Tension, Whitsundays and Magnetic Island. Road Trip 2/3

Magnetic Island, Photo by ROMAIN TERPREAU on Unsplash

Day 7 – Rainbow Beach – Hervey Bay – 1770 — The Clash! 

The night was uncomfortable and short. I wake up at the stroke of 6 am. It is already daylight. The area where we stopped is very basic and not very charming.

Finished nice Mymy

After a proper wash up, I join the van. Good luck, I have a signal. I then take an hour and a half, and write. The backlog of my +18 adventures is cleared, there are only two more articles, before I release this one… 

What I love about writing, it relaxes me, it hogs my full attention, it gives me a sense of satisfaction I can’t find anywhere else. 

Today, I decided not to make the breakfast concession anymore. I proposed the night before that we leave right after we tidy up, and have breakfast on the beachfront. My proposal was barely weighed, no, emphatically. Fine, well me, pan-fried toast and filthy instant coffee, I can easily do without too. So this morning, I’m not busy in the kitchen while the two of them are snoozing, I’m writing. 


When Stephie gets up, her gaze lands on the closed, unused trailer, then it lands on me, the computer in my lap, a satisfied look on my face. Oh his pout of disappointment makes me gloat. Well yes, Mymy, it’s not the maid who’s going to take out the stove, install the gas, heat your water every morning before you get up… Times have changed!

She pokes her head into the van, “We are preparing breakfast?!”. And I retort to her that no, I’m fine, I’ve already nibbled, I don’t need breakfast, I’m writing here, bon appétit! She doesn’t take it very well but never mind!

Hervay Bay

45 minutes later, we pack up, and we head towards Hervey Bay. There is nothing special to see there, just something to have a real coffee, a little sea view, and something to restock. 

Except that Stephie disappears for more than an hour to do a visio, just like that without warning. I had only one request, to arrive at Agnes Water at 2pm to take surf lessons. It’s noon when we start shopping. It’s missed. 

Stop at the pharmacy for Madam, wait again and again… Finally, she reappears. It is already more than 1pm, and I feel that I do not hold any more. Another day lost, we did nothing, nothing at all, nada, niente! I am angry… She appears like a flower. The gps doesn’t indicate one hour and half of road as the day before, but almost 3 hours. Definitely, we will do nothing all day.

We start, they already want to take a break at the Hungry Jack, rotary breathing… 

I wait behind the wheel of the van, and I’m seething. My nerves are in an impossible state. I feel like crying.

I, who love efficiency, feel so frustrated. If only I was still having fun, but not even that…. God, please make the rest of the trip more efficient.

The frustration will literally kill me.

They come back, only Diego thought to bring me some fries. Anyway, I’m not hungry.

The Clash

The road starts off badly, after a few minutes Stephie and I begin to have a disagreement. She pushes me, she pushes too hard, insinuating that I’m a heartless angry person who makes no effort, and the straw breaks the camel’s back. I yell at her, tell her to go elsewhere if I’m there, in less distinguished terms. She goes on though, I’m shaking with rage, I can hardly drive, I feel this surge of rage and hatred in my veins. Diego, next to me, does not say a word. 

Well I can tell you that the rest of the trip is pretty dumb. The music and the mister’s rotten jokes are not enough to hide the tension that is going on. 

Agnes Water

Arrived at Agnes Water, it is already 16:30, too late for the lessons of surfing, just barely in time for the sunset. We push until 1770 (it is the name of a small city). The point of view is quite simply splendid, I go along the ridges, the light heart, I almost forgot the fight which took place a few hours earlier. 

After the contemplation of this beautiful landscape, we leave in search of the famous 1770 village… 

Agnes Water

We are desperately looking for the old village… This is Australia, what was I thinking, village? What village?

We ask around, no old town, no old village, just the sea and the sunset… We’ll settle for that… 

What the heck
Sunset at 1770

I get out the cider and beers, and we sit down by the water. And then my good mood turns sour. Stephie starts to make plans for tomorrow. I can’t help but stop her in her tracks. Tomorrow, we have 8 hours of driving to do. If she wants to see the sunset with the kangaroos at Cape Hillsborough, we won’t be able to leave at 12 o’clock from Agnes Water. 

