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Hinchinbrook Island

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Hinchinbrook Island

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Cyclone Yasi - recovery
Hinchinbrook and its main service port of Cardwell took a direct hit from Cyclone Yasi in February 2011, and it will take quite a while until things are back to normal.

Orchid Beach

Hinchinbrook Island National Park is located 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. Hinchinbrook Islands Cape Richards Resort closes operations February - March.

Get in

Cardwell is a 2.5 hour scenic drive south of Cairns. The Port Hinchinbrook Marina provides mainland access to Hinchinbrook Channel and Hinchinbrook Island. Regular scheduled ferry services are operated by Hinchinbrook Island Ferries. During the high season (May - Oct) the Hinchinbrook Explorer catamaran departs daily, leaving the Marina at 9:00AM. During the low season (Nov - Apr) departures are three times per week. A Hinchinbrook Island day trip cruise is $90/person. One-way ferry transfers to the northern Thorsborne Trail head is $66/person.

Southern Thorsborne Trail head access to Hinchinbrook Island is via Lucinda. Townsville is a 2.0 hour road trip south of Cardwell. Ingham Travel provides public road transport between Townsville - Ingham - Lucinda and Cardwell, call +61 7 4776 5666.

Southern Hinchinbrook Channel and Island drop offs/pick ups from Lucinda can be arranged. Contact Hinchinbrook Wilderness Safaris, call +61 7 4777 8307 for details.

Get around

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:


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 the Hinchinbrook Island Resort.
  • North Shepherd Beach - 0.5 hours from the Hinchinbrook Island Resort. 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 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.


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 other than the Cape Richards Resort. 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.


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. The Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge stocks basic necessities.

Eat & Drink

  • The Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge Restaurant is open to Resort Guests, Day Trip Guests & Hikers.



  • Day Trips - Port Hinchinbrook or Cardwell.
  • Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge at Cape Richards.


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.


Cape Richards Resort Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge, Tel. 07 4066 8270. The only Lodging on Hinchinbrook Island with Restaurant and Pool. Closed February - March.

  • Rainforest Tree Houses - Comfortable lodging, TV and Telephone intentionally omitted, "Escape to the Real World."
  • Beach Cabins - Seasoned dwellings, sparsely equipped with basic kitchen facilities.

Stay safe

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.

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