Spectacular Hinchinbrook Island

Hinchinbrook Island Circumnavigation

Hinchinbrook Island can be described as Jurassic Park meets Blue Lagoon.

It is a prominent feature of the seascape off Cardwell and to say it is spectacular is an understatement.

Covered by TWO world heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics, it abounds in natural beauty.

Despite being pretty much de-leafed (is that a word haha) during Cyclone Yasi in 2011 it has recovered well. 

In late October 2020 during a calm weather window, we circumnavigated Hinchinbrook Island in our 6.5m Cairns Custom Craft Northwind. 

Watch the video of our circumnavigation around the Hinchinbrook Island.


Hinchinbrook Island lies equidistant between Cairns and Townsville in Far North Queensland, Australia.

Known for big barramundi, the area is spectacular to say the least.

To explore the island in it's entirety, glamour weather is advisable.

However the mainland side can be traversed in all but the most extreme weather conditions.

Although do beware if you have a small boat as the Hinchinbrook Island channel can chop up.

We suggest taking note of our blog - driving a small boat in bad weather for tips on returning across the channel if this happens.

And for some real horror stories check out our storms and sea in small boats interviews.

Real life stories so beware heading on the outside the island in a small boat unless you have good weather.

Like we had...

East coast of Hinchinbrook Island.

East coast Hinchinbrook Island on a glamour day.

Exploring Hinchinbrook Island and it's many creeks.

Exploring Hinchinbrook Island and it's many creeks.


Places to Explore

We launched at Port Hinchinbrook (near Cardwell) and headed south to Lucinda.

There are a number of creeks including Deluge Creek, Gayundah Creek and Paluma Creek that are well worth a visit if the tide is rising.

When visiting the area allow more than one day as it's advisable to reach Zoe Bay on the eastern side around an hour before the high.


Zoe Falls Hinchinbrook Island

One of the most spectacular sights of the island is a visit to Zoe Falls.

It's a short walk (around 800 m) from the creek where you'll need to secure your boat.

This is croc country so you'll need to time it so you are not stranded and have to swim to your vessel or high and dry.

We recommend arriving an hour before the high and returning half an hour after so you can have a good look around.

There is a rocky creek to traverse, but otherwise it's pretty easy going.

The falls are home to Jungle Perch and they are protected so no fishing!

Compare the size in the our previous trip to this trip several years ago and it looks like the large fish have been poached.

Secure the boat before a walk to Zoe Falls

Secure the boat before a walk to Zoe Falls

Zoe Falls Camp Ground entrance

Zoe Falls Camp Ground entrance where you can offload passengers before securing the boat. Be vigilant for crocs if the water is murky!

Zoe Falls Hinchinbrook Island in the dry season

Zoe Falls Hinchinbrook Island in the dry season


Ramsay Bay and the Thorsborne Trail

One of the most amazing sights is travelling up the creeks from Missionary Bay to the pontoon and mangrove boardwalk.

This is the best place to access Ramsay bay and can be reached in most weather conditions.

It also marks the start of the Thorsborne Trail, a 30 km hike and one of the TOP TEN best walks in the world.

To get there without a boat call my mate Brad from Hinchinbrook Island Cruises. ph: 0499 335 383

Brad was a ranger on the island with my wife Karen for a decade and knows it like the back of his hand.


Ramsay Bay Hinchinbrook Island

Ramsay Bay Hinchinbrook Island with Mt Bowen as the backdrop. If you look hard enough you might just find some fossilised crabs and pippi shells. It's a marvellous place to go beachcombing. Also likely our footprints will be the only ones on the sand.


Fishing the region

Over the last decade I have fished extensively in this region and I have to say, it is one of the most productive big barra regions in the country.

During the barra closure we fish for golden snapper, GT's (giant trevally) and also run into tuna  and mackerel.

Even if you don't have a boat or want to drag it up here, there is a boat hire service where you can also pick up the best fresh bait I'd almost eat it myself.

Drop in and see Annette and her team at Port of Callright next to the Port Hinchinbrook boat ramp.

Oh and they do reef charters as well!

Port Hinchinbrook bait supplies

Annette Swaine with some locally caught bait for purchase. Port of Call also sells tackle, ice, boat hire and reef charters.


And although I no longer do fishing charters having retired in 2018 to focus on our Fish Smarter online courses, my brother Ian Moody does. And he's a bloody good angler. Catching barra must run in the family haha.

Ian Moody and Hinchinbrook barra

My younger brother Ian (right) with a nice Hinchinbrook barra for his charter client.

You can contact Ian for charter via our contact page.

Click here to get in touch with Ian Moody for a barra charter to Hinchinbrook Island.


So what's stopping you coming to visit Hinchinbrook Island?

You can fly into either Townsville or Cairns airport and hire a car for the scenic drive to Cardwell.

And if you plan on bringing your boat, be sure and take a look at our online fishing courses.

Students of our signature course Barra Basics have caught thousands of metre plus barramundi using our methods.

If you are going to spend a ton of cash on boats, tackle and fuel, the best bet to maximise that investment is in knowledge.

Barra Basics online fishing course

One of our first students Chris Long fishing in Bundaberg. The course works everywhere barra are found.

Learn to catch barramundi with Barra Basics course.

Before setting off on a trip to catch barra, why not invest some $ in knowledge. The course will allow you to plan your fishing locations well in advance so you can be where the big fish are when they are!

To check our our Barra Basics course >> click here <<




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About The Author

Ryan Moody

Ryan Moody started his fishing career on the reef boats before catching bucket list marlin for the likes of champion heavy tackle angler Johnno Johnson, INXS and the King of Sweden. Branching out in the late 80's to guided barramundi fishing, Ryan has made a name for himself as a Big Barramundi specialist and to date has put clients onto over 2000 metre plus barra. That is over 2 kilometres of metre plus barra! With attitudes changing from 'keep all you can' towards catch and release, Ryan has decided to share his extensive knowledge and hopefully inspire people of all ages to get out from behind the computer screen/TV and into the fishing outdoors lifestyle he has spent his life perfecting.

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1 Comment

  • Geoffrey Zerbst

    Reply Reply January 8, 2021

    Good one Thanks for shareing knowledge of area and fishing tips,,Keep up good work ,,,

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