She doesn’t listen, she continues in her rantings. Ok, as she wants, I feel that I have no say, and yet I know that the road will be long, that the 8 hours can easily turn into 10. Fine, let’s go to the so-called enchanted forest tomorrow morning, and spend 4 hours at the beach. But don’t come complaining about driving at night and making dinner in the dark! 

Except that my tone becomes acidic, and I can’t help but tell her that I have the unpleasant feeling that I never have a say, that she decides and we comply. 

Too much is too much

Ouch, she’s using the rift to walk back my screams a few hours earlier, making me look like a hysterical person who can’t control herself. At that moment, I feel like smothering her with the mosquito repellent, sticking her head in the sand and beating her to death. Let’s avoid prison… I get up, I take my bag, with the van keys, and I leave. Behind my back, she giggles, she was right, I don’t know how to control myself. 

I start running, sprinting. Where am I going? I have no idea…or if, maybe just away from her. 

After a few minutes of running around breathlessly, I start walking again with my heart pounding. I desperately need someone who will listen to me, someone who loves me and knows me. A message to Pipillon and a message to my parents. The first one answers, in 5 minutes, I could finally vent. 

I lie down on a bench, and I cry. Why? Why have I fallen so badly? How can I get out of this impasse? Am I going to have to put up with this witch for another ten days?

I’m not sure.

The call with Marion does me good, she is reassuring and knows how to find the words. Attentive, she sweeps away my doubts with a wave of her hand. When we hang up, I realize that I miss her, and that I also miss my other friends, the real ones, the ones who know me in the good and bad days. 

I finally return to the van, they are gone. Quick call to my parents, I have regained my composure. I already plan to find a plan B, other travel companions, a bus trip,in short, an escape. 

Iceful Ambiance

They come back, icy atmosphere. Diego says to me that we are all going to eat a fish and Chips, he adds that we should not speak any more about the trip for this evening. I answer with half words, no problem, I would not say anything more.

My gaze is absolutely not on Stephie anymore, I remove her from my field of vision. Arrived at the camp, I quickly install the tent, and I run under the shower. I don’t want to see this girl’s horrible cake face anymore. 

Just out of the shower, I see a man contemplating a flowerbed a few feet away. I approach, and he says to me in a strong Australian accent “There is a brown snake in the garden.”. Uh, that’s not all but the Brown Snakes are among the most poisonous and aggressive snakes in Australia. He tells me anyway that it’s a baby, thanks.

And finally I see it, its skin is almost black, it undulates on the earth between the rocks. He must be a meter long, but his diameter is rather reasonable. I shudder and at the same time, I find his way of crawling fascinating and aesthetic. 

After a few minutes, I return to our camp not without tapping my feet, like a flamenco dancer. I might as well tell you, that night, snakes, I imagined hundreds of them and they haunted my dreams… 

But hey Stephie or a snake, I’ll take the snake. 

Day 8 – Agnes Water — Proserpine Lake

Tensioned morning

April rise, writing, shower. I’m back on track and in a good mood… Until I run into Stephie in the bathroom. We hardly greet each other, that promises. Besides, the first words she says are to inform me that I have to join them in the kitchen to prepare the salads for lunch. Her authoritarian tone makes my hair stand on end, but I decide not to play along with her again. With an air of challenge, I say to her “Ok chief”, her glance becomes blacker, she begins to rant. I leave the room. 

As I dismantle the tent with Diego, I tell him of my desire to leave this horrible adventure. I feel that he is torn… Which side to choose? 

Cooking, dismantling the camp, all without a word, and we leave for the enchanted forest. Finally… It’s mostly a trail between the trees, populated by mosquitoes, and all slushy. I don’t open my mouth. 

The power of the ocean

We arrive at Agnes Water, we park not far from the beach. I do not wait for them to go to put my feet in the sand. And I decide to walk the beach until its end. It will take me one hour, the feet in water and the glance in the void, to reach the point of 1770. 

A beach all to myself

My walk feels great, my thoughts get lost in the blue of the ocean, I feel like I’m finally releasing all the tensions of the last few days. I had missed a little physical activity too… The beach is deserted, splendid, and I find the reason for this road trip. 

Arriving at the end, I check my phone. Message from Stephie, meet me in 10 minutes at the van… Uh… They’ll be waiting for me for over 30 minutes. And I don’t care!

More than 10 hours of driving

We then drive for more than 10 hours. The GPS does not take into account our real speed with the trailer and the van struggling to climb the hills. It’s long, it’s laborious, but very strangely, the atmosphere relaxes. Stephie doesn’t pout anymore, I don’t have the energy to stay sulking either. 

