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Our six-day Women’s Hinchinbrook Expedition stands as our premier expedition-style journey, ranking among the world's most illustrious sea kayak adventures. The imposing majesty of Hinchinbrook Island offers an unparalleled experience to travellers. Picture a pristine tropical haven situated off the North Queensland coast, where lofty mountains clad in rainforest cascades down to untouched sandy beaches, ultimately meeting the warm embrace of the Coral Sea.
Hinchinbrook, a World Heritage site, holds the distinction of being Australia's largest island national park. As a visitor, you will experience its remarkable tranquility and natural beauty in near solitude. This is made possible by the enforcement of a permit system, which restricts visitor numbers and sustains the island's wild allure.
Nestled off the tropical coast of North Queensland, between Ingham and Mission Beach, are 15 continental islands. Eleven of these islands are recognised as National Parks, cradled by the waters and fringing reefs of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. They range in size from the expansive Hinchinbrook Island, the largest National Park Island in Australia spanning 39,000 hectares, to the petite Purtaboi Island, located just off the coast of the renowned Dunk Island. Each island presents a grandeur landscape, featuring tropical sandy beaches, steep headlands, rugged mountains, cascading waterfalls, and dense rainforest. This breathtaking backdrop sets the stage for our unparalleled sea kayaking adventures.
Our expedition-style journey offers a serene retreat from the pressures of modern life, inviting you to unwind and bask in nature at its finest. As we navigate the coastline, the awe-inspiring beauty of this island wilderness unfurls. The lush tropical rainforest gives way to towering granite peaks, while below lies a myriad of secluded sandy bays. With 3-4 hours of paddling each day, there is ample time to explore the mesmerising Zoe Falls, swim in crystal-clear freshwater pools, and relax in this unspoiled, protected environment.
Evenings on the expedition offer a unique opportunity to camp under the star-studded sky, listening to local tales spun by our experienced guides, savouring a glass of wine, and feasting on delectable camp dinners. This is not just an adventure—it's an immersion into a world away from the everyday.
* All prices are per person and listed in Australian Dollars (AUD). All prices shown are GST inclusive where applicable.
Our pre-trip meeting is scheduled for 7:00pm on the evening prior to our departure. We'll be gathering around the pool at the Mission Reef Resort for this session. Here, our guides will introduce themselves, share the anticipated itinerary, and be ready to answer any questions you may have about the forthcoming adventure. You will also receive dry-bags to store your personal items, and our guides will instruct you on packing these efficiently. These bags should be packed and ready for pick-up on the following morning. Rest assured, any belongings you decide not to bring can be safely stored at the Mission Reef Resort.
Please note, you are responsible for arranging your own transportation to the Mission Reef Resort. Refer to our FAQ section for useful tips on transportation to Mission Beach.
Upon your arrival, Leanne and Mark, the friendly owners of the hotel, will personally escort you to your room.
Day Two calls for an early start, often at 7:30am, though the exact time will be confirmed by your guides, as tidal changes can affect our departure. Your guides and our designated bus will pick you up from Mission Reef Resort in the morning. From there, we will embark on a two-hour bus ride south to our launch point at Lucinda. We'll take a break along the way for a reviving coffee and a quick bite to eat.
Upon arrival at Lucinda, we'll pack our kayaks, hone our paddling skills, and review safety procedures. We will then set off across the channel, with our first stop at Georges Point for lunch - this will be our first landing site on Hinchinbrook Island. Post-lunch, we'll continue paddling, absorbing the stunning scenery of Hinchinbrook Island's southern reaches. Depending on wind and weather conditions, our first night's camp will be at Sunken Reef.
Today, we wake up to our first breakfast on the island. Our guides, skilled in the art of beach cuisine, will serve you a warm cup of tea or coffee as you watch the sunrise from the east. After breakfast, we'll pack up our tents, reload the kayaks - true expedition style - and start paddling north along the coast. As we make our way, we'll pass by the most easterly section of the Island, Hillock Point, and head into the breathtaking Zoe Bay, set against the lush backdrop of Mount Bowen (1142 meters) and the Thumb.
