Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island Questions/Answers

Queensland specific bushwalking discussion.
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Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island Questions/Answers

Postby Andrew » Fri 04 Aug, 2017 12:04 pm

Hi all,
Just had a magic 8 days walking the Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island. Just waiting for a bus for 4 hours so thought I would do a post to answer all the questions I had before the walk. Just sing out if there is something I have forgotten to mention.

Context – I am 54 and we had/have to be in QLD for 2 family events about 3 weeks apart so rather than go home to Tassie I found this walk. My wife, having just done 27 days on the Larapinta with me wanted to go home to our horses plus she reacts to sand fly bites so I decided to go on my own.

Mozzies/Sand flies?
The sand flies and mozzies are everywhere. I had Bushman’s DEET and a tea tree/eucalyptus one as well. Neither worked very well and in fact the first night at Nina Beach I sprayed DEET straight on my head and then put on a fly net and the sand flies still just bit straight through the net and the DEET. The best is to be well covered. I wore lightweight long pants the whole time and short gaiters plus long sleeve shirt with the collar turned up and fingerless sun gloves and a hat. Mozzie coils seemed to work well for mozzies and would highly recommend taking them to get a bit of a rest at meal times. A tent with good bug netting is essential. Even leaving the tent and going to the bathroom meant killing 4 mozzies and 6 sand flies just from opening the door for 5 seconds.

Crocs?
There are lots of signs to warn about crocodiles and they are not like the boil water signs all over Australia that are mostly just to cover themselves so you never really know whether to boil the water or not. The people who live here would not swim in the ocean or in any of the lagoons. There was a group of students washing their dishes in South Zoe Creek which is crazy especially at night. Two separate groups I know of swam in Little Ramsay Bay Lagoon which is also crazy. The only time I felt at risk was walking south around the lagoon to get to Sunken Reef Bay and a couple of times I had to get within 5 feet of the water which is dangerous but better than wading across which the track does. Even though you can see the bottom and can spend ages looking for crocs they are nearly impossible to spot. Really seems silly that Parks don’t spend ½ a day and make the track around the Sunken Reef lagoon properly. The difference between sharks and crocs is that sharks aren’t planning on killing you whereas crocs are killing machines so no matter how hot you are or how inviting the water looks just don’t swim except in the waterfalls. The people on the boat trip at the end and myself discussed these risky actions we witnessed with John the boat operator and he said that he can't believe people are so silly and that it is only a matter of time before someone dies ignoring the signs.

Camps?
I camped in every camp and all had a toilet except Banksia Bay and Sunken Reef Bay. Nina Bay toilet had heaps of ants in the toilet so always take a head torch to check what may be down the shute. Some camps had a table and a chux would have been handy to wipe them down.

Swimming?
The Zoe Falls and Mulligan Falls are superb for swimming. There are a few pools on top of Zoe Falls but find the one right before the water drops it is the ultimate infinity pool. There are lots of yabbies in these pools and they seem to want to all come for your toes. Not sure if they are inquisitive or intending to nip. The fish love being fed and I hope it was OK to feed them sunflower seeds and crushed up pecans. They can anticipate where your throw is going and my challenge was to pick a fish and try and see if I could get the seed where that particular fish would get it. Be super careful around the waterfalls as the rocks can be super slippery. I always wore my walking boots and took my walking poles when rock hopping.

Water?
There was water at all camps except Georges Point. Some meant a 400m walk. At Little Ramsay Bay go North up the beach first and then it is easier to get far enough up the river to get above the salt. Always be super careful about crocs as they are impossible to spot. At Sunken Reef Bay walk North to the end of the beach to a river there.

