Queensland Notes [21]

By David Malcolm

This is a brief note on a North Queensland trip that was just completed. Four of us did a marathon drive from Sydney directly to Lucinda and spent 6 days (incl. one rest day) paddling around the eastern and northern sides of Hinchinbrook Island.

Stage two involved a considerably more extensive paddle around the Whitsunday region. We started from Mackay and worked our way through to Airlie Beach for 12 days, restocked with supplies and then returned 8 days later.

Significant/interesting points that I found were:

  • Hinchinbrook is very pretty and has very enthusiastic mosquitoes on the Eastern side The weather was distinctly more tropical than later on and the water was not crystal clear like postcards
  • There is a fabulous fresh water swimming hole at Zoe Bay.
  • We saw warnings but no signs of crocodiles
  • Cane Toads hibernate: we only saw some racing in a pub.
  • Three days out of the weeks in the Whitsundays were like the travel brochures. We had apparently unseasonably strong winds according to the 100 beaches book. We frequently had winds over 20 knots.
  • Seas are flat but can get chopped up by the wind Caution is definitely required for beginners and inexperienced paddlers.
  • Tides did not prove a problem and did not affect any plans. Tidal ranges are large which often meant long carries up the beach.
  • Very few people camp and campsites are generally well protected.
  • Paddling enthusiasm waned towards the trips end.
  • I thought the nicest place was Goldsmith Island.
  • Didn’t scare the fish but diving lure was the most successful.
  • A guided commercial trip to outer reef is well worth the effort.
  • Should have done more snorkelling and checked out the fishing more fully.