Here, we'll have the opportunity to explore the rainforest, following Zoe Creek up to the crystal clear pools of Zoe Falls. We'll take some time to enjoy a refreshing swim and an early lunch before continuing along the coast. The day's paddle will conclude at the sheltered Banksia Bay.
Today, we bid farewell to Banksia Bay and paddle past a series of secluded coves and hidden beaches nestled along the rocky coastline, leading to the sweeping eight-kilometer expanse of Ramsey Bay curving northward. Rounding Cape Sandwich is one of the pivotal points of our trip, often requiring careful timing in relation to wind and swell conditions. The high sand dunes and sparse vegetation in this part of the island offer a stark contrast to the rugged grandeur we experienced during the previous days' paddling. Our day will culminate at Sunset Beach, where we'll enjoy a sundowner and a hearty supper.
Steering towards the northern point of the island, we depart from Sunset Beach, paddling across the aptly named Shepard Bay towards Cape Richards. Here, the pandanus and casuarinas seem to defy the odds, resiliently flourishing on this exposed rocky headland. After enjoying our lunch on the picturesque Orchid Beach, we'll get back on the water. Our journey will then take us around the northern headland of Hinchinbrook Island and across a short stretch to the sheltered beaches of Goold Island. This is one of the most magnificent camping locations you can imagine, making you feel a million miles away from anywhere else.
We set off today, leaving the beauty of Goold Islands behind us as we steer north towards Wheeler Island. These petite islands are ringed by fringing reefs and feature pristine white sandy beaches. The protected campground presents magnificent views, with Hinchinbrook's lofty peaks to the east and an enchanting view of the sunset over the mainland to the west.
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 Island stop of our expedition (wind and weather dependent) before returning to Australia and landing at Mission Beach for our final delicious lunch together.
*Please avoid booking your return flights on this date as we often do not return back to the resort until after 4pm.
You will undoubtedly cherish the wonderful memories made throughout this trip. Now, it's time to make your way to Cairns airport for your onward journey. We recommend booking an afternoon flight to ensure you have ample time to travel from Mission Beach to Cairns. Please note that transportation from Mission Beach to Cairns will need to be arranged and covered by each participant. Breakfast is not included on this day.
This moderately-rated trip necessitates a fundamental level of paddling experience, but specific sea kayaking knowledge is not essential. Our adept guides will instruct you in the foundational paddling strokes and impart the skills required for the journey. Although sea kayaking is straightforward and quickly mastered by most, participants should possess moderate fitness, confidence in water, and swimming proficiency.
Given the unpredictable nature of outdoor adventures, weather conditions can fluctuate, leading to occasional high winds and swells. Therefore, participants should feel comfortable and confident in their kayaking abilities and demonstrate flexibility to adapt to Mother Nature's whim, which might necessitate itinerary changes. However, our guides are committed to providing the most fulfilling experience possible.
The trip caters to active women with good mobility, enthusiastic about paddling, swimming, and walking. Daily physical activity can range between three to five hours, and some strenuous activity may arise due to weather conditions. Expect to paddle 10-15km daily in double kayaks, carrying them over sand and rocks for beach camp setup.
Warning! Like most expedition sea kayak trips, the Hinchinbrook paddle is not a lake or estuary trip. It is a multi day expedition involving paddling an exposed coastline and completing crossings between islands that can be susceptible to changing sea states. Participants are sometimes required to paddle in wind and ocean swell. If you are not comfortable in ocean environments please do not sign up for this tour. Our basic requirements for all participants is they must have moderate fitness, good water confidence, good swimming ability, be comfortable at sea and have some camping experience.
