Hinchinbrook Island is a rugged, outstanding feature of the north Queensland coast between Townsville and Cairns. Its cloud-covered mountains, reaching 1,000 metres, support fragile heath vegetation. Patches of lush rainforest and extensive eucalypt forest descend to a mangrove-fringed channel in the west with sweeping bays and rocky headlands along the east coast. Protected since 1932, Hinchinbrook is one of Australia's largest island national parks (39,900 ha). The island is within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and is separated from the mainland by the scenic Hinchinbrook Channel.... more
The 32 kilometre Thorsborne Trail, along Hinchinbrook Island's east coast, is named after the late Arthur Thorsborne. Arthur and his wife, Margaret, shared a lifelong interest in nature conservation that included monitoring pied (Torresian) imperial-pigeons Ducula bicolor, which migrate to nest on local islands in summer. The trail is not a graded or hardened walking track and, in some areas, is rough and difficult to traverse. It should only be undertaken by fit and experienced walkers who are fully self-sufficient. The trail is managed under the minimal impact bushwalking and no-trace camping ethics. To help minimise impact and to maintain the wilderness setting, permits are issued for a maximum of 40 people on the trail at any one time. The largest group size is six.It is recommended, prior to hiking the trail, that all hikers obtain a copy of the QPWS Thorsborne Trail trail guide.
It is imperative that hiking details are left with a responsible contact person. This will assist in the event of an emergency situation or when hikers are overdue. The contact person must know:
1.how hikers are accessing the island e.g. private vessel or water taxi
2.the planned route
3.when hikers are due to return
4.the agreed time period after which the contact person will need to contact emergency services.
5.to phone Triple Zero (000) or 112 in an emergency or if hikers do not return within agreed time period.
If no longer hiking the trail, ensure to cancel bookings by contacting them. Information on cancellations assists in emergencies such as cyclones and wildfires.... less
The Thorsborne Trail is for experienced walkers, as it is not a graded or hardened walking track. In some areas it is rough and difficult to traverse. Walkers will need to carry a pack along this trail and be well prepared for bush camping.
The Thorsborne Trail is managed under the 'minimal impact bushwalking ' ethic and 'no-trace camping'. Campfires are not allowed. Campsites and toilets are provided. For your safety, complete the log books at the Nina Bay, Little Ramsay Bay, Zoe Bay and Mulligan Falls campgrounds. Take a topographic map and compass.
During the warmer months, stinging jellyfish may be present in the waters around Hinchinbrook Island. Use insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to avoid insect bites. Estuarine crocodiles live in the surrounding channel and estuarine waters. Be croc-wise.
To help minimise impact and to maintain the wilderness setting, permits are isssued for a maximum of 40 people on the trail at any time and the largest group size is six. Booking well in advance is essential.
The trail is marked by yellow trail markers (south-north direction), and orange trail markers (north-south direction). Rock cairns are also used in areas where trail markers are absent.
Refer to the Thorsborne Trail Guide for more detail.
April to September are the best months for hiking the trail. This period avoids the very wet and the very dry.
How To Get There
Access to the Thorsborne Trail is either by private vessel, launched from Cardwell or Lucinda (Dungeness), or by the water taxi services. Services vary according to demand, tide levels and time of year, and bookings are essential prior to obtaining camping permits.
To book transfers to the northern end of the Thorsborne Trail contact Rainforest and Reef Information Centre. To book transfers to the southern end of the Trail contact Hinchinbrook Wilderness Safaris.
Hikers accessing the island by private vessel should obtain a copy of the Marine wonders of Hinchinbrook: a guide to using the Hinchinbrook transit lanes brochure produced by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Camping fees apply.
Daytime temperatures and humidity can be high at any time of the year and nights can be very cool. Please carry clothing that is suitable for all temperature extremes. Heavy rain can fall at any time of the year, causing creek levels to rise and fall rapidly. Conditions may improve after a short wait. Crossing creeks requires extreme care, particularly at Zoe and Diamantina creeks. April to September are the best months for hiking. This period avoids the times of year that are very wet or very dry.
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