The mysteries of Australia’s sunshine state

Video highlights from Meanwhile in Australia with Nick Cummins

If you’re planning a trip to North Queensland, follow Nick Cummin's advice and take a trip around some of Queensland’s most mysterious and beautiful sites.

You’ve heard what they say about far north Queensland, ‘where it’s beautiful one day and perfect the next’, now you can experience it.

Queensland is home to some of Australia’s most diverse and exciting wildlife. From the hidden pools that have laid untouched for hundreds of years to the green canopy of the Daintree Rainforest, Queensland is a land of mystery and rich history, one that must be seen to be believed.

If you’re thinking of taking a trip like our very own Nick Cummins, consider making an effort to stop at these three mysterious and jaw-dropping sites.

Magnetic Island

Image: Nick Cummins riding a horse on Cape Tribulation, Magnetic Island, Photograph from Meanwhile in Australia

Magnetic or “Maggie’s” Island as the locals fondly call it, has long since been shrouded with mystery. Just 8km from Townsville, Magnetic Island covers 5184 ha- 70 percent of which is National Park.

The Island was discovered by Captain Cook in 1770. While passing the island, Captain Cook found that none of his compasses worked, noting in his diary, that there was something that lay in the island’s ores that made them malfunction.

Since then, the idea that the island is magnetic has been disproved, after various tests revealed the island was predominately made of granite.

While Magnetic Island isn’t actually magnetic, the island boasts exquisite natural beauty. A secluded spot that can be enjoyed by fishing, swimming or bushwalking, the island truly is a tropical paradise.

Devils Pool

Image: The Devil's Pool in Babinda, Photograph from Meanwhilewile in Australia

Nestled in the deep green of Queensland’s rainforest lies Australia’s most haunted site: Devils Pool. Claiming more than 17 lives, this dangerous spot in Babinda, North Queensland, is still popular with hikers and backpackers from all over the world. 

According to locals, the pool is haunted by the ghost of a young runaway bride, who fell to her death in Devil’s Pool. It is believed she is responsible for dragging down many of the young males who drowned in the pool.

The legend goes a young woman by the name of Oolana married in an elder from the Yidniji tribe, but fell in love with another man, named Dyga. According to the story the two lovers fled from their tribes to the Devil’s Pool, but were captured by the elders. Oolana leapt into the Devil’s Pool calling for her lover to follow, when she hit the water the boulders fell into the creek, and the water shook into action.

To this day many claim they can still hear her call out for her lover.

Some locals believe this is why the majority of the victims were young male backpackers.

Whether you can hear Oolana's calls or not, the area is particularly dangerous. Rocks surrounding the pool are very slippery, and the churning water, known as the ‘washing machine’ can trap swimmers who enter it.

Lizard Island

Image: Nick Cummins on Lizard Island, Photograph from Meanwhile in Australia

Lizard Island is situated 240 kilometres north of Cairns, directly adjacent to the reef. In 1937, the island was declared a National Park, and the surrounding waters were made a marine park in 1974. 

For tens of thousands of years the traditional owners of Lizard Island, the Dingaal people lived on the island. A sacred place that was used to initiate young males and an ideal place to harvest shellfish, turtles, dugongs and fish.

Captain Cook visited the island, while trapped in the labyrinths of reefs. He named the island Lizard Island as the only animals he saw on the island were lizards.

While Captain Cook may have been the first European to visit the Island, Mary Watson, whom Watson’s Bay is named for is by far the most famous inhabitant. The story goes that Mary Watson married bêche de mer fisherman Robert F. Watson in May 1880. The two moved to Lizard Island to set up a fishing station, which at the time was uninhabited. In September of that same year, Watson left his wife Mary, his young son along with two Chinese servants Ah Sam and Ah Leung alone on the island, while he sailed off for an extended fishing village.

While he was away, people from the Guugu Yimmidir tribe from the mainland visited the island on a seasonal trip. The aboriginal party saw that Mary had been trespassing on ceremonial ground and attacked the two servants, killing Ah Leung and injuring Ah Sam. Mary fired a gun into the air to frighten the group off, while she packed a small amount of food and water in a boat. Mary, her four-month-old son and Ah Sam, fled the island drifting for eight days.

Mary’s last journal entry read: “No water. Near dead with thirst.” Her diary and the bodies of herself, her son and Ah Sam were found among the mangroves of No.5 Island in the Howick Group off Cape Flattery in 1882.

If you do visit Australia’s sunshine state, make sure to visit these infamous spots, to take in all the beauty, history and mystery Queensland has to offer.

Tune into Meanwhile in Australia at 8.30pm AEST on National Geographic, to see more of Queensland and the Honey Badger.

Lead Image: Nick Cummins, coconut in hand visiting Queensland for Meanwhile in Australia.

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