Considered one of the best of the many Queensland Great Walks, the 32 km Thorsborne Trail explores the east coast of Hinchinbrook Island, one of Australia’a largest island national parks. Hinchinbrook Island off the far north coast of Queensland, is nearly 40,000 ha of national park and forms part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
To maintain the pristine environment, the Thorsborne Trail is limited to only 40 visitors at any given time and due to it’s location in the Australia’s tropical north, best walked during the winter/dry season. Given this, bookings can be hard to come by, but well worth the planning and effort to visit.
The 3 to 4 days on the Thorsborne Trail will enable you to experience all that Hinchinbrook has to offer, including rainforest, open woodland, mangroves, waterfalls, clear running streams, pristine beaches and constant ocean views. This part of Australia is not without it’s fatal fauna, including box jellyfish and snakes (although unlikely to be seen in winter months) and crocodiles are ever present.
(Looking towards Nina Peak & Mt Bowen from Ramsay Bay)
As we take the 45 minute boat ride from the mainland, we can still see the scars from Cyclone Yasi -- evidence of the destructive path carved one February night in 2011. Our boat passes over a sandbank once covered with seagrass, now stripped bare, where dugongs once so prolific are now rarely seen four years on.
(Little Ramsay Bay)
Enroute to Nina Bay we take the side track up Nina Peak. The summit offers one of the best views of the Thorsborne Trail, where one can anticipate with enthusiasm the thought of walking barefoot in the sand of the beaches spread out below.
(Beautiful Nina Bay, with campsites on the
coconut lined beach, perfect for tent or hammock)
Much of the Thorsborne Trail in the northern section of the walk is along the some of the island’s many secluded beaches interspersed with rocky headlands, with the imposing monolith of Mt Bowen bearing down from the island centre - postcard perfect scenery.
(The ominous Mt Bowen, at 1121m it towers over nearby Nina Bay)
We are often accompanied by beach stone-curlews that stalk the beach emitting their eerie call and when startled flee on their stilt legs.
(Looking back at Nina Peak from Nina Bay)
(Zoe Bay, one of the many secluded beaches to be found on the island)
We met a local visiting the island for a few days who was very adept at opening coconuts. With tree climbing skills far superior to mine, he harvested a breakfast of coconut washed down with the cool liquid inside - beats cereal!
A morning swim at the impressive Zoe Falls cooled us in readiness for the steep climb to the top of the falls and another swim was enjoyed while soaking in the spectacular views over Zoe Bay.
My attempt to access Sunken Reef Bay, a half hour one way diversion, proves unsuccessful. With the sound of small breaking waves indicating I was tauntingly close to my destination, I was suddenly confronted with a large, stagnant, chest deep swamp approx 10 metres across and as far as the eye can see in either direction. Sunken logs suggested a makeshift bridge probably demolished in a summer storm. It all looked very crocodile friendly and consequently I was unable to muster the courage to take it on and reach the beach.
(View from atop Zoe Falls looking north back along the Thorsborne Trail)
(View of Nina Bay from Nina Peak – where rainforest meets the reef!)
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