Townsvillestadtdorf Townsville and Magnetic Island

As we approached the tropical north of Queensland the temperature was noticeably rising. Townsville is known, unfortunately, as the skin cancer capital of the world. A combination of the latitude and the hole in the ozone layer means that sun cream is a must from morning to night. We’ve used an awful lot of the stuff in Queensland, so hopefully we’re protected from the worst of the rays but precluding any possibility of tanning our white, white bodies.

We had a nice morning run along the esplanade in the city, past the danger signs warning of crocodiles and sunburn, before the heat became too much. This will go down as our least environmentally friendly exercise, given that we had to drive 10km each way to get there!

The main tourist draw here is Magnetic Island, home to the usual array of furry, slithery or toxic wildlife. Warnings about snakes around the paths reached us too late, so we hiked on in sandals. The island is not that big, but has a couple of decent hills in the middle. Pace was slow as we walked around anything that might harbour death, along the rocky and steep path. We didn’t see anything that might kill us (you never do until it’s too late), but did find a sleepy koala in a tree, our best fauna-hunting success of this couple of days.

We have long held the opinion that Australia is less than imaginative with its place names. Just about everywhere is named after a town in England: Newcastle, Paddington, Kings Cross, Epping, Cheltenham, Windsor, Surry Hills, Surrey Hills, Box Hill, to name but a few. Townsville provides a new multilingual take on this lack of originality. As if in self-parody, the central business district is called Townsville City. I mean, really.