Like most expedition sea kayak trips, the Hinchinbrook paddle is not a lake or estuary trip. It is a multi-day expedition involving paddling an exposed coastline and completing crossings between islands, which can be susceptible to changing sea states. Participants are sometimes required to paddle in wind and ocean swell. If you are not comfortable in ocean environments, we recommend that you do not sign up for this trip. While prior kayaking experience is not mandatory, our basic requirements for all participants include moderate fitness, good water confidence, good swimming ability, being comfortable at sea, and having some camping experience. Having prior kayaking experience is beneficial.
You don't have to be an athlete to join our sea kayaking trips; they are suitable for anyone who enjoys regular exercise. However, we do encourage a moderate level of fitness and good health, as we believe it enhances your overall enjoyment of the trip.
The island is very large, and the crocs are really on the estuarine side, far from where we paddle. Essentially estuarine crocodiles exist all through the coastal regions of Far North Queensland from Bundaberg north to Cape York, so in that regard we do paddle in what is considered croc country. Mostly crocs are isolated to mangrove estuaries and lower reaches of river systems on mainland Australia. It is incredibly uncommon and unlikely to find them out on the islands and in over 25 years with our partners in operation there have not been any encounters with crocodiles and women swim, snorkel and paddle on a daily basis. We do not paddle in high risk croc habitats and our kayak guides always do their upmost to keep customers safe and happy. The most common croc encounter we have is with the footwear variety, which makes for a great sea kayaking shoe. So don't worry be happy!
Yes, we supply a 40L personal dry bag per person for the bulk of your gear and a smaller 10-20L dry bag which you can use as a day bag and access whilst paddling.
Absolutely, many women join our trips on their own, our trips appeal to people who are looking for a new and adventurous way to experience nature. The small group sizes and the style of trip brings people together and encourages new friendships. If you are a solo traveller we can offer you a single tent and if you are an experienced kayaker a single kayak.
If you have any dietary requirements especially ones that cause an allergic reaction please make note of this on the medical questionnaire we send out with the booking forms. Our guides are accomodating and experienced at cooking for people with dietary requirements.
Yes, compact Sea to Summit sleeping mats will be provided.
Yes, before any kayak trip we run a pre-departure briefing which will allow customers to meet their kayak guides, discuss the paddle plan, disperse relevant gear and discuss any questions customers have about proceedings. Normally the pre- departure briefing is ran at 7pm the evening before the trip.
Women are welcome to park their cars at our kayak base in Mission Beach while they are out paddling in the islands.
Jill Taylor TestimonialWonderful trip kayaking and camping. Relaxed pace. Plenty of time to look around. Lots of breaks. HEAPS to see. HEAPS of food. I took notes to try and make some of the salads back home, thank you Michelle our guide for being incredible! 🎉🎉
Lyn Murray - NSWI turned 62 this year and thought "I don't want to loose my adventure side just because I'm getting older". This trip certainly had every element of adventure. I leave feeling stronger, happier and healthier than every before. I can't get over the meals we ate! Besides the health, the kayaking was beyond words. I'm proud I did the stretch of paddle every day. I will be telling everyone about this experience as one of the best things I have ever done for myself. 10/10. Thank you!
Jenny Leon - NSWTo be honest I didn't really read the itinerary and just thought "I need a holiday". This was not a holiday. It was an expedition adventure!! I can't believe I used to sit by the pool for fun! Kayaking Hinchinbrook exceeded my expectations. I loved camping on the beach and eating the yummy food. The women were all so lovely and the leaders were brilliant. I feel refreshed and so proud of myself to kayak everyday in the open ocean. One of the best things I've ever done in my life and I don't say that lightly!" THANK YOU! x
Debbie Mastello - QLDThe BEST! I had never camped on the beach or sea kayaked before. I was hesitant at first, but the ladies and leaders made me feel so welcome. Everything was professional and the food was incredible. I don't know how they cook up better meals on the beach than in my own kitchen! I feel like This was truly an adventure and I recommend it to everyone!