Ferry to Hinchinbrook Island – Bursting the Myth

Ferry to Hinchinbrook Island. Hinchinbrook Island is a delight for hikers and bushwalkers who want to experience the island’s pristine beauty of the wilderness. With soaring mountainous peaks, the island is wild and rugged offering sand dunes, secluded pocket beaches, headland outcrops, carved drainage conduits, and forest. Hinchinbrook Island hosts some unique endangered species along with what you find on the mainland.

The popular Thorsborne Trail stretches north to south from Ramsay Bay to George Point near Lucinda. The 32km long trail is often deemed difficult due to being rough, narrow, and rocky in places. The striking yet unusual beauty of the flora and fauna attracts hikers and adventure-lovers every year.

There are two entry points to reach Hinchinbrook Island – the town of Cardwell to the NORTH of the island and Lucinda to the SOUTH. To reach the island, you need to take a boat from these points and Absolute North Charters offers a ferry to Hinchinbrook Island FROM BOTH POINTS.

Whichever town you decide to begin your trip from, you have to come back to at the end of the hike. So, our recommendation would be to start your journey from Lucinda and begin your Thorsborne trail hike from the north side. This puts you closer to your car and the nearest airport in the city of Townsville.

Now, hikers seem to have some misconceptions regarding the transfer method and distance of the island from Cardwell and Lucinda. This has led in some cases to misunderstandings, leading to unnecessary extra cost to you. We were surprised to learn from one hiker, who was told that the transfer from Lucinda to Ramsay Bay is 60 to 68 miles!


You can and should say bye-bye to the ‘older’ way of using land-based transfer i.e. shuttle to get to and return from the Thorsborne trail on the island. A ferry to Hinchinbrook Island trumps it any day. But, why?

We have weighed various options available to hikers and come up with the best one – leave from Lucinda to get to Ramsay Bay. There are two solid reasons we are suggesting this transfer option.

  • First, this is cost-effective and naturally a logistically smarter choice, saving hiker’s money while allowing us to provide you a much more scenic Hinchinbrook Channel cruise on your way to the Ramsay Bay Boardwalk to begin your hike.
  • Second, It gets you there by 9.30am and leaves you with only a 10 minute transfer back to the mainland at Lucinda from George Point after you finished the Thorsnorne Trail.

Hinchinbrook island

Now, let’s check why it is a practical logistic choice.

We at Absolute North Charters know what hikers desire and how they feel because we hike it ourselves, so, when its time to go home, we know our hikers want come off as conveniently as possible. In the beginning, you have loads of energy (probably bouncing on your feet to explore the island), but after completing the challenging trail you’re naturally depleted of energy and can’t wait to get back to your hotel on the mainland to grab a shower.
So, it’s obviously best to cover the greater distance when reaching the island at the beginning of the hike and keep the shortest route for the end as departure from Lucinda is not tide dependant. On your return to the mainland, we are again not hindered by tide, in fact Lucinda is the only port of the two that can boast that very important fact.

The fact is Lucinda is less hampered by tidal constraints than Cardwell and cruising through the Hinchinbrook Channel is best done in the morning hours not, in the middle of the day.

Cardwell to Cardwell is problematic because Cardwell cannot be accessed during many hours of any given day except during neap tides.


Absolute North Charters provide the best price possible for the round trip.

Ferry To Hinchinbrook Island from Lucinda

Another Reason We Prefer Lucinda over Cardwell

Lucinda serves as the better operational port for ferry service as it has NO TIDAL RESTRICTIONS. This means Lucinda has deeper water for longer on any given day. We prioritize our clients’ interest and this provides better efficiency and ferry service availability than the Cardwell port – meaning we can better plan to get hikers on and off the island with ease.

You can find different pickup times between separate transfer businesses, actually you can’t, in fact we are the only ferry service that display our departure and pick up times That’s because of Cardwell not being optimal to tranfer from George Point since the pick up from George point is done on a low tide. Absolute North Charters ferry must drive past George Point on its way back to Lucinda after dropping hikers off at Ramsay Bay. This gives us the opportunity to pass on the cash saving benefit to you, it was Absolute North Charters that removed the shuttle bus to Cardwell from Lucinda by transferring through the Hinchinbrook Channel because it makes sense and it saves you money. As we said, we focus on client benefit and are much better prepared logistically than anyone.

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