This diary is one part of a 4 part information guide/review/blog in walking the Thorsborne trail on Hinchinbrook island. I have linked the other parts below for your reference.
- A practical guide to walking the trail – Click to open this guide
- A video log of our preparation and time on the island (see video below or click to go direct to YouTube)
- A diary blog on our adventure – This post
- Detailed trail notes which you can download and print – Click this link to find out more
With our rucksacks packed and every inch of our bodies covered in bug spray, we got picked up from the jetty in front of our accommodation. We were instantly mesmerised by the stunning scenery of this area as we headed north up the Hinchinbrook channel, with the island on our right hand side for the majority of the 75km trip. The impressive towering peaks of Mt Straloch, Diamantina and Bowen the highest at 1121m were clearly in view on this stunningly sunny warm day. We looked out across the water at Nina Peak, which was to be our first side trip challenge at 312m, as this wilderness hike suddenly became really real.
After turning around the top of the Island which is the best place to spot the 800 strong Dugong herd in the sea grasses, we entered the narrow water-ways flanked by mangroves and landed at the jetty.
We sadly didn’t spot any Dugong, but did catch a glimpse of a humpback dolphin. Straight from the jetty we walked through the mangroves on the boardwalk, which then opened out onto an old aboriginal burial site. From here it was a short walk up and over the sand dunes and onto the first beach, Ramsey Bay.
We then headed inland and up to the saddle until we reached a small clearing to start our hike up Nina Peak. The climb is a must on a good day as the views from the top were absolutely stunning. We found one of our fellow walkers from Tassie hat at the top of the Nina which we reunited as he was climbing back up to fetch it. There were gorgeous orange flowers on the granite slabs of Nina with lots of amazing views not only at the top, but as you hike up. We did a lot of chatting to other walkers as we climbed which was nice.
From the saddle we descended to Nina Bay where we had lunch on the beach and checked out the campsite here. The track after Nina Bay was a scrambled over Boulder Bay and onto Little Ramsey Bay for our first nights camp, where we met the Green Hat boys from Melbourne for the first time, collecting water from the creek feeding the lagoon. There is a small waterhole a little distance down from this campsite over the headland which is fed all year by a spring and we dived straight in for a refreshing dip with can of beer we had frozen before setting off.
We rounded off the night by cooking steak which we served with herb bread and blue cheese while watching the sunset. It’s a little bit of a luxury and effort to bring in fresh food, but we think its worth as we enjoy cooking and eating.
We woke to an amazing sunrise over the ocean from Little Ramsey Bay with the rocks glowing a beautiful deep burnt orange colour.
Breakfast this morning was bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms in wholemeal pita breads to prepare us for the day ahead. The start of the hike is a stunning beach section with a tidal creek crossing followed by a few rock climbs over headlands and more beautiful beaches.
At the top of the ridge we dropping our heavy rucksacks for our second side trip down to Banksia Bay.
This is a beautiful bay and campsite, well worth camping at or as a side trip. After climbing back out, it was only a short distance before we found an amazing swimming hole where we met a fellow hiker taking full advantage of it on another beautiful sunny day. He warned us about the swampy sections we were about to encounter! This section to Zoe bay was mainly inland and did indeed cross a few swampy areas as well as lots of creeks and passed through so many different environments. As we had good weather the creek crossings were easy and didn’t require us taking our hiking boots, but we heard stories of other hikers on previous trips to the island having a very different experience.
Watch out for the hooked tendrils of the yellow lawyer, once entangled they can cause damage to your skin, clothing and anything attached to your pack. The trick we discovered is not to fight them and reverse out of their spikes. It was a relief to finally reach the beach at Zoe Bay and we found an incredible little private campsite in the mangroves with a rat proof box and picnic table. We quickly popped up the tent, so we could walk up to the breathtaking Zoe Falls and jump in.
There are hundreds of Jungle perch fish which follow you around. Zoe falls is a true paradise and we can see why people stay here an extra night.
Dinner tonight was a fresh lamb dish with rice and freeze-dried vegetables, plus a cheeky bottle of red wine I had carried in (decantered into as plastic platypus bottle).
There was another stunning sunset, made even more impressive by the prescribed burn taking place on Mt. Bowen. The whole mountain was lit up and glowing, it was stunning.
You are truly spoilt for sunrises on the island and today was no exception with a stunning pink stripy sky.
We had a repeat of yesterdays breakfast before climbing up to the top of Zoe Falls. A handy rope helps you up the final steep section and after a few more metres you arrive at the iconic Zoe Falls with stunning views across the bay. No picture I have seen of the falls does this place justice, it’s breathtaking and we spent about an hour here playing in the various pools, before tackling the rest of the day. Be super careful as the rocks are very slippy and accidents have happened here.
From the falls it a steady climb through open heath crossing several tributaries of Zoe Creek, until you reach the highest point of the main trail at 260m. We knew we had reached this point when we arrived on a massive granite slab and could see right across the bay to the Palm Islands. We then descended down into the coastal area and to the track junction to Sunken Reef Bay. This was today’s side trip where we had lunch on the golden sandy beach. It’s a big drop in height which you gained earlier in the day and we are not sure it was worth the extra 2.2km. The fun part was the river crossing just before the beach, which Rich choose to navigate through bush bashing to a fallen tree which he used as a balance beam. I choose to pop on the strategically placed mismatched blue flip flops and waded through, keeping an keen eye out for crocs.
After the ascent back out it isn’t long before you cross the Diamantina Creek. Scrambling over the big rock boulders of the river crossings is always a challenge with big heavy packs on and we were pleased there wasn’t much water in the creek. We then did a final up and over section through the bush passing massive big granite outcrops before arriving at Mulligan Falls.
It was another quick erection of the tent so we could jump in for a cool off in the falls.
Sadly this site hasn’t been left as people found it, with rubbish being left in the rat boxes and nearly every site having campfire circles. Fire are not permitted on the island, just don’t do it…hug a friend for warmth instead. Tonight was much cooler and dinner was a backcountry cuisine main meal (honey soy chicken) and apple pie pudding.
Today was the shortest easiest day of the hike, we had plenty of time to hang out at Mulligan falls, before a short walk through the bush crossing 5 creeks and then an easy 5km along the hard sandy beach of Mulligan Bay. There was one tidal crossing but due to the tides and time of year it caused us no issues, apart from Rich having to take his boots off for the first time on this trip. We kept our boots off for the rest of the hike to George Point.
As we reached the end of the trail we were met by a message written in the sand “Did you find our towel?” from the Green Hat boys. We had indeed found it, caught on one of those naught evil yellow lawyer dendrils.
John was there early to pick us up and take us back to Lucinda where we headed straight for a celebratory fish and chips from the Lucinda jetty store and takeaway. The fresh Spanish mackerel is stunning, the batter crispy and the chips good too.
What a hike, what an adventure…..if your thinking of doing it, book your permit, accommodation and transfer NOW!!!
Sarah & Rich x
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