We begun for a 4 nights/ 5 days hike during first week of September. It was beautiful, such a bliss to the eyes, the hiking was easy as speccy as you’d find!
We took a long boat trip from Lucinda- helping us clear our ideas regarding the size and topography of the Island and build foreknowledge for the next few days. Our boat operator – John (Absolute North Charter Travel), quite a generous man, shared with us his knowledge about hiking, rafting, camping and other some adventure posts and it’s safety measures. The best part of the boat trip was watching dolphins, white bellied sea eagles with the beautiful mountain at the back.
Hiking amidst the cool weather didn’t make us feel the necessity of sleeping bags as light blanket was sufficient, enough to meet our requirements. Jumpers or thermals were not used but the splendid weather did make us drape raincoats throughout our bodies. We were ready to confront sand flies as we heard the stories about it but fortunately sand flies were manageable.
We carried some food like- freeze dried meals, dried nuts, energy bars and especially anything light weight food that has high-protein or energy as we needed to have some fitness cause most of the places were too strenuous to hike.
You can also buy fresh food either in Townsville or at Ingham. We carried a lightweight stove or heating device, aluminium saucepan and pot to heat water for dried dinner foods,coffees and teas. My favourite dish was dried chopped lamb meat with vegetables and rice. We stored our food in the provided rat-proof metal boxes at each campsite.
For the walk on Thorsborne trail, it’s better to go as light as possible with your kit. At most of the sites, due to tropical heat, I needed a swim or a rinse desperately at the end of the day. We must had got lucky that we easily managed our creek crossing as we wore sneakers and already had some ideas about the tide times. You can use a hiking footwear with heavy sole as the track becomes quite rough in places and a good walking stick for some creek crossings. In my opinion walking straight is safer than rock hopping with a pack on.
The best start to our 4 day hike on Thorsborne trail was the fabulous Hinchinbrook channel boat tour with John at Absolute North Charters. Before we got on the trail we saw the grass floating on top of the water and sea turtles seemed to be everywhere as well. We arrived around 9.30 a.m at the northern end, Ramsay Bay.
Ramsay Bay to Nina Bay- Our day trip started from Ramsay Bay towards Nina Bay. We noticed the cluster of different landscapes along the way. After 2.5 hour of walking, we finally decided to stay at Nina bay, one of the best camping areas with two outstanding view of the peak – north over the sweeping east-facing arc of Ramsay Bay and west to the east-facing cliffs of Mount Bowen.
The view from the top of the Nina peak was stunning. Portrait of a large Granite rock with orange flowers gives a complete look to this area. Water of the seasonal creek of Nina bay is available between January to August.
Nina Bay to Banksia Bay- The next day we had a plan to walk towards Banksia bay, the concealed gem of Thorsborne trail. After the arrival we set up the campsite but the other facilities were not available here. I became a little disappointed when I heard about the prohibition of fishing. But the incessant view of Ramsay Bay was enough to bring my mood back. It was amazing to see juvenile fishes everywhere. The menu was fried fish and chips at lunch. Due to lack of facilities, After taking a swim for awhile, we decided to move towards Zoe bay.
Banksia Bay to Zoe Bay- When we reached at Zoe bay, it was afternoon. I considered myself lucky as I got the chance to capture the stunning sunset with a pink stripy sky.
We found the campsite area clean and shady with toilets and tables. I will suggest you to take plenty of insect repellent along with the long shirts and long pants in the evening.
The night was not so cozy for me as I forgot to bring the mosquito net. It’s better to carry light waterproof cover as it may rain every now and then.
Zoe falls- Next morning, The View of sunrise looking north to Mount Bowen was eye-soothing. There was small freshwater creeks running and surprisingly we spotted humpback whales. After having a cup of tea with some energy bars, we headed off to Zoe falls to enjoy the fresh water pools and waterfalls.It was amazing to experience the famous plunge pools from the top of the falls. Moreover the landscape was looking absolutely stunning and diversified. we took time to climb to the top as the rocks were very slippery. After a day of sweating, we had a safe swimming at the fresh water pool.
I can’t speak highly enough about this little piece of paradise, just can say It’s ambience compelled to stay us here one extra night.
The distance of Mulligan bay from Zoe bay is 7.5km. It takes around 4 hrs to reach at Mulligan falls. So I would like to recommend people to spend more time at Zoe bay in spite of trekking side trip to Sunken bay as it saves 1.1 km descend and ascend. However before leaving Zoe bay, we collected sufficient drinking water as the next water sources might not be hygienic. After walking for some hours, we finally reached at Mulligan falls, another amazing swimming holes. It’s better to avoid the allurement to clamber on the rocks above the falls and due to the slippery water hole people have died here. One of the highlights of Mulligan creek is- it’s 1.1 miles area is hidden by the thick pines, which carries the sign of an unspoilt nature. After a hectic day, dinner tonight was delicious fried vegetable with rice and we decided to stay at Mulligan Bay campsite area at night as there was no other option left.
After having a plenty time at Mulligan Bay, We kept our hiking towards the George point, the southern end of Thorsborne trail. After having 5 creeks crossings and 5km beach walk, reached at the last moment of our journey and finally getting picked up in on the south end by John and returning to our car in Lucinda.
Some important notes about hiking-
- Open fires are not allowed at the camping area.
- choose your campsite area as far as possible from the water to be safe from crocodiles.
- Knowing the tide-timings is a must before crossing the creek.
- Water of a nearby creek should be refined before drinking.
Please keep your campsite area clean and try to leave all your details on your Island transfer, planned route and timings with a responsible contact person.
I highly recommend this hike, however my suggestion is to take it slow and steady. It may be a great introduction to trekking for those who are less experienced and a really pleasurable and unique hike for those who usually walk in other parts of Australia.