Named after the late Arthur Thorsborne, the Thorsborne Trail follows the eastern side of Hinchinbrook Island, 5 mi off the Queensland coast. This rugged island has everything from cloud-covered mountains to lush rainforest and mangrove fringes.
Allow for a minimum of 3 days to hike the trail. An extra day on the trail could be used to summit Nina Peak or relaxing at Mulligan Falls. Be aware that this is crocodile country - stay out of the water and camp as far away from the water as possible in designated campsites.
April to September are the best months to hike the Thorsborne Trail to avoid the very wet or very dry periods. The trail can sometimes be closed due to severe weather or planned burns, so be sure to check the official trail website before heading out. Fresh water availability can vary depending on season and rainfall.
The Thorsborne Trail is located on Hinchinbrook Island, which is separated from the northern coast of Queensland, Australia by the narrow Hinchinbrook Channel.
Most people hike the Thorsborne Trail from north to south. In this case:
A camping permit is required to hike the Thorsborne Trail. The trail is very popular, so be sure to book your permit well in advance.
To book your permit:
Out of 16 total campsites, there are 7 campsites that are reserved just Thorsborne Trail hikers. Camping permits are required - see the Permit section for more details. When you book your permit, you’ll get access to any Thorsborne Trail campsite during your hike, so you don’t have to book each campsite separately.
The trail is in crocodile country, so stay at least 16 ft from the water’s edge at all times. When setting up camp, do so at least 164 ft from the water’s edge. Be sure to report any crocodile sightings to CrocWatch.
You’ll encounter plenty of mosquitos, especially at the Zoe Bay campsite, so be sure to bring insect repellent and cover up arms and legs when you get to camp to avoid bites.
Take the commercial ferry you booked ahead of time from Cardwell to the trailhead at Ramsay Bay. Head east from the ferry landing to the beach. Continue along Blacksand Beach to the Nina Bay campsite, passing Nina Peak along the way.
Scramble from Nina Bay over rocky ground; climb a small cliff and follow the headland to Boulder Bay. Follow the orange markers south-east, over a low ridge to Little Ramsay Bay.
Trek south from Little Ramsay Bay, cross a tidal creek and rock hop around the headland to the next beach.
Following the main trail south, cross Banksia Creek to the saddle between Banksia and Zoe bays. Descend from the saddle into a rocky creek and continue south-south-west through dry open forest, rainforest and mangrove swamps to North Zoe Creek.
Trudge through palm swamps and tall rainforest to Fan Palm Creek. Prepare to wet your feet at creek crossings and swampy sections hiking to Zoe Bay.
Follow the trail parallel to South Zoe Creek, before crossing it and climbing steeply to the granite slabs above Zoe Falls.
Cross the saddle and trek slopes of coastal she-oak and grasstrees before descending to the Diamantina Creek crossing, passing a side-track to Sunken Reef Bay on the way.
Follow the markers across Diamantina Creek, taking care, especially after heavy rain. Climb the short slope then descend to the base of Mulligan Falls. Collect fresh water before you leave as water sources further along the trail are not reliable.
Follow the coast, travelling through rainforest then crossing five creeks. About 984 ft south of the Diamantina Creek inlet a sign indicates the northern entrance to Mulligan Bay. Stroll 1 mi along the beach to Mulligan Creek, cross it at low to half tide, and then 2 mi further on is George Point and the southern end of the trail.
Your ferry captain will pick you up at George Point and take you back to the mainland at around noon, depending on the conditions of the day.