Across the channel from Cardwell, Hinchinbrook Island looms huge and green, with mangroves rising to forest along the mountain range that forms the island’s spine, peaking at Mount Bowen. The island’s drier east side, hidden behind the mountains, has long beaches separated by headlands and the occasional sluggish creek. This is Bandjin Aboriginal land, and though early Europeans reported the people as friendly, attitudes later changed and nineteenth-century “dispersals” had the same effect here as elsewhere. The island was never subsequently occupied, and apart from a single resort (currently closed), Hinchinbrook remains much as it was two hundred years ago. Today, the island’s main attraction is the superb Thorsborne Trail, a moderately demanding hiking track along the east coast, taking in forests, mangroves, waterfalls and beaches.

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