Hinchinbrook Island is located just off the coast of the northern Queensland town of Cardwell. It is in between Townsville and Cairns. It is about a two hour drive north of Townsville and two and half hours south of Cairns. At 393 square kilometres, it is Australia’s largest national park island and really is an untouched tropical paradise. The national park status means that the lush tropical greenery is protected and so are the animals that call the island and surrounding waters home. There are many amazing national parks in Queensland and we have already covered quite an impressive list of National Parks of Queensland including Girringun National Park which is adjacent to Hinchinbrook Island National Park on the mainland side plus all these beautiful places to visit:
Picturesque and Tropical Hinchinbrook Island Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Hinchinbrook Island Aerial View Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Hinchinbrook Island from Cardwell Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Hinchinbrook Island Region Map Photo Credit: Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Mount Bowen and the Landscape of Hinchinbrook National Park
Nina Peak and the cloud shrouded Mount Bowen from the beach at Ramsay Bay Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The mountains and the landscape provides a unique refuge for many endangered species. The tallest peak is Mount Bowen, which rises 1,121 metres above the Coral Sea. The east coast of the island faces the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea, it is lined with beaches and rocky headlands. The inland side of the island features the mangrove-lined Hinchinbrook Channel, which is about 8 km wide. The west side of the island also has several sheltered bays.
The Hinchinbrook Channel
Hinchinbrook Channel Photo Credit: Queensland.com
Hinchinbrook Channel Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Dugong and Calf Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
The Hinchinbrook Channel separates the island from the mainland. However, it is included as part of the National Park as well as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It is a popular swimming area for Dugongs. The protected marine mammals live in Australia’s northern warm waters and feed on seagrass. The mangroves also provide shelter for these beloved marine mammals. Australia’s waters are thought to be the worldwide stronghold for the dugong, who are threatened by extinction. Some species of the dugong family are already gone from the planet. Take care when boating and be on the lookout for these gentle creatures.
Getting to Hinchinbrook Island National Park
Hinchinbrook Island National Park Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Townsville Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
Cairns Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
Hinchinbrook Island National Park is located north of Townsville, Queensland and south of Cairns, Queensland. This section of the northern Queensland coast is called the Cassowary Coast Townsville and Cairns are two of the major port cities for the Great Barrier Reef and is located on the northern Queensland coast. Of course, you wouldn’t drive to the island, but you certainly should explore the area around Townsville and Cairns in addition to touring the island. You can hire a car in Townsville so that you can get see nearby holiday destinations near Townsville. You can also rent a car right at the Cairns Airport or pick up a rental vehicle in Cairns City. Hiring your own car means that you will be able to see what you want, when you want to on your own schedule. There are no tour bus times for departure and you can stay as long as you like wherever you go. Our knowledgeable staff will be able to recommend the best vehicle for your individual travel needs and also offer up some travel tips as a local. You can read about more holiday highlights near Townsville, Cairns, Northern Queensland and the Far North of Queensland:
Things to Do in Hinchinbrook Island National Park
Hinchinbrook Island National Park Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Jetty on Hinchinbrook Island Photo Credit: Queensland.com
Hinchinbrook Island National Park Map Photo Credit: Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
There is much adventure to be had on Hinchinbrook Island. It is known for its white sand beaches and the Thorsborne Trail. Mountain hiking is also popular here as well as exploring the waterfalls, rainforest and eucalypt forest. There are 13 camping spots throughout the island. You can choose from beach camping, mountain camping, or along the bay side; but you must obtain a permit in advance. Bird watching is renowned on the island, there are Herons, Cockatoos, Pheasants, Scrub Hens, Sunbirds and Torres Strait and Wompoo Pigeons. The options are pretty diverse for an island, even if it is a large one. The Thorsborne Trail is the top hiking adventure on the island, but it is also a difficult and multi day journey. In part two of our blog series on Hinchinbrook Island you can read all about the Thorsborne Trail, also known as the East Coast Track and the other, shorter and less difficult walking tracks on the island. The Thorsborne Trail is a multi day track that covers the entire east coast of the island. It takes at least 3 days to complete, but can be lengthened and enjoyed over 4 to 6 days just one way.
Picnic and Day-Use Areas on Hinchinbrook Island
You can just take a day trip to Hinchinbrook Island and if you do, you might want to picnic or need to use the facilities. Day-use areas are located at Macushla, The Haven, Zoe Bay and George Point. Of course, you can use these whether you have an extended stay, camping on the island or if you are just there for a quick visit.
Each of these facilities at these locations include:
- South Macushla—picnic tables, gas barbecue, shelter shed, toilet and water tank (not suitable for drinking).
- North Macushla—toileting facilities.
- The Haven—picnic tables, gas barbecue and toilet.
- South Zoe Bay—picnic tables and toilet facilities.
- George Point—picnic tables and toilet.
Hinchinbrook Island Beaches
Orchid Beach, Hinchinbrook Island Photo Credit: Queensland.com
Hinchinbrook Island White Sand Beaches Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Orchid Beach is on the northern side of the island and is a great spot for dolphin watching and sunset viewing. The beaches of Hinchinbrook Island are the epitome of private beach seclusion. The island is largely undiscovered and unpopulated and travel is restricted so chances are you are going to find a beach to have all to yourself. There are plenty of beaches and sheltered bays all around the island. Snorkeling, diving, boating, kayaking and more are all just waiting for you to explore and enjoy.