Spectacular Hinchinbrook Island

What a majestic, spectacular island Hinchinbrook is! It is very reminiscent of the Polynesian islands, with lofty jagged peaks straight down to the ocean.

This mountainous island is separated from the mainland by the narrow Hinchinbrook channel, about 26 miles long. As well as the main channel there are numerous creeks interlaced through mangrove forest. Plenty of protected anchorages there, but being a haven for sandflies and mosquitoes, we opted to stay on the ocean side of the island.

Sue enjoying a cruisy sail
Just like Polynesia
Approaching Zoe Bay

Zoe Bay would have to be the most spectacular anchorage we have ever been to, although one of the least comfortable! A wide bay covered in pristine white sand and surrounded by tropical rainforest, this is a most magnificent site. You look around and all you can say is wow! Towering mountains up to 1140m high, a long sandy beach, a lagoon at the northern end, a creek at the southern end, a waterfall and fresh water swimming holes up high out of the crocodiles reach… It is stunning.

Hinchinbrook Island Peaks
Magnificent Mt Bowen

We stayed at Zoe Bay for one night. Although we were there in very light conditions, the anchorage is probably never free from swell. We sat in this beautiful spot, beam to the swell, pleased to have east-west oriented beds so we could not roll out in the middle of the night! We did not have much sleep but the scenery was worth the discomfort.

The day we arrived, we walked the length of the very long beach to check out the lagoon at the northern end. We were there at dead low tide. We wanted to see if there was enough room for Anui to get in at high tide, knowing that at low tide you are locked in. We could fit with enough water depth to float as long as we anchored fore and aft so as not to swing into sandbanks, but what about the sandflies and the crocs? Mmm… Pass!

Here is a quick slide show of our beach walk. Swipe left to move between images.

  • Zoe Bay, Hinchinbrook Island
  • Zoe Bay, Hinchinbrook
  • Red-capped Dotterel
  • Red-capped Dotterel couple
  • Zoe Bay Lagoon
  • Hinchinbrook Island Peaks

The next morning, we went ashore again, but this time we went to the southern end of the bay for a walk up to a waterfall and a soak in the rock pools. What a view, and what a refreshing swim in crystal clear water! Here is another slide show to give you a feel for the scenery.

  • The waterfall above Zoe Bay
  • Zoe Bay from the waterfall
  • Rock pool above Zoe Bay
  • Goanna

We loved Zoe Bay and will definitely be back there! However one rough night is enough! We sailed from Zoe Bay to Shepherd Bay at the northern end of Hinchinbrook on 31 July, enjoying a less bouncy night there, and the next day we continued our trek north. Next hops: North and Dunk Islands!

15 thoughts on “Spectacular Hinchinbrook Island

  1. That island has wonderful scenery, tremendous views! I liked it. Nice Red-capped Dotterels too! 🙂

  2. Wow. I cant wait to get there (Zoe Bay, we have been to the croc infested west side of the island) but might need to be next year. The scenery is spectacular!

  3. Glad you enjoyed Hinchinbrook. It is indeed a special spot. The northern lagoon must have silted up since we were there 20yrs ago! There were 3 multis in there all swinging to anchor. Didn’t see any crocs but yes the mossies were hungry.

    • Hi Graham. It really was stunning. 20 years since you were there?! Well may be things have changed. Would need to do a serious dinghy scouting before committing to get Anui in there!

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