If you’re looking for a hiking challenge that will motivate you to make your next mind-body transition, look no further. Internationally rated one of the top 10 walks on the planet, Hinchinbrook Island’s rugged Thorsborne Trail is definitely one of the world’s best multi-day walking experiences.
The trail traverses an incredibly diverse terrain, from rugged tropical peaks, stunning coastal beaches, rocky shorelines, melaleuca swamps and patches of eucalypts and rainforest. You will discover rainforests of Milky Pine, Palm Figs and vines, with more than 66 species of birds, 22 species of butterflies, 29 different mangroves and many varieties of fish and crustaceans. Are your ready for an experience of a lifetime? Be sure to book early! There are only 40 permits available per day to hike the trail and they get snapped up in no time!
How long does it take to walk the Thorsborne Trail?
The golden question is, how long would you like it to take?
A minimum of four days, with permits for three nights camping, is recommended to hike the trail from Ramsay Bay to George Point, to allow time for swimming and to discover the beauty of Hinchinbrook Island.
However, to really immerse yourself and experience the Island, a five or six-day hike is recommended. This will allow ample time for swimming, exploring, and really enjoying your hike.
When is the best time to hike the Thorsborne Trail?
The ideal time to book your ultimate Thorsborne Trail adventure is during the Autumn and Winter months, ranging from April to September.
This will ensure you can make the most of the cooler weather and rain is minimal. It is possible to hike the Thorsborne Trail all year round, however, it can be challenging during the summer months as conditions can be hot and humid.
As this is also the wet season, high rainfall can result in rapidly rising creeks, making crossings difficult. During the summer months extreme weather events are also more likely to occur.
How hard is it to hike the Thorsborne Trail?
The trail covers 32 kilometres of vast tropical soft sand beaches, steep ranges shrouded in mist, thick rainforests and creek crossings.
The Thorsborne Trail is categorised as difficult in grade. The trail itself is not a hardened or graded walking track, and in some areas can be difficult and rough to traverse.
It is recommended that each day’s walk should be no more than five hours for the average hiker.
How to book
a Thorsborne Trail Permits
To protect this Jurassic Island’s biodiversity, a maximum of forty people are permitted on the trail at any one time and groups are limited to a maximum of six. This means in the high season; permits are snapped up very quickly!
When booking permits, you will need to book consecutive days that will allow you to choose between the seven different campsites accessible along the Thorsborne Trail. You are only permitted a maximum two-night stay at each camping area (except at Mulligan Falls where only a one-night stay is permitted).
You do not need to specify which campsite you want to stay at each night, just book permits for how many nights you intend to camp on the Island.
Booking online direct with Queensland National Parks
Booking at the Hinchinbrook Visitor Information Centre
Booking online with Absolute North Charters
What campsites to pick when planning your Thorsborne Trail
It is recommended to start the trail at the northern end of Hinchinbrook Island and trek your way south. This is due to the northern part of the island having minimal areas to source water.
The water you pack will be actively used in the first day or two.
You will come across water sources as you get further south on the island when you are in need of a water refill.
Another bonus is that once you have finished the trail, it is just a 15-minute transfer from George Point back to your transport, hot showers, hot meals and a cold brew!
What you need to pack for the Thorsborne Trail
Four days on a rugged, uninhabited island with very limited phone reception means you will need to be totally self-sufficient and pack enough resources that will get you safely through the multi-day hike. Here is a guide that will help you get planning for your epic adventure!
- Backpack: At least a 40-litre capacity with plenty of pockets to keep frequently used items.
- Clothing: As you’re in Tropical North Queensland it rarely gets cold, so there is no need to pack too many layers. A good waterproof jacket will definitely come in handy. Long sleeved shirts are recommended as they will protect you from the sun and insects; however short sleeves and shorts are also comfortable to get through the heat of the day.
- Footwear: You are going to need to get yourself some sturdy hiking boots that you can rely on to get you through 32 kilometres of rough terrain! Once you have found a place to settle for the night, some rubber thongs or crocs are perfect to roam around in to give your feet a break.
- Food: No need to cook when you have dehydrated food! Easy, mess free, lightweight and does not take up too much room! However, if you prefer other options, some suggestions are to bring frozen, ready-made meals for the first night or two (these double as ice bricks). Pasta, rice and wraps are also handy as they are lightweight. You might even be lucky enough to catch a fish or two. Weet-Bix, or other light cereals with powdered milk are recommended for breaky.
- Cooking gear: Butane Gas, Camping Stove and a lightweight pot for boiling water etc.
- Water: Bring lightweight water bottles to refill. There are many creeks where you can refill but you should also bring a water purification system.
- Camp gear: A lightweight, easy to set up and completely waterproof tent will be perfect. Temperatures generally stay above 13 degrees Celsius so a compact, lightweight sleeping bag will do the trick.
- Toiletries: With no showers on the island, Wet Wipes come in handy. Insect repellent, sunscreen and hand sanitiser are necessities.
- First Aid Kit: Help is a long way off so be sure your kit includes compression bandage, space blanket, electrolytes and medications.
- Torch/Headlamp: For when nature calls in the night.
- Personal Locator Beacons (PLB): Reception is hard to find on the island and help is a long way off if an accident was to occur. The best way for help to find you at the earliest convenience is if you have a PLB.
Things to consider
In order to conquer the Thorsborne Trail
It is really important to check when high tide is on your final day of the hike. You will come across a tidal creek on the beach as you head down to George Point. This crossing can only be crossed at low or half tide. Plan your hike around a low tide that will complement your time of crossing on the last day of your hike.
It is highly recommended to walk the trail south from Ramsay Bay and finish at George Point at the southern end of Hinchinbrook Island. There are limited sources of water in the northern section of the trail, and at the end of the dry season, some of the creeks may be dry. Whereas there are plenty of fresh creek water sources on the southern end of Hinchinbrook Island. Hikers can utilise the water they have packed to get through the first day or two, and as you hike further south, water is more accessible.
Queensland National Parks have removed food boxes from the Island which means there is a higher risk of attracting vermin to your campsite. The least amount of scraps you have, gives you a greater chance at keeping them at bay. Therefore, dehydrated meals, compact and lightweight food is recommended.
How to book
Thorsborne Trail boat transfers
Dungeness is only minutes from Lucinda and is the perfect departure and arrival port for transfers for the Thorsborne Trail. Experience the incredible Hinchinbrook Channel and the rugged backdrop of Hinchinbrook’s mist bound peaks as you journey to the Thorsborne Trail head at Ramsay Beach. And when you’ve finished the trail, enjoy a short ten-minute ferry run back from George Point. For more information or visit Absolute North Charters
Hinchinbrook Island and Thorsborne Trail Transfers - Absolute North Charters
Absolute North Charters have a range of camping equipment for hire. Some equipment that is for hire includes:
- Personal Locator Beacons (PLB)
- Butane Gas
- Camping Stove
- Lightweight tents