Hinchinbrook Island National Park Tropical North Queensland

Discover the incredible beauty of Hinchinbrook Island on the 32km Thorsborne Trail. 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

Thorsborne Trail

Embrace the wilderness on this renowned multi-day trail that explores sweeping bays, deserted beaches, heath-cloaked peaks and majestic waterfalls.

Journey type
32km one way A path where the start point is different to the finish point
Time suggested
Allow 4 days walking time.
Difficult (walk)

Accessible by

  • Boat

Journey facilities

  • Lookout (natural)
  • Toilets (non-flush)
  • Walking

Named after the late Arthur Thorsborne who, with his wife Margaret, shared a lifelong interest in nature conservation, this challenging 32km trail follows the eastern side of the island and takes between three and five days to complete.

Experienced hikers will be challenged and delighted on this exhilarating walk through lush rainforest and shadowy swamps, along mangrove-fringed creeks and long sandy beaches, and over colourful heath-cloaked peaks to cascading waterfalls.

Nights are spent under the stars on whisper-quiet beaches and deep in the rainforest near the base of a stunning waterfall.

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

The Thorsborne Trail is in Hinchinbrook Island National Park, off the Queensland coast between Cardwell and Lucinda.

  • The trail extends along Hinchinbrook Island's east coast. There are seven camping areas located along the trail.
  • Read walk with care for tips on walking safely and walking lightly.
  • Access to the island is by either private vessel launched from Cardwell or Lucinda, or by commercial vessel operators.

Private vessel

  • If you plan to head to the island in your own boat, first 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.

Commercial transfers

  • Two commercial vessel operators service Hinchinbrook Island, transporting visitors to both the northern and southern access points of the island's Thorsborne Trail. Services vary according to demand, tide levels and time of year.
  • For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

When to visit

The Thorsborne Trail is closed seasonally from the start of January to the end of February due to the high risk of unsafe conditions over this period. Seasonal conditions during these months bring extreme heat and regular heavy rainfall - hikers are often unable to cross creeks and are at the highest risk of heat related injuries. Extreme weather events are also more likely during these months.

Outside of the seasonal closure period, hiking the Thorsborne Trail is considerably challenging during the other summer months between October and March. Conditions are extremely hot and humid at this time of year which increases the risk of heat related injuries. Water sources often dry up in the lead up to the wet season.

When the wet season starts, high rainfall results in rapidly rising creeks making crossing dangerous. Extreme weather events are also more likely during the wet season. QPWS strongly recommends careful consideration of choosing to undertake the Thorsborne Trail hike during the during the summer months.

The trail can also be closed during periods of severe weather (wet and dry) and planned burns. Changes and updates regarding all aspects of the trail are available as park alerts on this site and the booking website. Please check park alerts in the weeks and days leading up to your hike.

The Hinchinbrook Island boat-based camping areas and day-use areas are open to visitors all year round.

Visiting safely

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