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Macushla Beach, an area where you can camp.
Macushla Beach, an area where you can camp.
Hinchinbrook Island Resort.
The view from your verandah at the resort.

Hinchinbrook Island

Thursday, September 21, 2000
Rainforests of milky pine, palm figs and vines, crowded with birds and butterflies ... then there are the surrounding golden beaches of Hinchinbrook Island.

Hinchinbrook is 35 kms long and up to 24kms wide, making it the largest island national park in the world. A jagged chain of ancient granite mountains forms its backbone with Mt Bowen as the highest peak at 1121 metres.

The mountains are covered in rainforests of milky pine, palm figs and vines, home to more than 60 species of bird and 20 species of butterfly. There are 30 varieties of mangrove and the island is surrounded by golden beaches.

Aboriginal people lived there in harmony with nature for thousands of years, but when Europeans attempted settlement by cutting timber, farming cattle, quarrying lime and growing fruit, the great strength of the bush defeated their efforts. Eventually the whole island was declared a National Park.

Hinchinbrook is a bushwalker’s paradise and during the walks trekkers are likely to see scrub fowl, lizards, goannas, lace monitors, dugongs and loggerhead, flatback and green turtles.

Thorsborne Trail is a wilderness walk that takes from 3 to 5 days to complete one-way. It snakes for 32 kms along the east coast from Ramsay Bay in the north to George Point on the south coast. A maximum of 40 walkers a day are allowed, and only small areas of the island are open for visitor access, and permits are a must. The track is not graded and facilities are non-existent, so you need to take everything with you – including stoves and fuel. Camping holidays are popular with boaties and Macushla Beach is the favourite – but be warned, you will have to share it with local crocodiles, lace monitors and white-tailed rats. Remember to hang everything edible way out of reach!

There are pit toilets but no showers. The creek and stream water is fresh, but soap and shampoo must not be used. You are also required to dispose of your waste and you must specify how you are going to do it.

On the far northern tip of the island at Cape Richards, barely visible from the sea, is the low-key Hinchinbrook Island Resort. It was developed as an eco-tourism project in the mid-70s and was rebuilt in 1990. The tree houses blend into the tropical rainforest of the surrounding hillsides and overlook Orchid Beach where you can watch for dolphins. There are timber boardwalks linking the tree houses with the rest of the resort.

The accommodation includes cabins and 1 & 2 bedroom tree houses. Each unit has its own bathroom and at least one separate bedroom with queen size bed. There is a lounge/living room and a refrigerator. All rooms have ceiling fans.

Some of the tree houses have a second bedroom with 2 beds, suitable for families. There is no radio, television or phone, and the number of guests is limited to 50 at a time.

There are activities and facilities to suit everyone – freshwater pool, canoeing, surf skiing and snorkelling, guided bushwalks, other reef cruises and fishing trips, and if that is all too much, there are beach hammocks to rest in after a visit to the reading room.


A 50 minute ferry ride from Cardwell in far north Queensland.


Rooms at the Hinchinbrook Island Resort start at $236 per person per night twin share in a cabin or $324 per person per night twin share in a one-bedoom tree house.
All meals and beach activities are included and picnic lunches are available. Return ferry transfers from the mainland cost $85 per adult and $42 per child. Camping costs $3.85 per person per night or $15.40 per night for a family of 2 adults and 3 children.
Ferries to the island for day-trip bushwalkers cost $85 per person return.

More information

Hinchinbrook Island Resort
call: 1800 777 021 Ph: 07 4066 8585
Rainforest & Reef Centre for information about the island and camping permits.
Ph: 07 4066 8601 Fax: 07 4066 8116
Hinchinbrook Ferries
Ph: 07 4066 8270
Qantas: 131313

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