Rising 1100m above sea level, Mt Bowen dominates on one of Australia’s largest island national parks, just offshore from Cardwell. Separated from the mainland by the mangrove-lined creeks and waterways of the Hinchinbrook Channel, the island is keenly visited by naturists and bushwalkers intent on tackling the 32km Thorsborne Trail.
Managed under the “minimal impact bushwalking” and “no trace camping” ethic, just 40 walkers are permitted on the track at any one time. A particularly challenging track suitable for experienced, well-prepared bush walkers, allow at least three nights (though it’s better to take five) to experience the rugged beauty of the island. If you visit soon after the wet season ends, the freshwater pools at Zoe and Mulligan Falls provide safe swimming options in otherwise crocodile-infested waters.
Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge (www.hinchinbrooklodge.com.au) is an eco-lodge at Cape Richards, firmly focused on rejuvenation amid splendid isolation (closed mid-Jan to Easter). The best rooms are the modern, architecturally designed Treetop Bungalows, nestled within the forest canopy. Kids are welcome to join in the fun, however there are no Clubs or babysitters on hand to relieve stressed parents.
Getting There: Boat transfers for walkers depart from either Port Hinchinbrook Marina at Cardwell or Lucinda, with limited services during the wet season, while Lodge guests take the boat transfer from Cardwell.