Hinchinbrook Island

The  Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook, is a magnificent walk through the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The Thorsborne Trail runs from Ramsay Bay in the North of Hinchinbrook for 34 kilometers to George Point at the South east of the Island. Hinchinbrook island is the largest Island national park in Australia and has a camping permit system in place so that only 40 walkers can be on theThorsborne Trail at any one time. Queensland parks and wildlife service manage the camping permit system and and have a website at  www.epa.qld.gov.au where availability can be checked and bookings made. There is a small charge for the camping permits which can be paid when you book.

Walking the Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook, can be done either way but the most popular way is from the north to the south which is the way we walked it. Winter is the best time to walk the trail as it can get quite hot over the summer period. March to October is best but also the most popular for bookings so forward planning is essential to ensure getting a permit. We walked the trail in September 2009 and even then the temperature was warm in the middle of the day.  Hinchinbrook Island is located just offshore from Cardwell which is about halfway between Townsville and Cairns. It is about a 2 hour drive and there are bus services available from either place.

There are ferry services from Cardwell out to Hinchinbrook and can be booked through www.hinchinbrookferries.com.au This Hinchinbrook ferry drops you at Ramsay Bay which is the start of the walk from the northern end of the Hinchinbrook island.

At the end of the walk you leave from George Point and you need to organise a pickup through the following link:  http://www.hinchinbrookwildernesssafaris.com.au/transfer.htm

This Hinchinbrook ferry company is different to the drop off company and they drop you off at Lucinda which means you also need to organise a bus transfer to get back to Cardwell if you are leaving the area from there. This can be done through the following: For all bus connections, contact Ingham Travel on:  07 4776 5666 or ingtravel@hotmail.com  The Hinchinbrook ferry times are dependent on tide times which will be advised by the ferry companies.  We did the walk on Hinchinbrook in four days which a lot of other walkers also did however there are some side trips to do if you want to stay longer and some walkers were staying an extra day at some of the campsites as there are nice beaches ,waterfalls and swimming holes to enjoy

Day1:  Catch the Hinchinbrook ferry to Ramsay Bay and then walk to Little Ramsay Bay which takes about 4.5 hours. The walk starts off along the beach and then heads inland towards Nina Peak. You can leave your pack on the trail and climb up Nina Peak which provides panoramic views of mangrove swamps and sandy bays to the north and south of Hinchinbrook. From here you continue through Nina bay ,Boulder Bay and on to Little Ramsay Bay where there is a campsite near the beach. We had a swim at the beach but you have to be careful as this is a crocodile habitat. As there had not been much rain we had to walk up the creek about 400 meters to get freshwater.


Day 2:  Little Ramsay Bay to Zoe Bay. This is about a 6hour walk and involves some climbing and descending. The last 5.5 kilometers winds through eucalypt forest and rainforest. There are a number of creek crossings which are tidal. Although we didn’t have any trouble crossing it would be wise to carry a tide chart to try and cross at low tide . The campsite is at Zoe Bay and once we had set up camp we walked up to Zoe Falls to get freshwater and swim in the crystal clear pool at the base of Zoe Falls.


Day 3:  Zoe Bay to Mulligan Falls. This involves a walk of about 4.5 hours and once again there is climbing and descending involved. As you leave Zoe Bay the trail takes you up the side of Zoe Falls to the top of the waterfall which provides some some spectacular views of Zoe Bay. There is a campsite at Mulligan Falls and once again a nice rock pool at the base of the waterfall for swimming and freshwater.

Day 4:  This is a short 2 hour walk along the beach to George Point for the ferry ride back to the mainland. There is a creek to cross which must be crossed at low tide. However the ferry picked us up at low tide so crossing the creek wasn’t a problem.  There were quite a lot of march flies and mosquitoes on the walk so some sort of insect repellent is needed to keep them away. There are also bush rats at all the campsites which will eat any food that you have. There are metal boxes to place your food in overnight however we carried some rope to hang up the packs at night .We took 2 empty plastic bottles with a hole in the bottom to thread on either end of the rope so that the rats cannot walk along the rope to get to the packs. We carried about 3 liters of water and took every opportunity to top this up along the way while we explored Hinchinbrook island.  The Thorsborne Trail in Hinchinbrook has some excellent scenery and is highly recommended.  Hinchinbrook is a spectacular place with amazing scenery, breathtaking views and crystal clear waters. Hinchinbrook should definitely be put on your list of places to visit and included in your best hikes to do list.