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.