Discover Hinchinbrook Island from Zoe Falls Lookout
Just over an hour’s drive north of Townsville, Hinchinbrook is the gateway to the wet tropics. The shire is surrounded by ancient tropical rainforest, rugged tropical islands and the Great Barrier Reef, and features stunning wilderness, gourmet food, and of course, fishing. Just a stone’s throw from the mainland lies the uninhabited, World Heritage listed Hinchinbrook Island, which teems with wildlife, and is renowned for its biodiversity.
Within just an hour’s drive of Ingham, a full spectrum of fishing opportunities await the avid angler. Try your hand at beach fishing off the pristine Hinchinbrook coastline, or wharf fish from Lucinda and Dungeness fishing wharfs. Alternatively, take a heli-fishing tour up into the Herbert River Gorge for remote area sweetwater fishing, or fish for barramundi in the tranquil waters of the Hinchinbrook Channel. Try setting pots for local mud crabs, or enjoy a day of classic blue water fishing on the Great Barrier Reef.
“Of course fishing is a large drawcard for many visitors to the region” says Hinchinbrook Shire Councillor Mary Brown, “and whether visitors have a boat or not, they can still find innumerable places to throw a line in, relax and enjoy some serenity within the stunning surroundings of the shire.”
Whether it’s a single line thrown casually from a secluded beach, a few lines from a tinny in a tranquil sheltered creek, or a more adventurous fishing excursion in the wide open waters of the coral sea, there’s plenty of water to be fished in Hinchinbrook and its surrounds. Expect to find Australian favourites on the angling menu, like barramundi, mangrove jack, coral trout, red emperor and mud crabs.
Taking part in the International Fishing Series
“Being a professional fishing guide is my passion, and I believe in creating experiences that people talk about for years to come” says Todd Everleigh, who owns Hinchinbrook fishing charter company Crackajack. He continues “I love showcasing the diversity of world class fishing adventures, all accessible right here at our doorstep. I’m here for the first-class fishing and lifestyle.”
There are five beautiful beaches to explore in the Hinchinbrook region, and each has something a little different to offer. Lucinda is an excellent destination for anglers, photographers and families alike. Backed by three miles of deep natural mangrove covered tidal flats, Lucinda is almost an island unto itself, with a long sandy coastline, and the scenic backdrop of Hinchinbrook Island. Lucinda Jetty is the longest service jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, at 5.76km long, and with 660 concrete and steel pylons.
Just south of Lucinda, Forrest Beach is another spectacular, long sandy beach, with a backdrop of tropical islands. Better still, Forrest Beach Hotel offers RV camping right on the water’s edge, and vehicles are allowed to drive on to the beach. Taylors Beach also has nearby camping facilities for RVs at Taylors Beach Holiday Park.
Cheryl and Greg Haupt, who first visited Hinchinbrook in their RV in 2016, and have since decided to move there, say they moved to the area for the beach and fishing culture. “You’ve got a beautiful stretch of beach from Forrest Beach to Taylors Beach, and unlike other councils, you’re allowed to drive on the beach here, which is a great.”
From Lucinda, more intrepid RVers can catch a ferry to Yanks Jetty on Orpheus Island, and Zoe Bay, on Hinchinbrook Island. From Zoe Bay, a short 900m walk from the beach leads to a sparkling freshwater pool at the base of Zoe Falls, for safe swimming.
NATURE AND WILDLIFE
Hinchinbrook is awash with marine life, to be seen from above and below water. The Palm Islands, which are a short ferry ride away from Lucinda, are a hotspot for humpback whales, and other marine life. Townsville Whale Watching provides whale watching tours led by marine biologists, which bring you up close and personal with humpback whales. Tours also feature snorkelling. Diving is also a popular way to experience Hinchinbrook’s underwater world. Remote Area Dive provide diving and snorkelling tours for all experience levels.
Hinchinbrook’s TYTO Wetlands Centre is also a wildlife haven. The 110 hectare rehabilitated wetland area is home to unique flora and fauna including over 240 species of birds and many agile wallabies, and includes extensive walking tracks, bird hides and viewing platforms. RVers can meander along modern architectural walkways, walk through wooded parklands, and scale the 11m observation tower for a bird’s eye view of their surrounds. The TYTO Wetlands are open daily and free to explore.