We arrive at Proserpine Lake for the night. The camp is right next to the lake, the sanitary facilities are new, and almost clean. No dinner, a turn to the shower and hop to bed. 

Lake Proserpine the next morning

Day 9 — Airlie Beach. 

In the morning, we leave for Airlie Beach. We booked two nights in X Base Nomads, a huge hostel.

The two-day boat tour is not available, so you’ll have to settle for a basic one-day tour to visit the Whitsundays. The Whitsundays are unspoiled islands surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef. They are known for the presence of turtles and the incredible beauty of the sandbanks at low tide… 

The weight of loneliness

Today, nothing planned. A relaxing day at Airlie Beach. It doesn’t take long for us to separate and make sure we don’t run into each other again.

I take the opportunity to write, and do a little shopping. The day stretches on, long and rather boring. Airlie Beach is just a shopping street and a big swimming pool. Impossible to swim in the sea, the jellyfish are at home here. Too bad. 

Cursed Jellyfish

I thought I would make new friends, and who knows, maybe new travel companions, but I don’t dare sit at the table with strangers. I miss my friends, and I feel melancholy surfacing.

Diego eventually runs into me and offers to have a few drinks with him and his new friends. I accept, after all…

It’s good to talk to other people, I’m discovering a whole different Diego, much more voluble… and almost funny. 

That’s not all, but a real bed is waiting for me. see you tomorrow! 

Day 10 – The Whitsundays

Raised earlier than planned, I take time for breakfast on the terrace, a moment to myself, before meeting the other two for our boat ride. 

The shuttle comes to take us in front of the hostel.  We chose the company Whitsunday Bullet. Boarding on the boat, Diego does not even put himself next to us, I think he hates Stephie even more than me. 


The drive to the first island takes almost an hour. Landing on the island, we have 45 minutes to climb to the viewpoint, and back. I don’t wait for anyone, I climb the steps, one by one. It’s an easy walk, my cardio is barely challenged. 

Sheltered from tourists

Arriving at the top, the multitude of tourists annoy me. They spend their time taking pictures of themselves, never really contemplating the landscape with their eyes. I sometimes wonder if it all makes sense anymore. 

Whitsundays as we wanted to see them, Marcel Wiemers on Unsplash
Whitsundays as seen…

I find a place to sit down and contemplate the landscape. It’s not bad, but it’s cloudy, and the tide is high, it’s not the postcard landscape so expected. I leave quickly, a bit disappointed and especially oppressed by the amateur photographers. 


Waiting for the others, I sit peacefully on a rock facing the sea, and just enjoy the moment. 

All aboard, we head for the island that houses Whiteheaven, the white sand beach, one of the most famous in Australia. 

WhiteHaven Beach

The beach could have been super impressive, if passengers from the other four boat companies weren’t already lounging there. The water is turquoise, but after Western Australia, my ability to marvel is a bit tainted. 

Diego and I at the top of the viewpoint

With Diego, we decide to leave Stephie to her sunbathing to go to the top of the hill. The view is nice, but the sky is still cloudy. 

Monitor Lizard

Lunch with Monitor lizards (pictured Balaji Malliswamy on Unsplash), we then leave for a swim, not without putting on a full wetsuit, the jellyfish are always out. It is silly, but to put on a combination which sticks and which hinders my movements makes the bathing much less pleasant. As for the multitude of tourists and boats, they spoil the raw beauty of the island. 

Snorkelling at the barrier reef

After two hours on the spot, departure for the snorkeling spot. I am one of the first to the water, the mask and snorkel they provide us are absolutely perfect.It is the first time I dive, come up without ever choking. 

I hadn’t brought my Go Pro… Thanks David Clode on Unsplash

The coral reef is splendid. The Corals are wonderfully colored, the shells have beautiful colors. The corals are denser, more diversified and more impressive than in Coral Bay. On the other hand, the fish are less numerous and less colorful. I had in hope to see a turtle, it will not be for this time. 

Still no Gopro… Thanks Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash

Back on the boat, then back on land. The tour was way too expensive for what it was, but the guides were lovely and very nice. 

In the evening, dinner at the restaurant with two people I met on the boat, but also some new faces from the hostel. Our conversations will lead me to a more intense reflection on the meaning of all these trips. I will come back to this in another article.

