Back in 2013 we visited Hinchinbrook Island in Queensland Australia for a walk named the Thorsborne Trail. The Thorsborne Trail is the one and only hiking trail on the island, the trail follows the east coast, you are only allowed to walk on this trail unless you hold a special permit.
The trail named after the late Arthur Thorsborne, is 32 km in length and can be walked in 3 to 5 days. There are some possible side trips to two bays off the main track and we recommend spending 4 days if you want to enjoy your walk. We did spend 5 days on the trail ourselves since we were unsure about tides and how we would cope with the heat and humidity, but if we would do it again we would take 4 days.
The trail itself is rough and there are all different sections to consider such as rocky shorelines, rainforest with heaps of tree roots and muddy parts and even a swamp which you have to cross. In general the trail is well signposted, but as with any walk, bring a decent map and a GPS or compass are recommended. You have to bring your own fuel stove as this is a fuel stove only area. When we did our walk we were unsure about the possibilities to buy fuel cartridges in Cardwell, especially for our Jetboil system, so we made sure we did have our fuel stocked up in Townsville. But this might have changed in the last couple of years and is worth to find out if you come from interstate.
Temperature wise the weather is never too cold to do this walk, but you might want to avoid the really hot weather and the high humidity of summer. Walking in winter between April to October as it’s cooler and less humid is considered to be ideal. We did the walk in September and found the weather to be perfect. There is no special equipment needed for your walks, campsites are usually sheltered and due to the nice warm weather we didn’t even bother to bring our sleeping bags. Some might think this is silly but we figured that a liner together with our thermals would be sufficient. And it was more than warm enough, we didn’t even wear our thermals.
Do not keep any food in a tent or in your backpack! There is a reason why major steel boxes are provided on all major campsites. This reason is native rats, which will of anything to get to food. Have a look at the coconuts with holes in them, these are made by these rats so don’t assume your pack or your tent will be safe. There are saltwater crocodiles present in creeks, rivers, lagoons and along the coast of the island, so obey the warning signs and do not swim in the ocean.
A few tips that we can give:
- Arrange your camping permits and your drop off on the island and pick up from the other side before you arrive in the area, especially if you don’t live locally. There are only 40 hikers allowed at one time on the island and you don’t want to be disappointed.
- We did enjoy the North to South walk and would walk in the same direction if we would do this walk again. Can it be done in opposite direction? Yes of course!
- Have a look at the tides before you venture off on your trip, especially the last section is really depending on low tide.
- Take insect repellent and heaps of it! There are Midge’s (Sandflies) and Mosquitoes and March flies everywhere, or at least it did feel like that. We were not well enough prepared for Midge’s and ended up having heaps of bites which were extremely itchy. Midge bites are usually painless, so you won’t know you have been bitten until you see these red marks, so put on the repellent regardless!!!
- Don’t carry too much stuff and weight in your back pack since rock hopping is extremely exhausting on your ankles and you might need to jump and find your balance more often than you realise.
Enjoy your walk, since Hinchinbrook is an amazing piece of Queensland.