“Visiting the wonderful TYTO precinct is a great place to begin your journey” says Cllr Mary Brown. “Visitors can spend time exploring the TYTO Regional Gallery, utilizing the extensive library facilities, and visiting the military display, or simply stroll through the amazing walks that wind throughout the entire TYTO Wetlands precinct.”
And of course, no visit to Hinchinbrook would be complete without a trip to Wallaman Falls, which is part of the traditional lands of the Warrgamaygan Aboriginal people. The highest, permanent, single-drop waterfall (268m) in Australia, Wallaman Falls is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, home to some of the oldest rainforests on earth and many endangered plants and animals. On the road to Wallaman Falls, cassowaries can be spotted walking near the road, often with chicks in tow during the breeding season.
WALK THE WALK
As with all wild and beautiful destinations, walking is often the best way to really experience a place. In Hinchinbrook, there’s walks to suit all walkers, whether they be casual city strollers, or multi-day hikers.
The Hinchinbrook Way walk is an easy 1.9km return walk, taking you from the Hinchinbrook Visitor Information Lounge to an elevated walkway suspended above the wetlands. It weaves its way through the TYTO, before descending past public artworks and into the town centre of Ingham. Along the way, pop into Ingham’s restaurants and shops, and see the 42m-long Mercer Lane Mosaic.
The Banggurru walk is another popular easy walk, distancing just 800m, where the whole family can explore the Wet Tropics World Heritage rainforest and the banks of Stony Creek. Spend a moment peering into the rock pools there and you might be rewarded with a glimpse of a platypus, or see a water dragon seeking refuge in the creek. Saw-shelled turtles can also be seen basking on logs or peeking through the surface of the water.
For those who fancy something a little more challenging, the track to Jourama Falls lookout is a one-hour, three kilometre return. Those who make it to the end of the track will be rewarded with views out over the falls and the surrounding rainforest.
WHERE TO STAY
There are four camp spots available to RVers in Hinchinbrook Shire, and five traditional caravan parks too. The CMCA RV Park located at Ingham is near the townships many shops, markets, art galleries, and walking trails, and is available to CMCA members with self-contained vehicles for just $3 per person per night. The Forrest Beach RV Park is also perfect for the self-contained traveller, and directly fronts the ocean. The 48-hour stay is great for soaking up the sun and sand, before exploring the rest of the region.
The Wetlands Observation Platform is an excellent viewpoint for the passionate bird twitcher
For those looking to stay a little longer, the Forrest Beach Hotel Motel and Caravan Park offers powered and unpowered sites. Brain Cook, who frequently stays at Forrest Beach Hotel Motel and Caravan Park in his 28ft Space Star van, said of the caravan park: “It’s bloody beautiful here, it’s just gorgeous. There’s plenty of shady spots, and you’re only about 50ft from the water. It’s very relaxing.
“I’ve been around Australia a couple of times and this is one of the best spots. I do a bit of fishing, a bit of walking. There’s barramundi, mackerel, whiting. It’s quiet this time of year (January), and there’s about five other RVs in the park.
“Lots of people have been coming here every year for 20 or 30 years, and I’ve been coming since 2010.”
Brian, whose wife died nine years ago, travels on his own and says all the regulars at the caravan park get along very well.
In the middle of an urban wetland, the TYTO 48-hour RV park is just over an hours drive from Townsville, and offers an intimate area allocated to RV parking for visitors to stay in the region and enjoy TYTO and the surrounding Hinchinbrook district. TYTO’s self-contained RV parking site is open form 1 March to 30 November annually and permits are $10 per vehicle per night.
Tags: Hinchinbrook Ingham Queensland RV Park TYTO RV Friendly Town RVFT Great Barrier Reef Lucinda Jetty Turtle Townsville
Written: Fri 01 Mar 2019
Printed: March, 2019
The Shire of Hinchinbrook is located in Northern Queensland, 150km north of Townsville, and 190km south of Cairns along the A1 Highway.
For more information on fishing, walking, cultural tours, beaches, and nature experiences, see HERE.
The CMCA RV Park is located at Ingham, on the corner of Cooper and Davidson Streets. Forest Beach RV Park and TYTO RV Park offer a 48-hour stay.
Kookaburra Holiday Park in Cardwell, and Cardwell Van Park also provide RV sites nearby. BIG4 Beachcomber Coconut Holiday Park is 50km from Hinchinbrook Island.