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 there 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.

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?

Well, 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 for.

  • First, this is cost-effective and naturally a logistically smarter choice, saving hikers’ money while allowing us to provide you better service as it makes our job easier!
  • Second, this section of the trip on the ferry to Hinchinbrook Island is very beautiful along the Hinchinbrook channel in its morning glory which you would otherwise have missed. This is an experience every hiker must have while hitting the Thorsborne 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, especially at the end of the trek. 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 exhausted and can’t wait to get back to your hotel in the town. So, it’s obvious to cover the greater distance when reaching the island and keep the shortest route for the end.

Let’s see what if you make Cardwell your base. Check the two pictures below.

hinchingbrook island national park Hinchinbrook island

You have two options –

  • Transfer to Ramsay Bay – Then you cover 35 km first (pic 1) and hike through the Thorsborne trail and end in George Point near Lucinda. Therefore, now you have to do the 43.73 km ferry trip to reach Cardwell, where you have hotel bookings or keep your car. Another option is to take the shuttle from Lucinda to reach Cardwell via the Bruce Highway.
  • Transfer to George Point – So you’re hiking from south to north, doing the larger distance first. After completing your journey at Ramsay Bay, the transfer to Cardwell by boat now is 35 km.

In both cases, you have to cover a near-similar distance after the hike. Doesn’t make much difference, does it?


These two pictures are for when you make Lucinda your base of operation.

hinchinbrook island national park lucinda  distance 4.37km

  • Transfer to George Point – This distance is just 4.7km. So you can start your hike in the very early morning. But since you finish up at Ramsay Bay, a transfer from there to Lucinda is a staggering 74.34 km – not a wise choice after you are exhausted from the hike.
  • Transfer to Ramsay Bay – This means you cover the 74.34 km long distance by ferry through the Hinchinbrook channel first – at full energy enjoying the morning sun and fresh air. At the end of the journey at George Point, you return to Lucinda – an ultra-short distance.

Opting for the second choice allows you to have a few hours extra to rest and organize your stuff to prepare for your return journey from Lucinda.

Another point to note here is while the Cardwell-to-Cardwell round trip distance is 78.73 km, the Lucinda-to-Lucinda distance comprises 78.71 km in total. This is a nominal difference yet better logistically speaking. It takes about an hour and 55 minutes to cover the entire distance.


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

Ferry To Hinchinbrook Island from Lucinda

This is our rate for transferring from Lucinda to reach Ramsay Bay (Outbound) and return pickup from George Point to Lucinda (Inbound) at the end of the hike –

  • Adult (18+) – $155
  • Teen (13-17) – $145
  • Child (5-12) – $135
  • Toddler (0-4) – Free

Ferry To Hinchinbrook Island from Cardwell

In case you still decide to transfer from Cardwell to Ramsay Bay and do the return journey from George Point to Cardwell, here’s what we charge –

  • Adult (18+) – $165
  • Teen (13-17) – $155
  • Child (5-12) – $145
  • Toddler (0-4) – Free

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. That’s because of Cardwell not being optimal to shift 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 at Ramsay Bay. This gives us the opportunity to pass on the cash saving benefit to you, charging only $115 for transfer from Lucinda to George Point and back. As we said, we focus on client benefit and are much better prepared logistically than anyone.