The owner, Paco, was very facilitative when making the booking. He let us postpone our stay by one day because of the cyclone. Getting there was a bit tricky, the road was deep underwater in places so make sure you check the state of the road beforehand. When we arrived we were met by Tito, who exemplifies the relaxed island attitude. The house is well set up and homely, don't worry about bringing anything except food. We were a group of nine people and slept very comfortably, although bear in mind 2 of the beds are the couches in the living room. There's an outdoor shower which is glorious and a non-flushing enviro toilet. There's only one power outlet in the house, so be prepared to let your phone run out of battery (not necessarily a bad thing). This place is perfect if you're looking to get away from it all. There's a fresh water creek not far away which involves a scramble up the side of a hill but well worth the effort. And of course, the sunsets. Be aware that any person (excluding children) over 4 people will cost an extra $20 a night. Enjoy!
Paco's beach hut might be lacking in the luxuries of a five-star holiday unit but with life's basics covered (cold beer, running hot water, shower, lighting, and gas cook top plus BBQ) then the location more than makes up for any mod cons you might be missing. And any possible concerns about the lack of these unnecessary comforts melt away as you sip your stove brewed espresso or cold stubbie/glass of sav blanc on the patio 50 metres from the lapping water while your kids fossick the high tide mark for new treasures or construct sand forts on the banks of the creek flowing out to the beach.
West Point on Magnetic Island is a little off the beaten path which means even in the madness of Easter is a relatively peaceful haven for a beach holiday. With Paco's parents living nearby in one of the few houses there, you have friendly, generous hosts who will take you through the details of the solar 12V power, pressure pump, gas fridge and stove.
None of it is difficult and it all works nicely. You will find that the power will eventually run out for lights mid to late evening depending on how much sun there was and how many rooms you were lighting and you might need to time share the single 220v inverter outlet for charging phones/ipads etc - but here's an idea - how about turning them off and playing a game of Pictionary or Monopoly together?
The beach hut is a great lesson for kids about life in simpler times and self-sufficiency. It is rustic without being uncomfortable, has a fabulous position looking across to Cape Pallarenda and two lovely beaches with a bush backdrop. You might spot turtles, koalas, wallabies, you will see Brahminy kites, Sea eagles, Stone Curlews, Kookaburras, Rainbow lorikeets and fabulous sunsets - a nice time to meet other people as there is a bit of a tradition for locals and visitors to head to the beach for the setting of the sun.
There are two bedrooms upstairs - one with a double lower and single top bunk and the other with a double bed and two single bunk to accommodate 7 total and two more can be accommodated in the lounge room on two flat-folding lounges if necessary. The bedrooms have full louvred glass walls facing the beach and the rear of the house for cross ventilation. You will wake with the sunrise and birds but you will likely have gone to bed around 10 when the 12v lights hit the wall unless you read on by candlelight or LED lamplight.
A word of warning about access - there is about 8 km of unsealed road with a number of shallow creek crossings - a couple not so shallow after rain but we went in a conventional 2WD 7-seater a week after Cyclone Ita and did daily runs back to Picnic Bay and other parts of the island without any major problems. Most of the water crossings have concrete pads even if they arent visible but take it very slowly in a 2WD as there can be wash outs on the lips of the concrete pads. If you have a 4WD easy peasy but if you have concerns Paco can usually advise on current conditions via his parents.
In summary if you are looking for an old-fashioned low cost holiday where kids can run amok on the beach in view of your front door and make friends with other locals kids, sample a bit of nature and the quiet life and maybe do a spot of fishing, Paco's beach house is the place for you. Treat it with respect and it will reward you with a stay to remember.
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