Hinchinbrook Island is Australia's largest island national park. It covers 39,300 hectares and is separated from the mainland by the deep, narrow, mangrove-fringed Hinchinbrook Channel, scoured from sand and mud by strong tidal currents.
Rising to 1121m in the centre of the island are the jagged battlements of Mt Bowen, the largest in the chain of rugged granite crags forming the backbone of the island's southern half.
To the north-west a range of lesser peaks of older volcanic rocks, similar in chemistry but finer grained than the granite, forms an undulating skyline descending to the sandy beach of Hecate Point, 4km across the channel from Cardwell.
The spectacular north face of Mt Bowen drops 1121m in cliffs and forested scree slopes almost to sea level. From there a narrow, 8km strip of sand stretches north to connect with Capes Sandwich and Richards.
The island is 37.4kms long and 10kms wide. There are 11 sandy beaches, several of them secluded. Walking around the island is fairly easy, going through light bush sections to see herons, cockatoos, pheasants, scrub hens, sunbirds and Torres Strait and wompoo pigeons. The Cape Richards lookout is the best spot to see dolphins, neighbouring islands and sunsets.
At the southern end of Orchid Beach, a short walk leads to Turtle Bay where on most afternoons large sea turtles feed on marine grasses.
Wilderness Lodge is designed to blend in with the outstanding, natural tropical landscape.
Apart from the landing pontoon, only a very keen eye could spot the resort which is nestled amongst rainforest overlooking Orchid Beach. There are eight beach cabins and 16 treetop bungalows, large in-ground pool, restaurant, lounge and bar. If you are going exploring, delicious lunch hampers are available.
There's plenty to do canoes and kayaks are available, fishing gear, snorkelling gear and snorkelling and dive charters and beach hammocks for lazing.
Day cruises take you to other parts of the national park. They are dependent upon tide times and weather.
Hinchinbrook Island, off the coast of Cardwell, a two-hour drive from Townsville.
Treetop Bungalows at the Wilderness Lodge accommodation starts at $300 a double a night.
Hinchinbrook Island eight-hour day cruise is $125 for adults, $65 for children and $85 for seniors. Lunch is included and there is an optional 5.2km beach and rainforest walk. Alternatively you can dine at Wilderness Lodge. Guests have full use of resort facilities, sea kayak snorkelling gear, fishing gear and pool. Tours depart at 9am.
Virgin Blue has flights to Townsville.
One-way fares from:
- Sydney $135
- Brisbane $155
- Melbourne $229
- Adelaide $259
- Perth $310
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at October 30, 2008 and are subject to change.
Prices correct at October 30, 2008.
For further information
Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge and Resort
PO Box 3
Ph: (07) 4066 8270
Fax: (07) 4066 8271
Ph: 13 6789
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