Another night in a bed is a luxury I appreciate. 

Day 10 – Townsville – Magnetic Island. 

Before taking back the van and the horrible trailer, we take the time for a last breakfast in a café. 


I’m not thrilled to be back in the co-pilot’s seat, but there it is. Direction Townsville to take the ferry to Magnetic Island. Once again, the road is much longer than foreseen, and the works do not help. We arrive at the outskirts of Townsville a little after noon. The next ferry is at more than 3 p.m., decidedly, we will have still lost a day. 

And you know what? I don’t care, too bad, I’m not going to continue to create anxiety that rots my life. There are 7 days left, 7 days to endure them, 7 days with no hope, no desire. I’ll see what I can do, we’ll go at the pace we’re going.

We leave the van and trailer in the ferry parking lot, and sail to Magnetic Island. The island is supposed to be home to koalas, and it’s one of the places in Australia where we’re almost sure to see them.

A superb hostel

Disembarkation, bus (well yes, of the blow, we have no more car) and we arrive at the hostel. The place is full of charm, the dormitories are located in small adorable bungalows. We even see a small wallaby not very wild. 

A big Wallaby in our hostel

 The bar is open and it is the happy hour. After a summary installation, we take finally a glass. An evening is planned on the beach, fire and DJ, that announces itself festive. I want to go there, to know people, to be drunk and to dance. 

Dinner, lack of other drinks, and fatigue get the better of my motivation. 

Sleep 1 – Want to party 0

Day 11 -Magnetic Island


The rain and my bed so much more comfortable than the mattress in the tent make me miss the sunrise. Guilt overcomes me. Argh, no, none of that, you’ll see what you’ll see. 

The trail through the koala habitat is closed, so it’s very unlikely we’ll get to see any today. It makes me sad, I was so hoping to see one in its natural environment. 

I feel like walking alone, but that’s without counting on Stephie who intends to follow me everywhere. Despite myself, I concede to breakfast, and we leave much later than I had imagined the day before. 

Diego joins us, and it’s off for a good half day of hiking.

Nice ride
Radial Bay Magnetic Island

The trails are steep, but passable. We arrive at a first small adorable beach. I feel good there, we stay there a long time, there is nobody. Stephie and I talk, and it’s the first time in days that I don’t want to strangle her. It’s progressing.

The second beach is accessible if we retrace our steps, or if we try to climb a bit and go off trail. We try the second option without success, Stephie is afraid. Come on we go back to the trails.

Option 2: A Bit of Climbing

 We are all extremely thirsty, but none of us have water anymore. Of the blow, hardly arrived at destination, Stephie already wants to leave. I have hardly time to jump in the sea. Too bad for the jellyfish, I take the risk. 

Chill and lorike meal

Returning to civilization, the pint of beer is welcome, the meal too. The rest of the day is super relaxing. I dive into my book, and forget. The power of words transports me elsewhere, away from frustration, away from my horrible travelmates, away from my reality. 

Just before leaving the hostel, we have the chance to feed the small rainbow lorikeets. A handful of foul porridge in the hollow of the hand and hop, a flock of birds comes to land on my fingers. The first seconds are rather funny, but very quickly the claws of the parrots sink in the delicate skin of my fingers. 

Trills on my aching little hand.

After an ordeal of several minutes, the porridge is swallowed, and the feathered gobblers fly away. One of them will find a choice perch on my head, it’s cute but once again the parrot’s talons massacre my scalp. Haha actually, it’s beautiful… From a distance! 

A lorikeet on my head…
Missed sunset and improvised night

It’s time to leave this beautiful hostel, it’s off for a last bus ride to the other side of the island to see the sunset before taking the ferry back. 

Stephie becomes unpleasant, and the closure of the hiking trail does not help her smile to reappear. So much for the view, we settle for the pier. The clouds are right about the beautiful sunset anyway. 

Sunset behind the clouds…

We will leave Magnetic Island without having seen a single koala, and for my part, with the unpleasant impression of not having stayed long enough. 

The night is already quite dark when we leave the parking lot of the ferry, half an hour later, we are at the camping area, facing the sea. Except that the sea… We do not see it…

The area is crowded and it is impossible for us to set up our tents there. We improvise a dormitory inside the minibus… I would almost sleep better than in the tent. 

(Continued from last episode)

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