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Hinchinbrook Island

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Orchid Beach

Hinchinbrook Island is in northern Queensland, Australia.

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hinchinbrook island Travel Guide :

Hinchinbrook Island

Understand

Map of Hinchinbrook IslandMap of Hinchinbrook Island
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Map of Hinchinbrook Island

Separated from the mainland by the narrow Hinchinbrook Channel, the entire island is zoned as a National Park. Access to the park is strictly limited and, when much of Queensland teems with tourists, here you can truly experience untouched nature.

The high season of the island is during the Australian winter (May-October), when the weather is cool and pleasant. Services in the low season are limited and both ferries and the island's sole resort stop operating in the February-March cyclone season.

Hinchinbrook Island

Get in

The only regular means of access to the island is Hinchinbrook Island Ferries 1 (http://www.hinchinbrookferries.com.au/) from CardwellCardwell on mainland, 2 hours south of Cairns. Boats leave at 9 AM and return at 5 PM, daily in the high season (May-Oct), three times weekly in the low season (Nov-Apr). A day cruise or overnight return is $85, one-way transfers to the northern start of the Thorsborne Trail are $59. Pickups from the southern endpoint can also be arranged, call 07 4777 8307 for details.

Hinchinbrook Island

Get around

The only means of transport on the island are the ferry and on foot.

Hinchinbrook Island

See

The beaches of Hinchinbrook Island are, in a word, spectacular. All located on the eastern side, starting from north the most commonly visited are:

  • Orchid Beach. Next to the PI Resort and effectively its own private beach.
  • North Shepherd Beach. A half-hour walk from the Resort, a gloriously empty 2-kilometer stretch of beach. Spot the countless tiny ghost crabs skittering about on the sand.
  • South Shepherd Beach. Two hours hike south of North Shepherd. Very remote, you are almost certain to have this all to yourself.
  • Ramsay Beach. Sweeping black sand beach and the northern starting point of the Thorsborne Trail.

Missionary Bay, on the northwestern side of the island, contains a large mangrove swamp famous for its dugongs (sea cows) and infamous for its crocodiles, although you'll have to be quite lucky to spot either one.

  • At one point in the mangroves (visited by the ferry), a 60-meter boardwalk has been constructed, which leads to a 200-meter path to Ramsay Beach.
Hinchinbrook Island

Do

The Thorsborne Trail is a 32-kilometer trail that winds the length of Hinchinbrook Island from Ramsay Bay in the north to George Point in the south. Most hikers complete the course in 4 days (3 nights), although this depends on experience and weather conditions. There are no facilities on route (although drinking water can usually be taken from mountain streams) and hikers must be completely self-contained, including food, fuel stoves (open fire not allowed) and camping equipment.

A permit is required and must be reserved well in advance in high season, as a maximum of 40 people are allowed on the trail simultaneously. Contact the Queensland Department of Environment Rainforest and Reef Centre in CardwellCardwell, tel. 07 4066 8601 or online (https://www.epa.qld.gov.au/parks/iaparks/gds/IAGDS020.do?parkId=211). You must also arrange to be picked up from George Point in advance, as there is no scheduled service.

Note that the permit covers only the Thorsborne Trail. Special permits are required for other destinations, particularly Mt. Bowen (1142m).

In addition to trekking, fishing is popular at a number of sites in and around the park. Snorkelling and even scuba diving are also possible, but visibility tends to be comparatively poor.

Hinchinbrook Island

Buy

There are no shops in the island. Some basic necessities are available for sale at the PI Resort.

Hinchinbrook Island

Eat & Drink

  • The PI Resort's restaurant is open to non-residents as well. Given the location and lack of competition, the food is surprisingly good, with large portions $25 and up.
Hinchinbrook Island

Sleep

Hinchinbrook Island

Budget

Most visitors' means of accommodation is camping. In addition to the basic campsites along the Thorsborne Trail, there are three popular campsites outside the trail:

  • Macushla, south of the resort and within easy striking distance of the Shepherd Beaches. The best facilities on the island, including toilets, gas barbecue, picnic tables and water (not drinkable).
  • Goold Island. Small island to the north of Hinchinbook. Fully equipped campsite on a long, sheltered beach. There is no water supply, so bring your own.
  • Garden Island. Very small island to the north of Hinchinbrook. Outside the National Park, so no permits required.

Note that both Macushla and Goold Island require permits, obtainable in Cardwell or online (https://www.epa.qld.gov.au/parks/iaparks/gds/IAGDS020.do?parkId=82).

Hinchinbrook Island

Splurge

  • Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge & Resort. Tel. 07 4066 8270, 2 (http://www.hinchinbrookresort.com.au/). The only permanent lodging on the island, located at Cape Richards at the northernmost tip and equipped with pool, restaurant and a beach nearby. Two types of stay are offered:
    • Treehouses in the rainforest, connected by a boardwalk. Simply but sufficiently equipped, with TV and telephone intentionally omitted to ensure an escape from the Real World. Rates start at $305 per person, including all meals, transfers to Cardwell and day trips around the island.
    • Beach cabins. Older and sparsely equipped, but basic kitchen facilities available. Rates $165 per night for up to 4 people, $20/person extra for more. Linen included, but no meals or cleaning.
Hinchinbrook Island

Get out

Hinchinbrook Island

External links

  • Hinchinbrook Region North Queensland, 3 (http://www.hinchinbrooknq.com.au/default.htm).

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