fresh and exuberant on the day. However, going back was literal torture, we were tired from laying in the sun and swimming, and it was hot as hell, and, obviously, if you can deduce information well enough, it was all uphill back. Torture.

*Road From Hell

There’s three more bays further along that get better and better apparently, which we were unwilling to walk to in the heat. Honestly, the road itself is actually not bad at all and we would have had no trouble just driving the car down, but we like to follow rules so we didn’t.

That being said though, there’s really only two places you can’t get to unless you have a rental, so if you’re not old enough or just don’t feel like paying for a rental, it’s not actually that big of a deal. One, is those bays. Honestly, you can just walk, I’m just being whiny cause I was hungover so it felt like the end of the world. It was absolutely gorgeous though.

There was hardly anyone at the first one and I’m sure as you go further in to the other bays it gets even more and more secluded.

The water felt great, and there were cool boulders to climb around on.

The shade was hit and miss, it looked like the trees were decent, but the sun made it through the leaves pretty well. Just lather up in the sunscreen though, especially if you intend on taking a nice long hangover nap, and you’ll be good.

Otherwise, if you want to make it to West Point Beach for sunset, it is deffo impossible to get to unless you have a car or manage to hop into someone else’s. The first night we tried for the sunset we all ended up having more fun searching for shells and taking group photos rather than watching the sunset.

It was a little mediocre so we enjoyed our friendship more anyway.

The second night I went it was even more mediocre, but we had a great time enjoying friendship again.

Moral of the story: sunset is beautiful anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere for the most part, and nothing beats just hangin with some awesome people instead. It’s the company you keep that makes life beautiful, aye?

And on that incredibly cheesy note, my brain doesn’t feel like writing anymore. I’m slowly easing myself back in after taking a much needed break during the holidays. Also trying for less horrendously long blog posts so hopefully the next one will be up in an actual week. Also depending on my wifi as usual though, but sometimes I’m just being bloody lazy.


Base Backpackers and the Island Bar

If you find yourself trapped in Townsville, have no fear, lovely Magnetic Island is just a short ferry ride away. Seriously, save yourself and just go to Maggie, you’ll enjoy yourself much much better. In an attempt to stop making my life so hard and make my blog posts much shorter and more inviting, I’m going to talk about Magnetic Island itself later, and at this moment we’re going to focus on a wicked place to stay…Base Backpackers Magnetic Island. Now, Base itself has 14 locations across Australia and New Zealand, this is just one of them. Some are better than others, some are bigger, have better wifi, are cleaner, etc. Whatever, maybe someday I will have stayed at them all (highly unlikely), and I can give you the real lowdown (never gonna happen), but until then, let’s just stay on topic…Base on Magnetic Island. Rant over (for now).

This hostel is amazing. Period. That’s all.

“But Zoe, WHY is it amazing? Tell us more.”

Well I’m glad you asked, lets start with the location. Perfect. Literal perfection. It is water front, there’s a large beach right along the front of the hostel.

It’s basically the most popular hostel on the island so there’s a bus which drops and picks up directly in front, and if you’re renting a car most companies will just come pick you up from the hostel and drop you back off as well once you bring the car back. The hostel itself is also right in front of one of the good reef areas for snorkeling. It’s not directly next to the ferry terminal, but like I said, the bus goes directly to it for something like $2.50. Decent aye?

The kitchen is decent, but I’m going to be honest, I deffo did not stick to my budget for food here as well as I have managed other places. One thing, minor issue, but really it’s not that big of a deal, the closest supermarket is back at the ferry terminal. So, kind of annoying unless you’ve rented a car or feel like taking the bus. OR feel free to make friends with a staff member and they’ll probably bring you? Doesn’t hurt to ask right? Anyways, the reason why this isn’t that big of a deal is because the food from the restaurant/bar is amazing. Seriously, mouthwatering. They have awesome specials every night for dinner and the brekky is to die for.

Every day I told myself I wouldn’t spend money on food at the Island Bar and then, jokes on me, I didn’t cook for myself even once. Every single thing that I got from the restaurant was amazing, but the pizzas were especially delicious. The entire group of people that I spent time with on the island had trouble staying away from the restaurant, we always gave in, totally worth it though.

Next, the dorms/rooms: quaint, adorable, lovely,

(excuse the mess)

I felt like I was in summer camp. Almost every room was a cabin.

