On the first day, I arrived at the Townsville Airport, then hopped on a ferry to get to Magnetic Island. The island was beautiful with numerous beaches. I also was quite impressed with the hostel. Being established right along the shore, the hostel had a very beachy-vibe to it, and the bar had events every night, making it quite easy to meet people. It was very backpacker-friendly, so I was able to make friends from all over the world- including the UK, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and even someone from Florida.
On the first full day spent on the Island, I went to an area called Horseshoe Bay. It was an adorable little town located along the beach with numerous activities, stores, and cafes. I really enjoyed a place called Cafe Nourish that made delicious acai bowls and coconut lattes. Also near the beach is the Bungalow Bay Koala Village- one of my favorite parts about the island. Not only did I get to hang out with some adorable koalas, but I also got to hold crocodiles, snakes, lizards, and turtles. After that afternoon, I grew an immense obsession for Australian reptiles. After the tour, I even had the opportunity to help feed a swarm of birds who literally flew all over me.
The following day was spent at another small beach in Arcadia. It's definitely less populated and more remote than Horseshoe Bay, but I really enjoyed that aspect of it. It made it very easy to just relax and lay under the sun. The area also has many enormous rock deposits, making it a perfect spot to view the ocean and the rest of the island.
The next day, I caught a ferry back to Townsville, where I spent the morning roaming around the town. I explored the harbor area and stopped by the Anzac Memorial Park. In Australia, Anzac (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is a very important holiday that commemorates Australia's first military action during the First World War. Later, I settled into the nicest hostel during the duration of my trip. The Townsville YHA looked like a 4-star hotel, with extremely clean facilities, a cafe and restaurant downstairs, and a roof-top pool and bar area. During the night, some UK friends that I had previously met in Magnetic Island joined Nila and me for a night out at the Mad Cow- a pub notorious in Townsville for good drinks and live music.
During my trip, I also received some exciting news that I was selected as one of the Purdue International Agriculture Ambassadors for this coming school year! I can't wait to help organize activities with Purdue Ag's future exchange students, in addition to speaking to university classes to promote Purdue Ag Study Abroad. I've definitely gained so much during the course of my international exchange, and I can't wait to share my memories and experiences with other students. 😃
Next blog stop: Adelaide and the beginning of my 6-day tour through Australia's outback!