White Tailed Native Rats?
All camps had rat boxes except Sunken Reef Bay. Don’t forget anything even an empty muslie bar wrapper might mean a hole in your pack. Also put toiletries etc in the boxes - anything they might eat. At Sunken Reef I used 4 empty 1.5 litre coke bottles and you thread them on some cord and hang your food in between the bottles. There are bottles that have washed up that you can use. Take some cord with you and remember the food will be hanging and it might rain so needs to be in dry bags. (see picture on my facebook site – address below)

Track?
The only time I got lost was the South end of Nina Beach. There is an arrow that points at a path which has some sort of cable coming down the path. I followed it for 200 meters but it just turned around in a big circle back to the beach. The upside was I saw a 10 foot python on that track. The actual track is right down near the sea and goes around the rocks. John Chapmans notes were good from his book Bushwalks in Australia which the Launceston Library had. There are track notes on the National Parks site and a fairly ordinary map. John from Absolute North Charters website has some notes and an annotated map in a blog. I had magic weather and the track was dry and creek crossings easy. I didn’t get wet feet and never took my boots off anywhere but I can imagine it could be super muddy and the creeks pretty scary. This weekend there is 100mm of rain forecast and with such a huge catchment some of the rivers could be impossible to cross without waiting.

Transport?
I flew to Cairns for a few days the caught the bus to Ingham for $56 and John from Absolute North Charters picked me up and I stayed at the Lucinda Hotel/Motel for $65. We left Lucinda wharf at 8am and after a scenic trip up the inside of the island John dropped us off at Ramsay Bay. 8 days later John picked us up at 1pm from Georges Point (but was early at about 12:30) for the short trip back to Lucinda. Cost of the round trip boat is $140. Stayed another night at Lucinda and John dropped me back to Ingham to catch the bus to Townsville at $36 and I am flying from there in a few days. Wear your raincoat on the boat for wind chill or any spray.

How long to take?
4 days is the regular walk camping at Little Ramsay, Zoe & Mulligans and it is easy walking. Still time to climb Nina Peak on the way which is only marked with a cairn on the saddle. I waited an hour on Blacksand Beach to see if the cloud would clear and it just lifted about 11:30am and I had magic views. I had 8 days and it was perfect. I camped at every camp and had 2 nights at Zoe Beach. Staying at Sunken Reef meant it was a short walk to Mulligans Falls which has a maximum of 1 night stay but I had more time there because I was closer. I had a great mix of alone/reading time like at Banksia and Sunken Reef but also company at the other camps and waterfalls. Can walk around to Agnes Island from Banksia Bay and even supposed to be able to walk to the island at low tide but my tides weren’t right. I had the whole day at Zoe Falls on my own which would be unusual I expect. Zoe Falls are amazing and are about ½ hour of easy walking from Zoe Beach camp and I left camp early on the last day to get some sunrise shots but I did nearly step on a small snake that seemed to own the path and refused to get off. The last days walk to Georges Point is really easy on a hard beach if you get the tide right. It is useful to get the tide for your last day and work backwards when planning your trip. In my case of 8 days I planned low tide at 12:45 on the last day which also meant I had low tides at 9am, 10am etc for the start of my walk on day 1 and 2 etc when walking on beaches. I left at 9:15 for the Georges Bay walk to catch the boat and was there before 11am so have another swim or pack up and go to Mulligan falls for breakfast. John often arrives a bit after noon depending on how his drop off goes so have a chat to the other people who might be on his boat and see what time they are starting to walk so as not to hold anyone up too much. I crossed the tidal creek right down near the sea without getting my boots wet 2 hours before low tide.

When to go?
Being a Tassie lad I wouldn’t go at any other time than the depths of winter and at the end of July/early Aug I had perfect weather.

Animals?
I saw a 10ft python, 50cm grey/brown snake, heaps of turtles at Banksia Bay and some Dugong, lots of large goannas at camps checking for crumbs and also up trees, yabbies in all the freshwater ponds, fish (maybe archer fish) in all the waterfalls and lots of birds

Clothes?
I only had one set of clothes with spare undies and socks. I also had swimmers. When I washed my clothes every other day they dried quickly or just put back on as it isn’t cold. I didn’t get my sleeping bag out at all and just slept on my mat in my clothes but I did use my silk liner on 3 of the nights when it was a little colder say around 4am. I would still carry a light sleeping bag next time just in case. I didn’t carry a fleece and certainly didn’t need one (others might) planning to wear my raincoat if needed or get in my tent.