(I was in lovely 118, just far enough away to avoid too much bar noise, but close enough that I didn’t have to walk ages to the toilets, score)

The private rooms had the views, obviously,

This is the furthest I was willing to go though because I didn’t want someone to see me, a complete stranger, taking photos in front of their private cabin. Yep, don’t mind me folks.

Yeah, even the dorms though were, at most, three steps away from an ocean view.

This is a photo from our front porch. Just awful right?

As for complaints about rooms? Whelp, two girls I was with had a room with no A/C and smelled like boy (they were the only two girls in a room with 6 boys, bless their hearts). Actually everyone was complaining of no air con in their rooms except for Claudia (girl in my room) and I. Side note: you will meet all of these people in the next blog about shenanigans around the island, this is purely hostel information…for the most part. I love them all too much to simply glaze over who they are, okay? Deal. Anyway, Claudia and I thought we had gotten a sweet as deal, our A/C was great, the room was mostly girls with only 2 boys, no weird smells, we both had top bunks, but that’s okay. So our first night there, the entire crew was pretty tired. We all ate dinner and, no-shit, we were in bed by like 8:30. Had my pj’s on and Netflix pulled up, ready to cozy up with my stuffed animal and call it a night. The two guys in my room made a minor attempt to get me to go out, but I can’t be swayed out of bed once I’m settled so they left eventually, and I fell asleep, blissfully unaware of the terror I would wake up to.

1am, voices, obnoxiously loud. That’s fine, I’m an adult, I know people drink, I heard about this as a party place specifically, I can deal. The girl who was in the bed below mine had brought a friend home, I’m sure you can all guess where this is going, but I was blissfully ignorant still. Just some minor annoyance at being woken up. Things quieted down, and then, horror, moaning. Well eff. I had a couple doing dirty things to each other in the bunk below me. Okay, I can pretend like I’m asleep. Nope, things got rather vigorous, I was on a ship in a massive storm, a cyclone was hitting, I literally held on to my bed to keep from falling off, they KNOCKED THE LADDER OFF MY BED. I feel violated, terrible things happened to me, they finally finished and the guy stood up, ‘oh shit,’ he says when he notices me, curled up in the fetal position, horrified. ‘Yeah…I’m a little motion sick here guys.’ They don’t say much, a mumbled ‘sorry,’ and a quick retreat. As soon as they go out the door I immediately sit up and desperately look toward Claudia in the top bunk diagonally from mine. We shared quick horrified glances, both of us permanently damaged by what had just happened and we turn over, trying to forget as girl and guy come back and get back in bed to snuggle.

2am, voices. One of the boys is back, with a girl in tow…but she’s one of the girls also staying in our room. Cool, that means nothing should be going on right? Wrong. She climbs into his bed. I’m trying to shut my ears, I can’t even deal anymore, I hear noises, I’m crying inside, why is this happening to me.

3am, voices. The other boy is back without pants on and with another girl in tow. I can’t tell if this is the other girl in our room or what, but I heard dirty things happening over there as well that I won’t soon forget. Dead inside, nothing matters anymore, I’ve been violated, this is the worst.

When the third couple came in Claudia made the smart move and decided to leave, she slept outside on the beach, exposed to the elements, but the elements are better than what we went through. Horrifying. Let’s talk about how it’s a good thing I didn’t attempt to leave though because, remember, couple number 1 knocked my ladder off my bed, and they just really didn’t care to fix it.

(again…excuse the mess, even though none of it is really mine; I just needed proof)

Thanks guys. So, on top of dealing with their sex shenanigans, I had to launch myself to the ground in the morning when I finally felt the overwhelming need to get tf out of there. AND, even though I had literally woken up to them talking again (I know, how did I even fall asleep after all of that? Well, I’m officially dead inside), they decided to pretend to be asleep while I was up and about. Anyway, That was a hell of a side story, but yeah, the dorms are great as long as your roomies don’t suck. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to not have sex, you do you (or them…I guess?) I’m just saying to have sex in the shower like every other normal person in the hotel does.

Aaaaand I’m using that as a segue into the bathrooms. Some of the private rooms have an en-suite, but otherwise I’m pretty sure there’s only the main bathrooms for everyone. One huge girls bathroom and one huge boys bathroom. The girls had somewhere around seven or eight showers and ten-twelve toilets and five or six sinks.

