ZEN TIP TUESDAY #12
It’s wonderful to welcome Jan Robinson to the ZTT guest post series for ZTT #12. Jan’s a fellow Aussie mid-life blogger who I’ve met once at a blogger’s lunch here in Brisbane and hopefully will catch up with again at a future similar occasion. Jan’s zen ‘go to’ place is Magnetic Island, and this is what she is sharing with us today. You may not live nearby to Magnetic Island or ever have been to Magnetic Island but perhaps there is a place you love to visit that has similar qualities and effects on you!
If you’re linking up for ZTT Link-Up #010 – thank you and welcome!
I have road tripped through biblical landscapes in Eastern Turkey, day tripped to off-grid Cambodian Islands and spent a month on a Balinese beach, but when asked for my favourite Zen experience, I immediately go to the North Queensland hideaway of Magnetic Island.
Captain Cook was positive this island had magnetic qualities from the moment his ship’s compass went crazy and he wrongly guessed the boulders he spied on-shore were magnetic.
It is true however, that this palm-fringed tropical island, a mere 20 minutes boat trip from Townsville, oozes magnetic charm.
Locals love Maggie with a passion and I’m a local of sixty years. To my mind there is nothing more relaxing than the eerie call of a Curlew in the night, or gentle ocean breezes that lead naturally to meditation.
With a bit of adventurous driving along a pot-holed road and a short walk beneath the Casuarina or She-Oak trees, it’s possible to reach the deserted sands of Florence Bay, my favourite island escape.
Lying flat out on the sand, while mesmerizing grey green Casuarinas filter the sun and a whispering breeze tames the North Queensland heat, is a treasured and calming memory that I regularly call upon.
It is so important to have a beautiful memory to calm your soul – one that is so personal that it forms part of your inner self.
Magnetic Island calms my soul.
Even though I now live on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of Queensland, I think I’ll have my ashes sprinkled under the She Oaks at Florence. I know I’ll be at peace.
But for now, I love to rent a beach house for a week and succumb to a daily routine of morning swim, a pub meal at lunch and wake-up swim following an afternoon nap.
The repetitiveness is a meditation in itself.
Reconnecting with nature on the island is calming and grounding. Most of the land is National Park with many walks connecting the bays and leading to lookouts or natural features.
My favourite island walk leads to the observation forts – relics from when nearby Townsville was bombed by Japanese aircraft in World War II. Eucalyptus trees line the rustic track and are home to a thriving colony of wild koalas.
The trick to finding koalas is to walk slowly, stopping often to scan the forks of trees where they sleep. It’s when I’m on koala watch that the sounds of the bush infiltrate. I stand and listen to the intermittent but deafening sound of cicadas, cackling kookaburras or unseen critters scurrying out of the way.
On this particular track, Koalas can be found in low down tree forks, making it super easy to scrutinise them. Nothing makes me happier than studying a sleeping koala. Have you noticed how they seem to smile as they sleep?
Echidnas – Australia’s spiny anteaters – scurry across paths intent on burying their heads in forest litter. Their whole demeanour is one of “I can’t see you, so you can’t see me”! They seem smaller than in my childhood, but it makes my heart sing that these crazy little creatures still thrive in the bush.
The Island is wild.
Dark green hoop pines line the ridges and wedge themselves amongst the giant grey boulders staggering themselves along the waterline.
Those boulders form the dark cool caves that hide colonies of rock wallabies. Although the wallabies are wild they can be seen popping out of their caves to scavenge for food at dusk. They often do this at holiday homes adjoining rocky sections of the park or where rock caves meet public jetties.
I do enjoy cities, but I’m a country girl at heart. Nature calms me and makes me whole.
Every Magnetic Island interlude grounds me and feeds my feeling of self. It adds yet another layer to the already many layers of positive feelings and memories I associate with island time.
Whatever I’m doing in the world, I need only close my eyes and return to my sandy spot beneath the She Oaks to reclaim my inner Zen.
Jan writes about Travel on her Budget Travel Talk blog. She started backpacking solo through Australia, Asia and Europe in her teens, then with her husband in her early 20’s until today. Now in her 60’s she sits happily, slightly outside the box and enjoys housesitting, staying with locals via Airbnb and experiencing other cultures from the ground up. She has lived most of her life in Townsville North Queensland.
Read More About Townsville and Magnetic Island on her Blog.
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