What to pack apart from normal?
I always pack Resolve Plus and needed it for a thigh rash due to the heat. I always pack my Kindle and I read several books. Hydralyte Sports I packed 2 per day and used them all even on rest days as I do sweat a lot and it is hot. Maybe a tiny day pack for Nina Peak and Zoe Falls or just empty your main pack if staying 2 nights at Zoe Bay. I always take earplugs. I had 2*2 litre Platypus bottles plus 3*600ml Gatorade bottles for water to save more than one trip to water. A 750ml pee bottle saves doing a bathroom run in amongst to mozzies and then 5 minutes waking up while killing those that got in your tent.

Food?
I had Carmans Instant Oats for Breakfast, VitaWheat and Kraft Dairylea Cheese for lunch, Freeze Dried 1 serve meal at night with a bit of extra Back Country Freeze Dried Instant Rice as 1 serve meal is never quite enough. You just add a bit more water and wait at least 20 minutes (rather than 10 min like it says). Plus 75g of nuts/seeds and other bars for snacks etc.

Fishing?
I didn’t take a rod but wish I had. Need to be super careful of crocs but there are lots of rocks to fish from. Takes some herbs etc and a small pot lid to poach your catch.

Some photos here:-
https://www.facebook.com/andrew.richman ... 8494647293

Ask anything else you think I might be able to help with.
Cheers,
Andrew
Last edited by Andrew on Mon 07 Aug, 2017 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island Questions/Answers

Postby ofuros » Fri 04 Aug, 2017 4:21 pm

Helpful info Andrew, thanks for sharing it...enjoyed your pics on Facebook.
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
https://ofuros.exposure.co/
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Re: Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island Questions/Answers

Postby Lizzy » Fri 04 Aug, 2017 8:37 pm

Great info thanks! Sounds like we won't be needing sleeping bags in October!!
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Re: Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island Questions/Answers

Postby Lizzy » Fri 29 Sep, 2017 5:45 am

Anyone been up that way very recently and want to comment on water situation, bugs & how cool at night? Trying to decide on whether Aldi quilts will be warm enough....
Cheers
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Re: Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island Questions/Answers

Postby bauplenut » Fri 29 Sep, 2017 10:13 pm

Three weeks ago, There is water in Warawilla Creek (Little Ramsay Bay) but you have to go about two hundred metres upstream to where it is flowing. Mozzies around dawn and dusk. Sandflies are bad in the mangroves.
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Re: Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island Questions/Answers

Postby Lizzy » Sat 30 Sep, 2017 5:09 am

Thanks Bauplenut :)
Will report back on how we go...
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Re: Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island Questions/Answers

Postby Lizzy » Sun 08 Oct, 2017 1:42 pm

Just finished the track today! Was Awesome but very HOT!! Will add more details later but if going make sure you book your boat transfers with John at Absolute North Charters- he is a local with great knowledge of the tides, crossings, crocs, water etc. some girls got caught out using another service and weren't given good info- they ended up stuck on the wrong side of a tidal crossing with no water....
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Re: Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island Questions/Answers

Postby Andrew » Sun 08 Oct, 2017 4:12 pm

Super Lizzy,

Looking forward to a link to your photos.
Yes it was as hot as I would fancy (being a Tassie Lad) even in late July.
I have talked my wife into doing the 1000km Bibbulmun Track next year and booked flights, so super excited about that :)
How great are Zoe and Mulligan Falls :)

Cheers, Andrew
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Re: Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island Questions/Answers

Postby Andrew » Wed 07 Nov, 2018 11:46 am

I have found some great plastic bottles to make food safe from rats/mice.

Just been on the Bibbulmun track and had no mice issues whereas other people had some problems.

I bought 2 Lucozade energy drinks - the bottles are light, smooth and small at 380 mls and then drill a hole in the bottom and lid and thread some cord through them and then hang food (and toothpaste etc.) between them in dry bags.

The cord needs to be pretty tight between two trees otherwise if it sags too much the bottles rest up against your dry bags full of food and may not spin the rodents off properly so you need about say 4 meters of cord that will be OK to get tight.

Only need a system for Sunken Reef Bay if you are going there as rat boxes at other camps - but it is also a good tip for other places that have a reputation :)
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