Hike the Thorsborne Trail

Rate this Adventure Australia Hinchinbrook Island

Added by Bec Weeks

This backpacking trip is 4 days and 3 nights and will allow you to get "off the grid" in a tropical wilderness and explore one of Australia's largest island national parks.

Here's a chance to get properly "off the grid" in a tropical wilderness. Protected since 1932, Hinchinbrook is one of Australia's largest island national parks, and lies within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Hikers on the island are strictly limited to 40 a day, so chances are you won't have to share your camp spot under the stars with anyone.

On the trail you'll pass through dry open forest, rainforest, and mangrove swamps, boulder hop and walk along spectacular ocean beaches, and cross crystal clear mountain streams. There's plenty of wildlife to see along the way - we found a turtle hiding out in the rock pools at Boulder Bay! Off the trail, you can hike up to Nina Peak (leave your heavy pack at the bottom) for breathtaking views, and plunge into safe, freshwater swimming holes and waterfalls.

The 32 kilometre (20 mile) long Thorsborne Trail follows the east coast of the spectacular Hinchinbrook Island, off the North Queensland coast. The trail can be walked from either direction, with most walking north to south and completing the trail in 3 nights & 4 days. That schedule only requires 4-5 hours walking per day, so there's plenty of time to explore! There's a map of the trail here.

It's best to go between May to October, when it's not too hot or wet, but there's still enough water flowing in the creeks (many of the smaller creeks dry up in the warmer months). Camping permits are required, and you need to book in advance for peak season, since numbers are strictly limited. Oh, and the largest group size is six.

Since the little resort closed, there are NO facilities on the island whatsoever, so you need to be entirely self-sufficient. There's very little phone signal, so you might want to consider hiring a sat phone or EPIRB in case anything goes wrong.

You also need to arrange a small ferry to transport you from Cardwell to the start of the trail, and to pick you up at the other end. For more info, visit this link.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Water containers (you need to source, and treat, water from streams and creeks, so plenty of water bottles / pouches are required!)
  • Comfy, worn-in hiking shoes
  • Food
  • Lightweight tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Fuel stove (no fires allowed)
  • Torch
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Biodegradable toilet paper (the camp sites have composting toilets)
  • Rubbish bag (all rubbish must be carried off the island)
  • First aid kit
  • Quick drying clothing
  • Tide tables (some of the creeks are best crossed near low tide, especially if it's been a wet year)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Hiking

Skill Level:



Autumn, Winter

Trail Type:



19.9 Miles


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Added by Bec Weeks

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