Hinchinbrook Island National Park Tropical North Queensland

Take the South Shepherd Bay track to the often-deserted South Shepherd Bay. Photo credit: Emma Schmidt © Queensland Government

The rugged beauty of Hinchinbrook Island National Park must be seen to be believed! Photo credit: Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Queensland

South Shepherd Bay track

Take in stunning ocean and mountain vistas, cool rainforest and island wildlife on this moderate cross-island walk.

Journey type
7.6km return Start and finish points are the same and the traveller must return via the same path
Time suggested
Allow 2–3hrs return.
Moderate (walk)

Accessible by

  • Boat

Journey facilities

  • Walking

Lace up your walking boots and head out from the North Macushla camping area to South Shepherd Bay.

Wander through the rainforests of the Kirkville Hills and listen to the cacophony of bird calls in the canopy, and the rustle of skinks in the leaf litter. Before you know it, you’ll emerge onto beautiful South Shepherd Bay beach.

Settle into the shade on the golden sand. See if you can spot dugong feeding offshore, and watch beach stone-curlews patrol the tideline. When you’re fully rested, head back the way you came… don’t be tempted to tackle the headland on the way home.

This island park is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, famed for its superlative natural beauty, outstanding examples of reef ecosystem development, evolutionary history and amazing diversity.

Getting there and getting around

South Shepherd Bay track is in Hinchinbrook Island National Park, 8km off the Queensland coast at Cardwell.

  • The track starts in the North Macushla camping area, in the north of Hinchinbrook Island, and can be accessed by private vessel launched from Cardwell or Lucinda.

Private vessel

  • Visitors accessing the island by private vessel should obtain a copy of the Hinchinbrook Marine Wonders brochure (PDF, 3.36MB) for information on transit lanes and boat speeds to aid dugong and turtle conservation.
  • Access to some areas of Hinchinbrook Island is weather and tide dependent and a good knowledge of the waters and potential hazards is essential.
  • Check local tide tables and weather conditions at the Bureau of Meteorology before you set out.
  • Read boat and fish with care for tips on boating and fishing safety and caring for parks.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

South Shepherd Bay track is open 24 hours a day.

Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Hinchinbrook Island safely and Walk with care.

  • There are currently no park alerts for this park.