Hinchinbrook Is - Gayundah Creek
Reviewed Aug 2017
We visited this secluded area whilst cruising on our keelboat in Aug 2017.
The creek is one of four navigable intrusions into the mangroves of the island, accessed from Hinchinbrook Channel.
Words cannot describe the views looking up to Mt Bowen and her friends.
Minimum depths at the barred entrance would be around 2.5m at LAT.
Once inside, the main problem is too much water, until around 0.6 nm in from the entry, where depths of around 4m at LAT can be obtained.
As can be expected there are probably crocs and certainly insect - but it is a great bolt hole in which to ride out a blow. You need to be mindful of bullets off Mt Bowen if you have hung the washing out.
Crocs, sand flies and midgies. No where to go ashore.
Queensfish and Barramundi
Reviewed Nov 2016
Hinchinbrook is an incredible labyrinth of mangrove creeks, rocky headlands, and bays set against a spectacular mountain backdrop. The fishing for barra and big pelagics can be epic.
Hinchinbrook Channel - Cardwell
Reviewed Sep 2017
We visited Cardwell in September 2017, just to top up on supplies.
To get ashore, you need quite a few things in your favour:-
1. Calm, near calm or offshore conditions ... the latter is highly unlikely.
2. Near high tide helps #
3. Low swell conditions ... Developed groundswell is highly unusual
4. An absence of crocs, depending how you get ashore
5. If using the wharf at much less than high tide, a tinny or plastic moulded dinghy would be imperative .... as the oysters are a killer on an inflatable.
As it was, we had (1) and (3) in our favour, at least at the start. We were unable to comment on (4), as the water was so murky! A quick check with the locals confirms they (crocs) are often about.
Unless it is near high tide, do yourself a favour, and discount the beach. It shoals a long way out on the bottom part of the tide, is soft and there are plenty of oysters, just to make it truly entertaining.
So, about an hour short of a low Spring tide, we anchored in 2.5 m - only half a mile out from the head of the wharf.
We used the wharf to get ashore. There are two sets of stairs on this all concrete structure. There is a kind of a lee from NNE on one side and the SE on the other - we used the latter. There are also some stainless ladders, but near low tide (a) it's a long way down, and (b) the ladder at around 0.5 - 0.8 m above LWS is choked with those oysters .... the wharf is free of oysters for the area below 0.5 m above LWS.
Port Hinchinbrook with the waterfront homes and pontoons (and, for a time, a marina) has silted badly at the entry. We were told the entry is basically "runabout territory", but we could see masts inside - hopefully they are cats, or else they may be trapped on most tides.
For our landing, the "admiral" took a granny trolley and checked out the local IGA, while the "skipper" retreated to the boat. The town is streets ahead of where it was 3 or so years ago, with a lot of foreshore work having improved the general amenity for residents and visitors.
The IGA, around 500 m north, was quite satisfactory, with a good standard of fruit and veg and meats as well as all the usual IGA condiments. The coffee shop across from the jetty is very popular with F & V (and seafood supplier) just to the south.
It was near low tide upon the admiral's return. Take a long line so you can stand off the wharf - and have the granny trolley roped down to you, a bit like the way the whicker basket contraption used to work for getting lighthouse keepers, and their food, livestock and possessions on (and off) Tasman Island in SE Tassie.
By the way, we didn't need to reprovision really - just a top up, as the "after weekend hours of operation" local VMR person at Innisfail had inferred it would be imprudent to enter the Johnston River in a keel boat - something we subsequently found was not quite correct ... But that's the subject of another post!
Not much. But you can get provisions. Locals are friendly.
Shoal. Murky water with a chance of crocs.
Difficulty getting ashore.
Hinchinbrook - Zoe Bay
Reviewed Aug 2017
We visited Zoe in August 2017. Because of the NE swell and the forecast E/NE sea breeze, it was a morning visit, predicated by a pre-dawn departure from Orpheus Island.
Even though the conditions were more than reasonable, it is amazing how the swell builds momentum as it enters the shoaling bay. From a crew comfort perspective, it would have been untenable for an overnight stay in the bay in those conditions.
We also anchored well out, (in about 7m) as we had been advised the holding is poor closer in to the shore.
The vista when coming in to this bay is simply stunning.
Although it was near low tide, we entered the creek with the outboard going and got off by stepping up to a raised sandbank. More on that later.
The creek is mangrove and rock on the left with the beach to your right. There are rocks in the creek adjacent the signs.
A camping kayaker we met ashore advised he had spotted a croc in the creek the night beforehand. So, be warned!
We didn't go further up the creek in the dinghy!
The walk up to the waterfall and accompanying fresh water rock pool takes about 20 minutes. Our reef walking shoes were adequate. There is some bolder hopping, so it's worthwhile being careful.
Mozzies and sand flies were certainly plentiful in the camping ground near the signs, but reasonable elsewhere.
The fresh water swimming in crystal clear water is as good as it gets.
The north creek entrance (at the other end of the 2.5 km beach) is deeper, and subject to survey, is said to be suitable for keelboats ... but as there is said to be a resident croc there too, we decided to leave that exploration for another visit.
We left around noon and entering the Hinchinbrook Channel at Lucinda on the top half of a flooding neap tide, without any problems.
Scenery, waterfall and large clear fresh water pool
Barramundi fishing Hinchinbrook Channel
Reviewed Nov 2016
Arguably the country’s best sportfish destination, based on affordable accessibility; species, environment and technique variety; fish sizes and quantities; and natural beauty. From freshwater, to estuary, to inshore, to reef, to offshore game; you can do it all here.