Thorsborne Trail - Hinchinbrook Island - Far North Queensland

One of the world's best hikes?
A wilderness hiking experience?
Fantastic swimming and beautiful scenery ?
A tropical hiking paradise?

The Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island has it all, and much more.

The Thorsborne Trail came to our attention in a book called "The World's Great Adventure Treks", edited by Jack Jackson. This book is a compilation of treks from across the world that meet 9 specific criteria. They include having very little infrastructure, at least five days duration, be mainly traversed by locals, pass through remarkable terrain, challenging in terms of fitness (both physical and/or psychological), not too technical and have an element of risk! There are only 20 treks in the book and the Thorsborne Trail is the ONLY one in Australia. Once we read this, we knew we had to complete the walk!

Hinchinbrook Island is midway between Cairns and Townsville. The official blurb is here. You can read about the history and geography of the Island and some detail on the walk.

Planning the Walk
We were lucky as Ken, Franks brother and his son Vincent were keen to come on the walk. They live in Cairns, so transport to the start was easy. Public transport is available.

It was recommended to us by a local, who has completed the walk 4 times, to travel from South to North. This meant starting at Lucinda and taking a boat trip to the start. This great little earner is through Hinchinbrook Wilderness Safaris . Costly for the duration of the trip but it seems the only way to get there! Below if a picture from the boat looking at Hinchinbrook Island. It was a beautiful trip and the sea was very calm.

We had left the car at Cardwell for easy collection at the end of the walk. The transfer from Cardwell to Lucinda was with Ingham Travel 07 4776 5666, at $25 per person (no matter what age!!) It is about a 1 hour trip.

At the end of the Trail you must arrange for Hinchinbrook Ferries to pick you up and transfer you back to Cardwell. A good reason for doing the hike in this direction was that the Ferry (it is a large catamaran) stops at the Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge for several hours where you can shower, have lunch and a swim before the return trip to Cardwell. Unfortunately for us, the island was closed due to the filming of a movie that is to star Jodie Foster. We were not even allowed to leave the boat and have a look around which was disappointing.


We took our standard hiking gear but left out all our warm stuff except a light top to put on in the evening. The temperature was around 30 degrees each day and in many areas we were exposed to open sunlight which was very hot. Most of us wore long sleeved shirts to protect ourselves from the sun and, as they were quick dry, the sweat evaporated much more quickly than cotton T-shirts.

We also wore lightweight hiking shoes which we felt was a mistake. The track was a lot rougher than we expected and the beach walking a lot shorter. Next time we would wear our normal hiking boots. Frank also accidently left our walking poles in Cairns so they were missed.

We took basically the same type of food we have listed elsewhere on "Our Hiking Blog". Probably the only things we would change would be taking block cheese instead of slices (the slices went greasy and fused together)

The evening meals were:
- Fresh, good quality hamburgers in rolls with coleslaw. They were vac-packed and frozen in Cairns.
- Clare's Vegetable Curry (with diced smoked chicken breasts added for the meat eaters)
- Tuna casserole - the recipe is here
- Pasta with bottled tomato based sauce.

Bugs - important

There are a LOT of bugs and things on Hinchinbrook that can create distress to those susceptable to bites. Some of us were attacked with a vengence and it had the potential to ruin the trip.

Sandflies and Mozzies

- We tried 30% Dettol and 70% Baby Oil - this theoretically stops the sandflies sting and keeps the mozzies away. Reasonably successful but you have to remember to keep applying it, especially after a swim.

- Bushmans DEET Tropical rub on and spray - Ok but stinks

- Physical barrier - some Queenslanders we met wore socks, long loose fitting pants and long sleeved shirts ALL tucked in after they had stopped walking. We took up this look and it was successful, combined with insect repellant for your face and hands.

March (Horse ) Flies
There were small, blue backed, dumb but determined March flies that seemed to resist any sort of insecticide and layers of clothing in their determination to bite us! They were easily killed by hand as they were slow, but if you were not concentrating they bit you before you were aware they were there!

We also took a small can of fly spray to kill anything in our tent before we went to bed. This was successful but probably over the top!!

Natalie and Josh, a couple we met on the track who had done the walk several times, took Mozzie Coils and , I think, Citronella Candles to burn around their camp site. They were kind enough to give us a couple of coils on the last night and they were successful in keeping the mozzie population down.

Maps and Tracknotes

We used the Hillock Point 1:50,000 (ref 8161-II) and the very general map off the Parks Website.

There are also very good track notes on the website we took and used as a good reference regarding travel times and site facilities.

Related Posts
Thorsborne Trail – Hinchinbrook Island - prelude
Planning for the Thorsborne Trail
Thorsborne Trail - Planning the walk
Thorsborne Trail - George Point to Sunken Island Reef
Thorsborne Trail - Sunken Island Reef - Zoe Bay
Thorsborne Trail - Zoe Bay to Little Ramsay Bay
Thorsborne Trail - Little Ramsay Bay - Nina Bay
Thorsborne Trail - Nina Bay - Ferry
Thorsborne Trail- Some great pictures of the wonderful scenery

1 comment:

Liz Welch said...

Really enjoyed the Hike.One of the lesser known adventure trails.This is a good read
Liz Welch