Situated off the coast of Cardwell in northern Queensland, Hinchinbrook Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and is Australia’s largest island national park. With the 32-kilometre Thorsborne Trail winding through this unspoiled wilderness, it’s also a bushwalker’s paradise. Here are a few pics of a truly awesome hike!
The approach to Hinchinbrook Island is awe-inspiring … towering granite peaks rise dramatically from the deep blue waters of Missionary Bay.
Our boat makes its way through narrow channels of tangled mangroves. Dense forests dominate the lower slopes of the mountains on the island.
We begin our hike at Ramsay Bay, walking along a stunning stretch of sparkling white sand before heading inland to traverse a low ridge.
We spend our first night at Little Ramsay Bay. At dusk, Mt Bowen reflects in the waters of this picturesque lagoon.
Our second day of hiking is strenuous as we encounter creeks, rivers and marshlands. But the reward is magically diverse scenery, including beaches, dry open woodlands and rainforest.
At times I feel we are walking in an enchanted world. There’s a tiny blue pond – nature’s sapphire gemstone – encircled by the roots of several ancient trees.
The trail traverses a series of swamps and for a short while we succeed in skirting the edges, stepping gingerly on soft ground. But it’s only a matter of time before we sink into the muddy bog and it’s a struggle to reach solid ground.
Light filters through dense canopy, falling on twisted tree roots and tangled undergrowth. The dark still waters of the swamp are dappled with colourful leaves.
Just beyond the campground, where we spend our second night, is picturesque Zoe Falls. We swim in deliciously cool waters and bask in the sunshine. It’s an easy decision to spend our rest day here surrounded by natural beauty.
The view at the top of Zoe Falls. I think I could stay on this island forever.
The Thorsborne Trail is named for the late Arthur Thorsborne who, along with wife Margaret, had a lifelong interest in nature conservation. The island has been protected since 1932 and only 40 people per day are permitted to hike.
At our third and final camping spot, we spend the late afternoon swimming at the beautiful Mulligan Falls.
The final stretch of beach … I glance back at the mist-enshrouded mountains, feeling fortunate to have experienced Hinchinbrook’s beauty.
On your travels, have you ever discovered a place that is so magical that you wish time would stand still? Or that you could stay forever? Hinchinbrook is that place for me.