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Hinchinbrook Island

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Hinchinbrook Island

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Orchid Beach

Hinchinbrook Island National Park is in North Queensland, Australia. The continental island massif is east of Cardwell on the tropical Cassowary Coast. Lucinda via Ingham in the Hinchinbrook Shire provides southern access to Hinchinbrook Channel and Hinchinbrook Island.


Map of Hinchinbrook Island

The Traditional Owners, the Bandjin People retain their cultural connections to Hinchinbrook Island.

Hinchinbrook Island is separated from the mainland by Hinchinbrook Channel. Island access is regulated. Here you can experience Australian wilderness, "the nature of North Queensland at its best."

The northeastern Queensland winter is the Tourist high season May - October. The pleasant tropical climate is warm to cool. The wet Monsoon Cyclone season is the low time of year. During this time Ferry Services are limited and/or ceased.

=Get in[edit]

So much has changed since September 2016 pertaining to HINCHINBROOK Island transfers. There are now two operators to HINCHINBROOK island, Absolute North Charters is based in Lucinda and transfers all by boat to the Northern end of the trail through the HINCHINBROOK channel. They then pick you up at George point and transfer you to Lucinda at the southern end at the southern end of the hike. This does away with needing to catch a shuttle bus back to Cardwell after you finish the hike in the south at George point. It gets you back to your car much more quickly as the transfer back to Lucinda from the island is only 10 minutes and you don't have to pay for a bus shuttle back to Cardwell. It saves time,and removes the need to book all your transfers individually. Now you can go to one website and book all of your transfers from Lucinda to the Northern end of the trail and your return transfer back to Lucinda and your car. And it's cheaper! HINCHINBROOK resorts do bus shuttle transfers from and to Townsville airport. Lucinda is the best option to leave from because it's the closest return transfer point to the island which is really great at the back end of the hike when you want a beer and a meal, not to mention a shower.

Get around[edit]

The only means of transport on the island are the ferry, on foot and by sea kayak. The only two kayak operators licensed to operate on the island are:

See[edit][add listing]

Mangrove trees in Turtle Bay

Hinchinbrook Island Beaches are isolated and spectacular, located on the eastern side of the island. Starting from the northeastern tip of the island the most commonly visited beaches are:-

  • Orchid Beach - Private and secluded, adjacent Cape Richard. This is the site for the old Resort, which was damaged during Cyclone Yasi and a fire in 2015.
  • North Shepherd Beach - 0.5 hours from Cape Richard. 2.0 kilometre beach teeming with tiny Ghost Crabs.
  • South Shepherd Beach - 2.0 hour hike from North Shepherd Beach, very remote and private.
  • Ramsay Beach - Black sand beach. Northern Thorsborne Trail head, world renowned multi day camping and walking track.

Cape Richards is the eastern most northern tip of Hinchinbrook Island. From the Lookout view scenes of Goold Island, ocean settings and Orchid Beach. Mangroves can also be viewed at Turtle Bay. A short trail walk from the now closed Hinchinbrook Island Resort.

Missionary Bay at the northern end of Hinchinbrook Island is rimmed with mangroves. Spotting Dugongs and Saltwater Crocodiles is popular, "Good Luck!" The Hinchinbrook Island Ferry visits Missionary Bay. The day trip includes observing mangrove habitat via a crafted 60 metre Boardwalk. From the Boardwalk a 200 metre trail connects with Ramsay Beach.

Do[edit][add listing]

The 32 kilometre Hinchinbrook Island Thorsborne Trail shadows the eastern coastline. From Ramsay Bay in the north to George Point in the south. As a guide Hikers plan four(4) days and three(3) nights. There are "no" facilities on the island. Drinking water must be carried, rainwater and creeks are potential seasonal freshwater sources. Hikers must be self-sufficient i.e. Safety Gear, Camping Equipment, Drinking Water, Food, Heating Fuel, Cooking & Eating Utensils, Weatherproof Outdoor Apparel, Sturdy Footwear etc. Open fires are not permitted on Hinchinbrook Island.

Access to Hinchinbrook Islands Thorsborne Trail requires a Permit. Reservations are advised months in advance during the high season. Regulations only permit a maximum of 40 persons on the trail at any given time. Contact the Cardwell Rainforest and Reef Visitor Information Centre (Tel. 07 4066 8601) or go to the EPA Online. Ferry transfers must be arranged in advance. There are no scheduled transfer services for Drop off's/Pick ups at George Point. Make sea transport arrangements in advance.

Note Permits are issued for specified purposes only e.g. the Thorsborne Trail Walk. Additional "Permit(s)" are required for e.g. the Mt. Bowen summit trek 1121m ASL.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan identifies the types of marine activities appropriate for Hinchinbrook Channel and Island. Fishing is popular at sites surrounding Hinchinbrook and Goold Island National Parks. Snorkelling, Spearfishing and Scuba Diving are also possible. Seek more detailed information.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Cardwell retail outlets provide e.g. Personal Hygene and Bodycare Products, Food Stuffs, Dining, Camping Accessories, Fishing Gear etc. There are no retail stores on Hinchinbrook Island.

Eat & Drink[edit]

  • There are no facilities on the island.

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Day Trips - Port Hinchinbrook or Cardwell.


The campsite at Macushla
  • Hinchinbrook Island Camping - campsites along the Thorsborne Trail.
  • Macushla south of the Cape Richards Resort, permit required. In proximity to the Shepherd Beaches. Facilities include Toilets, Gas barbecue, Picnic Tables and non drikable Water.
  • The Haven, western side of Hinchinbrook Island, permit required.
  • Goold Island north of Hinchinbook Island, permit required. Long sheltered beach, campsite, no water supply.
  • Garden Island west of Goold Island, no permits required.

Note: Obtain Permits at Cardwell Rainforest and Reef Visitor Information Centre or EPA Online.

Stay safe[edit]

Saltwater Crocodile habitat exists on the western side of Hinchinbrook Island. Eastern Hinchinbrook Island is generally considered safe. Saltwater Crocodiles are known to frequent the estuary at Zoe Bay. For overnight campsites, stay at least 50 metres from the waters edge. Secure food and store rubbish.

Goannas are very common on Hinchinbrook Island, up to 2.0 meters long. They are harmless and avoid being approached.

Ensure telecommunication device(s) are stored securely and in good serviceable condition. PLB Hire is available, contact the Cardwell Rainforest and Reef Visitor Information Centre, Ph. +61 7 4066 8601.Create category

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