Hinchinbrook Island // Get Lost in Paradise (QLD)


  • Spectacular views
  • Deserted Beaches
  • Pristine waterholes
  • All of the above all to yourself

The Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island is one of our favourite hikes in Far North Queensland. It is very remote and the number of people on the island at any one time is extremely limited.

This is why you get kilometre long beaches and pristine waterholes all to yourself.

Each person requires a camping permit and ferry transfer so it is essential to book both well in advance to secure places on all camp sites. Plan a minimum of 3 nights and four days and make sure the backpacks are not too heavy.

The best time of the year is around August/September with good weather and the least mosquitoes and march flies. This was the second time we’ve hiked the island and two of us actually tried to climb Mt. Bowen which is over 1100m high. This could be a little side adventure if you an experienced bush walker and if you have enough time to add an extra day. We couldn’t make it this time because this year’s late rains made the rocks just too slippery and dangerous.

The ferry to the island leaves from Cardwell and takes about an hour. It lands on the east side of the island where the trail starts at Ramsay Bay. From there the trail follows the east coast of the island along beaches and headlands and has camp sites all along. There are plenty of water points where bottles can be refilled out of creeks. It might be wise to treat the water but we usually don’t worry about it because the water from the creeks comes straight from the mountains and is crystal clear. The camp sites all have metal boxes for the food because of the native rats that chew into everything that even remotely smells like food. Make sure to take all the food out of your backpacks and put it into these boxes.

We did go swimming in the ocean but be aware that there are crocodiles all around the island.

The views from the lookout points are incredible and the landscape is magnificent. It is very different to the rest of the region and you won’t see power lines, cars, roads or any trace of civilisation, a true paradise lost…

Essential gear required

  • Hammock with weather protection or Tent and sleeping gear
  • Head torch
  • First Aid Kit
  • Emergency beacon (if available)
  • Hiking sandals or boots
  • Cooking gear
  • Food for three to four days (preferably light weight)
  • Machete (for opening coconuts)

How to get there

Check online for the ferry transport and book in advance.



Find your way to Cardwell in Far North Queensland and take the pre-booked ferry to the island. Contact the ferry operators and arrange transport back to Cardwell from southern point of the Island.

The trail can be done in both directions but we recommend starting in the north and finishing in the south because of the layout of the trail.


  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Photography
  • Boulder hopping adventures along rainforest creeks
  • Coconut eating

Skill Level


The distances between the camp sites are well spaced and manageable. The biggest challenge is carrying a backpack with camping gear and food for several days. Pack wisely and bring light weight equipment and food.

Distance covered / Elevation Gain

The Thorsborne Trail is about 32km long.

It undulates between sea level and about 100m.