Fleeing the winter cold , shivering Melburnians have long been coming to Magnetic Island , North Queensland , to thaw out , swim , enjoy the relaxed lifestyle , even the wildlife. A considerable number bought holiday homes on the island .
Now Tigerair has introduced cheap direct flights from Melbourne to Townsville , from whence the vehicle and passenger ferries to the island run, that "Mexican " influence from across the border on the north can be expected to grow.
An indication of the already recent increase in interest in the island by Victorians in particular is the fact that a popular eatery at Horseshoe Bay -Café Nourish - run by the same owners for about a decade, has just been taken over by a Melbourne family .
And on Thursday this week a real shot in the arm for the island -Scallywags Café-a bit like a floating three ring Wirth's Circus with a crew of extras from the Pirates of the Caribbean will lower its gangplanks for the public to come aboard .
One of the key players in the café, a showman who works shows and festivals all over Australia, rolled into the island in an unusual van from Melbourne last year and instantly declared it paradise. He has had a long association with Darwin through the Fire Circus at the Mindil Beach Markets .
An empty house, long on the market at Nelly Bay , not far from the marina , was rapidly renovated , fenced ; soon performers from there were staging fire displays and other entertainment at the Arcadia Hotel. Classes were also held for local children to teach them a variety of performing acts .
Absent from the island on the show circuit, the expanded troupe lobbed back with two decorated vans and began turning the premises into the café, the front fence in the shape of what has been taken to represent a pirate ship .You can have you photo taken as a pirate in a painted silhouette .
When a Little Darwin team, including the S(h)ipping Reporter, visited the café , it was a scene of great activity in preparation for the Thursday opening .
One of the multi-skilled workers , looking like a sweaty pirate , a bandanna on his skull , jumped ship , abandoned his wheelbarrow and posed for visiting Territory photographer, Sara , by balancing a shovel on his nose-how many waiters in North Australia can match this impressive act ? It is a stunt not recommended for Townsville council workers and children on school holidays . The café opening promises to be bigger than Ben Hur.