They range from Hinchinbrook Island, 39,000 ha, the largest National Park Island in Australia to tiny Purtaboi Island situated just of the coast of renowned Dunk Island.
These islands present a magnificent landscape of tropical sandy beaches, precipitous headlands, rugged mountains, waterfalls and dense rainforest, all of which offer the most spectacular backdrop for our sea kayaking adventure. Paddling the coast of Hinchinbrook Island and camping on the white sandy beaches is a true taste of paradise. The uninhabited island offers stunning views and untouched beaches. This expedition style trip will take you away from all the pressures of today’s lifestyle and let you relax and enjoy nature at it’s best. As we paddle the coastline the breathtaking beauty of this island wilderness will be revealed, the lush tropical rainforest gives way to towering granite peaks, and below are countless sheltered sandy bays. 3-4 hours paddling each day allows plenty of time to explore Zoe Falls, swim in the crystal clear fresh water pool, relax and enjoy this protected pristine environment.
Evenings are spent camping under the stars, enjoying some local tales from our experienced guides and a glass of wine over a delicious camp dinner.
Hinchinbrook Island is part of the UNESCO, World Heritage Listing for it’s unique flora and fauna. The waters of the Coral Sea which surround Hinchinbrook Island are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, world renowned for it’s abundant marine life offering us a chance to view sea turtles, dolphins and dugong. Humpback whales migrate along the islands coastline and are frequently sighted during late July & August. These islands offer excellent conditions to view many sea birds including, osprey, white-breasted sea eagles, shy oystercatchers and endangered beach curlews. Fitness Level This moderate level trip will be most enjoyed by participants who are reasonably active and happy to participate in paddling, swimming/snorkelling and walking for up to six hours a day. Due to weather conditions some days may include some strenuous activity. Pre-trip meeting: Our pre-trip meeting will be held at 7:00pm on the evening prior to our departure around the pool at Mission Reef Resort, Wongaling Beach . Our guides will introduce themselves and discuss the planned itinerary and answer any questions you may have regarding your trip. They will also issue you with dry-bags for your personal belongings, these should be packed and ready when you are collected the following morning. Any belongings not being taken may be stored at our office.
An early start is necessary, often 7.30am but will be confirmed by your guides as tidal change can affect departure times. We drive by bus or troopy to our departure point at Lucinda two hours south of Mission Beach. Here we pack our kayaks, practise our paddling skills and all safety procedures. We set off across the channel to lunch at Georges Point our first landing site on Hinchinbrook island. We then paddle on taking in the southern reaches of Hinchinbrook Island. Our first night camp is at Mulligans Bay, Sunken Reef or even Zoe bay depending on wind and weather.
Following the coast north we pass the most easterly section of the Island, Hillock Point and into stunning Zoe Bay with the verdant backdrop of Mount Bowen (1142 metres) and the Thumb. Here we can explore the rainforest, following Zoe Creek up to the refreshing clear pools of Zoe Falls. A relaxing swim and early lunch is enjoyed before we continue along the coast where our days paddle finishes at sheltered Banksia Bay.
On these days we paddle past many secluded little coves and beaches hidden along the rocky coastline and on to the eight kilometre length of Ramsey Bay curving north to Cape Sandwich with Channel Rock and Eva Island just off the coast. Rounding Cape Sandwich is one of our crux moves for the trip and can involve some specific timing regarding wind and swell. The high sand dunes and sparse vegetation of this part of the island contrast greatly with the craggy grandeur of the previous days paddling. We end our days at Blacksand Beach and Sunset Beach with a sunset drink and a hearty supper.
Heading towards the northern point of the island we paddle across the eponymous Shepard Bay towards Cape Richards where the pandanus and casuarinas seem to defy the elements by surviving on this exposed rocky headland. After lunching on beautiful Orchid Beach we are back on the water. we paddle around the northern headland of Hinchinbrook Island and make a short crossing to Goold Island’s sheltered beaches.
We set off leaving Hinchinbrook and Goold Islands behind us heading north. This is our longest open water crossing to the verdant rainforest isles of the Family Island Group. These tiny islands are surrounded in fringing reef with white sandy beaches. The sheltered campground offers beautiful views back towards Hinchinbrook’s lofty peaks and west to view the sunset over the mainland.
Our last day on the water has a leisurely start as we leave Wheeler Island to pass Bedarra and Timana Islands, two of the eleven that make up the Family Islands. Dunk Island is the most well known of these islands and the last stop of our expedition, here we have a celebratory lunch before we paddle back to the coast. South Mission Beach is our final destination and time to unpack our gear and say goodbye with a feeling of great achievement at having experienced a very special place, which luckily has changed little with the passage of time.