It looks sketchy as, but it wasn’t that bad. And the showers were actually pretty nice with big waterfall shower heads. I never had a problem getting a stall, though that’s because I shower at different times than everyone else apparently. The first night though, there was no toilet paper. I want to say only like two of the stalls had any in them. It’s fine, it didn’t happen again that I noticed. Also, there are toilets in the bar, but they’re much further away from all of the rooms (obviously) so they’re really only convenient if you’re eating or drinking.

Aaaaaand speaking of, let’s move on to DRINKING! Okay everyone, Base is widely known as the party hostel, especially the Magnetic Island Base, and that is for a reason. I am not that big of a partier, but man did I have some nights at Base at the Island Bar.

So, I know I threw you all off by saying I had an early one the first night, (besides the free welcome drinks)

Whelp, the next day I decided to treat myself all day in order to feel better about my life from dealing with what I had to deal with. Honestly, nothing TOO exciting, a few of the girls and I simply took advantage of the happy hour prices and got a few bottles of wine from the bar. The event that night was beer pong so we watched some friends come in second, played some pool, took some photos, loved on each other, ate some pizza.

Great times, ended up in bed not TOO late, but had a lovely night. The next night was boozy bingo. I’m going to tell you something very important….participate. I don’t care if you like bingo or not, though lets be honest, who doesn’t like bingo.

PARTICIPATE IN BINGO OKAY!? You can win seriously amazing prizes. Like, for example, my friend Robyn won over 400 FREAKIN DOLLARS! Anyway, boozy bingo has a lot of shenanigans and it goes on for a bit and honestly, you gotta be a little tipsy. So we got more than tipsy and strongly participated in happy hour drinks while playing bingo.

Great times, we ate pizza, danced on tables,

took photos, friends won things,

hit on bartenders, lovely.

Next night was bar wars. These were the craziest shenanigans of them all as far as I saw. Not gonna lie, deffo saw some naked people (of their own volition, not the hostels okay). This one is hard to describe, but there’s a bunch of different games, like musical chairs and such with an interesting twist and you have a team and you try to win them….obviously. Stripping is involved if you lose a round and want to stay in the game, but it’s optional and you can just take the L like a champion.

Great times,

No one really knows who won, I was given many free drinks, ran into a table, played on the beach,

hit on more bartenders (actually just the one, two nights in a row). Lovely.

(my team <3)

Anyway, moral of the shenanigans, Base has activities every night. And even if you don’t think you’ll enjoy them, you probably will. You don’t HAVE to party, but look where that got me, eh? Just kidding, don’t party if you don’t want to. The bar closes at midnight so the noise isn’t actually that big of an issue if you are trying to sleep instead of party. And just make sure to be aware of your surroundings and if it seems like something dirty is going to happen in your room, speak up and tell them to get it on in the shower with everyone else.

So, for the hangover that you will definitely have at some point while staying on Magnetic, there are plenty of lovely hangover areas. There’s a lovely pool, nice and cool, which is very important since it’s insanely hot in Northern Queensland, and that cool swim will make you feel heaps better. (I didn’t take a photo of it though so there’s that) Or, if you prefer a swim in the warm waters of the pacific, just walk the thirty seconds down to the beach and get rid of your hangover in the gentle, loving waves of Mother Nature. Also there’s hammocks and bean bag chairs everywhere.

Plop down there for like three hours with some ice cold water, good as new. (Shoutout to Paul,

my fave, you are a legend, thanks for filling my water bottle up a million and a half times; sorry kids, he’s gone back home to Germany and you won’t ever know how awesome he is).

Anyway, on that note, one of the best parts of staying at this hostel is the staff. They’re all just like us y’all, just a bunch of backpackers staying there for accommodation. They like to have as much fun as the rest of us and they will show you a seriously good time. They’re welcoming, you’ll have good chats, probably end up getting drunk and hitting on one of them (don’t lie, if you stayed here you deffo did it too), and they’ll show you cool places to go around the island! Yay perks! Yay friends! Seriously, any decent hostel can be made ten times better by having an awesome staff around and this place has that. Of the three or four hostels on Maggie, Base is seriously the best. If you’re looking for a super super chill stay, I recommend the Koala Village YHA, but honestly, I’m just super partial to Base. I mean…beanbag chair fights anyone?

Also we saw an animal during dinner