Hinchinbrook Island is my happy place. It’s the perfect remote tropical island to live a lost-in-Paradise experience off the coast of Queensland, Australia. I was up for the adventure and packed my bag to walk the breath-taking Thorsborne Wilderness Trail. Here is why this is the best bushwalk to go walkabout.
Hinchinbrook Island is a hidden gem in a unique biogeographical region within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Thanks to strong conservation efforts the island has kept its wilderness: lush rainforest and cloud-covered mountains,
beautiful sandy beaches and bays,
and fantastic croc-free water holes to swim in, like Zoe Falls plunge or Mulligan Falls.
The Thorsborne Trail is 32km long and leads you along the eastern cost of Hinchinbrook Island from Ramsey Bay to George Point. The trail is recommended for experienced bush walkers and only allows for 40 people to walk the trail at any one time. This is fantastic to escape the crowds.
I guess every paradise has its challenges: unfortunately saltwater crocodiles inhabit the area, especially along the western coast. I spotted one from the ferry to the island (and it sure wasn’t a log-adile!).
At the first camping area at Little Ramsey Bay we found an old crocodile nest and later a group of hikers walking in the opposite direction told us that a small salty had been sighted right there the night before. You may even see crocodile warnings where the trail crosses streams.
Personally, the worst part was one particular crossing at Mulligan Bay. The water was about hip deep with the tide coming in; and with at least 20m of murky water to cross; and there were plenty of mangroves (croc’s favourite habitat) about 200m inland along the tidal stream. We watched for a while and saw other hikers crossing it before we ventured across. The thought that people have been crossing it for over 20 years without any crocodile attacks wasn’t too comforting… crocodile numbers have increased as a protected species – they have basically multiplied!
- Make sure you check tide schedules and read up on the latest safety warnings on the official website.
- Be croc wise and read up on camping in croc country if it’s a first for you. Make sure you camp at least 50m away from the water… the further the better. When working in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, I was always told to keep at least 10m away from the edge of the water – well, that’s not always possible on the track, especially when it comes to crossing it.
- Camping is only allowed in designated areas and no fires are allowed. Apparently mice are known to eat through tent walls, so use the metal food storage boxes provided to avoid any surprises.
- You won’t see many people; possibly less than 10 all day long. Since I intended to hike by myself I took an EPRIB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which can be rented at the Registration Office) with me but in the end I ended up hiking together with another solo hiker.
Would you like to experience Hinchinbrook Island?
Inspired by Happy Place photo challenge.