Hinchinbrook Island – Unspoiled tropical wilderness

Hinchinbrook Island – Unspoiled tropical wilderness

Some islands immediately attracted me upon first sight. Sometimes on a picture, or by actually seeing their intriguing shapes on the horizon. One of those is Hinchinbrook Island, just off the coast of North Queensland in Australia.

Hinchinbrook Island features rugged mountains covered in lush jungle vegetation, broad sweeping beaches and meandering estuaries. Unspoiled wilderness that can only be explored on foot. It’s pure bliss! & definitely triggers a Natural High.

And of course, a Wilderness Coffee has to be part of the essential survival gear… 😉

Enjoying a Wilderness Coffee at Mulligan Falls. Hinchinbrook Island, Queensland, Australia.
Wilderness Coffee @ Mulligan Falls, Hinchinbrook Island.

Queensland wilderness island

Hinchinbrook Island looks deceivingly close to the coast. It’s almost attached to the Australian mainland between Lucinda and Cardwell. But the island itself is largely inaccessible. Big saltwater crocodiles live in the maze of mangroves and estuaries on the west coast and on both sides of the narrow Hinchinbrook Channel, that seperates the island from the Queensland coast. In the interior, huge granite mountains rise up dramatically.

The mountains on Hinchinbrook Island actually stand out taller than most other peaks on the surrounding mainlaind. The highest one is Mount Bowen, with an altitude of 1121 metres.

View to the southern side of Hinchinbrook Island from Lucinda, Queensland, Australia.
Approaching the southern side of Hinchinbrook Island from Lucinda, across on the main land.

The Thorsborne Trail

The only accessible places are along the east coast, where the 32 kilometre Thorsborne Trail follows a chain of secluded bays and sandy beaches. This hiking route meanders through thick tropical jungle with tangled trees and several swimming holes, with waterfalls tumbling down rocky outcrops.

The Thorsborne Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes in the world.

Mulligan Bay on the southern part of the Thorsborne trail. Hinchinbrook Island, Queensland, Australia.
Mulligan Bay, on the southern part of the Thorsborne trail.

How to get to Hinchinbrook Island

On Hinchinbrook Island there is no infrastructure, except for the track itself, and a few nature campsites with basic facilities along the route. Ferry services run from Cardwell and Lucinda to both ends of the track during the dry season from May to October.

There is a strict limit of the number of people allowed on the track at any one time, and you have to obtain camping permits in advance during the high season.

North Queensland wet season

By the end of November, when the wet season is about to set off in northern Queensland, the regular ferry services stop going. Fortunately, the Cardwell Visitor Information Centre helped me to arrange a daytrip with a boat operator from Lucinda. So I could still do a part of the track: the southern section from Mulligan Falls to George Point.

I will have to come back and do the full Thorsborne Trail some day!

Hinchinbrook Island coastline, Queensland, Australia.
The pristine coastline of Hinchinbrook Island.

Thorsborne Trail hike summary

South to north

George Point to Mulligan Falls: 7,5 kilometres / 3 hours.
Mulligan Falls to Zoe Bay: 7,5 kilometres / 4,5 hours.
Zoe Bay to Little Ramsay Bay: 10,5 kilometres / 6 hours.
Little Ramsay Bay to Nina Bay and Ramsay Beach: 6,5 kilometres / 5 hours.

Hinchinbrook Island map

This handy interactive map shows the locations in the pictures above, as well as the Thorsborne Trail route. You can also zoom in for more details of Hinchinbrook Island.

Remote Islands – Hinchinbrook Island, Australia

This article was originally published as a NaturePic Challenge: pictures of epic nature with a specific theme, and places that will trigger a natural high.

@ Have you done the Thorsborne Trail? How was your experience? Let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you! Your questions, comments and suggestions can also be helpful for other readers. Thank you for sharing.

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Pristine beaches and mountains along the Thorsborne trail. Mulligan Bay, Hinchinbrook Island, Queensland, Australia.
Golden beaches and lush mountains looming beyond the thick jungle.

More to explore & discover

The opal fields of Lightning Ridge – The mesmerizing draw of luminous stone

The Hazards – Scrambling up to prehistorical views

Aurora Solaris – The sunset version of northern lights

The zen of Stafsnes – The hidden beach

Flower Art – Australian flowers & bushnuts

© All photos and content on this website are my own, and subject to copyright (unless credited otherwise). Please contact me if you want to use a photo or quote a text from one of my articles. You’re welcome to share a link to my blog articles and photos on social media, with a tag and mention to Wilderness Coffee & Natural High.

First published: 4 February 2017

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