Boat to Hinchinbrook Island۔Every year hikers and bushwalkers from Australia and other countries flock to Hinchinbrook Island to experience its unspoiled natural heritage. Situated along the North Queensland coast, the local climate is tropical in nature. The island provides sanctuary for various flora and fauna including some endangered species exclusive to the island.

The Hinchinbrook Island, with its rugged beauty, offers visitors an unparalleled experience of the wilderness while hiking on its famous Thorsborne trail. The trail extends for 32 km from Ramsay Bay on the north-east to George Point to the south of the island.

Now, getting on and off the island is not difficult since the island has no reefs in the waters surrounding it, making it easy to use a boat to Hinchinbrook Island. Taking a boat is much more rewarding, with a beautiful morning view of the Hinchinbrook channel.

The operators of Absolute North Charters have a deep love for the island and great local knowledge, making the transfer to the island more personal and enriching. We believe in keeping the island’s habitat intact and therefore chart only the natural pathways to the island.

We are based in Lucinda and provide ferry service to both ends of the Thorsborne trail, i.e. Ramsay Bay and George Point. So the choice is yours, whether you start your adventure from the North or the South side of the island.

Boat to Hinchinbrook Island۔ Since the 1980s, Cardwell has been the de-facto entry point for getting to Hinchinbrook Island and the Thorsborne trail. So naturally, hikers prefer to tread the trail from north to south. However, we have weighed the pros and cons of every possible way and recommend you make Lucinda your entry point for transferring to Hinchinbrook island, even when you walk North-South. So whether you want to begin the hike from north or south, we have you covered.

We understand what hikers need and thus have come up with our own plans that are visitor-friendly, logistically sound, and offer more enjoyment of Hinchinbrook Island.

Why is Lucinda Your Best Choice?

Let us explain –

Reason 1: 

The essence of the trip is you start from a town, transfer to Hinchinbrook Island, cover the trail, then you must return to that starting town.

The distance from Lucinda port to Ramsay Bay is 74.34 km while Lucinda to George Point is 4.37 km. Our suggestion is to take the longer route at the beginning of the journey and leave the short for the last.

This means you take the boat from Lucinda to transfer to Ramsay Bay (north) through the Hinchinbrook Channel in the morning. At the end of the hike, though you are satisfied you are naturally very tired. The return boat from George Point to Lucinda takes just a couple of minutes.

Now you want a shower, fresh clothes, and something warm to eat! Since Lucinda was your starting point, you are able to get to these necessities fast. None of this travelling ¾ hour plus before you can relax! Recharge your batteries in Lucinda before leaving.

In case you start from Cardwell, the distance to Ramsay Bay and George Point from there is 35 km and 43.73 km respectively. So, whether you go north to south or south to north, either way, you have to cover a much longer distance to get transferred to the mainland. Also, if you drop off to Lucinda, again you have to avail yourself of a shuttle bus to reach Cardwell via the Bruce Highway.

So, our recommended route is not only a logistically smarter choice but cost-effective as well. You will save more this way than if you would have started from Cardwell.

Reason 2:

To reach the Ramsay Bay, the boat passes through the Hinchinbrook Channel in the early morning. The breeze and scenery of the island and the mainland in the first light is mesmerizing. You don”t want to miss this part of the experience.

Reason 3:

This is more of a reason why Lucinda is preferred over the traditional choice of Cardwell as base of operation from ferry service perspective.

Unlike Cardwell where ferry activities are dependent on tidal water, Lucinda port has no such tidal restriction. Here the water is deeper allowing Absolute North Charters to provide ferry services to our customers as per the plan. See below what we mean –

Cardwell Boat ramp at Low Tide

Cardwell Boat ramp at Low Tide

Lucinda at low tide

Lucinda at low tide

As we mentioned earlier, Absolute North Charters execute everything logistically so that hikers can transfer to and from the island in the most cost-effective and convenient way possible. This also includes taking you back to the mainland. This is because our boat needed to drive past George Point (after dropping off at Ramsay Bay) on the way back to Lucinda, enabling you to keep some additional cash to yourself when you choose Absolute North Charters.

The timing for George Point pickups can be tricky. We have two opposing requirements:

  1. You have a creek to cross just before you reach George Point that is hard if not impossible to cross safely at medium to high tide, and… 
  2. Low tide at George Point itself is not practical for getting the boat close enough to shore for you to board. 

So our pickup times are carefully chosen to take these 2 factors into account. But this also means the transfer from there to Cardwell is not an optimal choice because at that time the tide at Cardwell is not good for a mud-free landing. So for your comfort we usually need to delay the return and wait for the tide.

Meantime those who chose Lucinda as their departure/return point are already showered, changed, and enjoying a warm meal with a cold beverage. 🙂

Our Price

Please see all our boat trips and prices on our Prices, Book & Pay page.