Hinchinbrook Island National Park Tropical North Queensland

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

Things to do

    Green turtles are seen on and around Hinchinbrook Island. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Green turtles are seen on and around Hinchinbrook Island. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    Camping permits are required and fees apply.

    The Thorsborne Trail offers walk-in, remote bush camping along the east cost of the island.

    Camping permits for educational, military and commercial groups must be obtained through Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS). To request a permit email qpws@des.qld.gov.au.

    Some of the camping areas are suitable for sea kayakers. See camping information for details.

    Other accommodation

    There is a range of accommodation in and around Cardwell and Lucinda. For more information, see the tourism information links.

    Walking

    There are four walking tracks on the island, offering short easy walks to the difficult, four day Thorsborne Trail.

    The Haven track (Grade: moderate)

    Distance: 1km return
    Time: allow about 15–30mins walking time
    Details: The circuit track starts from the Haven campground (Scraggy Point) and passes through mixed vine forest along the banks of a small creek.

    Macushla to Cape Richards track (Grade: moderate)

    Distance: 4.9km one way
    Time: allow about 1.5–2hrs walking time
    Details: This track links Macushla to the resort at Cape Richards, via the base of Kirville Hills and North Shepherd Bay. Look for the nesting mounds of orange-footed scrub fowls and listen to the different rainforest pigeons high in the trees. At low tide watch tiny crabs scurrying along the beach at North Shepherd Bay. Beach stone-curlews can be seen near the foreshore. Entrances to the walking track are located at each end of the beach at North Shepherd Bay.

    South Shepherd Bay track (Grade: moderate)

    Distance: 5km return
    Time: allow about 1hr walking time
    Details: A 2.5km sidetrack, off the main Macushla to Cape Richards track, ends at South Shepherd Bay. The turn-off is signposted and is 1.3km from Macushla and 3.6km from Cape Richards. This walk takes you through the forests of Kirkville Hills and onto the often-isolated South Shepherd Bay beach. Walkers must return the way they came. Do not attempt to walk around the headlands.

    Thorsborne Trail (Grade: difficult)

    Distance: 32km one way
    Time: allow 4 days
    Details: Hike through a smorgasbord of changing landscapes and habitats including rainforest, open eucalypt forest, banksia forest, and mangrove and paperbark country. The trail is not a graded or hardened walking track and, in some areas, is rough and difficult to traverse. See the Thorsborne Trail for more information.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    Day-use areas are located at Macushla, The Haven, Zoe Bay and George Point.

    Facilities at these locations include:

    • South Macushla—picnic tables, shelter shed, toilet and water tank (not suitable for drinking)
    • North Macushla—toilet
    • The Haven—picnic tables, gas barbecue and toilet
    • South Zoe Bay—picnic tables and toilet
    • George Point—picnic tables and toilet.

    Boating and fishing

    Voluntary vessel transit lanes and boat speeds are in place around Hinchinbrook Island to help protect the island’s marine animals and their homes. Please use these vessel transit lanes and abide by the recommended vessel speeds. Visitors should obtain a copy of the Marine wonders of Hinchinbrook: guide to using the Hinchinbrook transit lanes brochure produced by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

    Hinchinbrook Island and the surrounding marine waters are internationally significant and are protected in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Zones in the two marine parks—the Great Barrier Reef Coast and Great Barrier Reef—provide a balanced approach to protecting the marine and intertidal environments while allowing recreational and commercial use. Check zoning maps and information and the Hinchinbrook Plan of Management before entering or conducting any activities, including fishing, in the marine parks.

    Fishing is not permitted in the freshwater areas of the national park or in Channel Nine in Missionary Bay. Fisheries regulations apply in other areas—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Fisheries Queensland.

    Be aware that crocodiles can turn up anywhere in croc country, including tidal reaches of rivers, along beaches, on offshore islands and cays in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, and in freshwater lagoons, rivers, and swamps. Crocodiles are dangerous and attacks can be fatal. Remember to be crocwise in croc country.

    Viewing wildlife

    With more than 19 mammal, 32 reptile and about 150 bird species, visitors are guaranteed to encounter Hinchinbrook’s wildlife. See pied imperial-pigeons, beach stone-curlews and an array of other shore and forest birds. Enjoy the vibrant wildflower displays in spring.

    The island is surrounded by diverse marine habitats such as mangroves, fringing reefs and seagrass beds. These habitats provide food and shelter for animals such as dolphins, dugongs, turtles and estuarine crocodiles.

    At low tide a cacophony of ‘slurps’, ‘pops’ and ‘clicks’ emanates from the blue-grey mud in the mangrove forests. Snapping shrimps, crabs and mudskippers warn intruders or signal amorous intentions. Mangrove leaves use sunlight, water and nutrients from the mud and turn it into food. Fallen leaves, both fresh and decaying, provide many inhabitants with important nutrients—the first step in the perpetual cycling of nutrients moving between marine and coastal ecosystems.

    See the description of the park’s natural environment for more details about Hinchinbrook Island’s diverse wildlife.

    Other things to do

    Sea kayak the ocean waters to experience Hinchinbrook Island from the sea.

    Fishing charters, boats, house boats and other charter vessels are available. For information, see the tourism information links.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.