Awesome hikes: Hinchinbrook Island

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.


7 thoughts on “Awesome hikes: Hinchinbrook Island

  1. Lovely photos Karen. It’s a coincidence for me to read this post today, as just yesterday I was reading about Hinchinbrook Island, in the context of frogs! Apparently a species of frog in far north Queensland has turned out to be three separate species, one of which is unique to Hinchinbrook Island. So, from knowing nothing about the island two days ago, I suddenly want to go there!

    • Thanks Suzi! We did see some BIG frogs on the hike… actually they looked a bit frightening at night time. As did the gigantic spider I spotted in the outhouse!

      If you get a chance you must go… it really is awesome!

  2. I’m intrigued now about the place especially when I read your comment that it is the place in the world where you wish time would stand still for you – because I know how many amazing places you’ve been, so this place must be extra special! The photos are just incredible – maybe you should approach their tourism people and offer to sell some 🙂

    • Thanks Danielle. I think it was because we had Zoe Falls all to ourselves for an entire a day – and because we had to work hard to get there (hiking and carrying all our supplies). The reward was this tiny piece of paradise and I just wish we could’ve stayed a bit longer.

  3. Pingback: Memorable travel moments: Hinchinbrook Island | kgrahamjourneys

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