Kayak and Fishing Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
540 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

Its been a long time since I've put up a trip report, but I had a ripper of a trip a few weeks ago that I just have to share, if you like to paddle then this is a trip you must add to your bucket list, it had been on mine since I brought my kayak and it was definitely worth it, I will be back to do it again.

Hitchinbrook Island is about 2.5 hours drive south of Cairns and sits just off the coast separated by a croc filled channel between Cardwell and Lucinda, because of this our trip took us up along the 45km seaward side of the island starting at Lucinda, and from there made our way north with the trade winds to Cardwell. The island is really something else, it reminds me of Jurassic Park with its large mysterious, craggy granite peaks shroud in cloud, and is a huge national park with a limit to how many people can be on the island at any one time.

We planned to do the 85km trip in 4 days, and set off from Lucinda about midday after driving down from Cairns that morning.

Our team of six packed and ready:


Our destination for day 1 was Zoe Bay, about half way up the island and around 20km paddle, it was tough going against the unexpected 15kt NE'ly especially after rounding the islands eastern most point and copping the large swell coming in from the open ocean. That slowed me down quite a lot, but I managed to pull into camp with a few hours light left to set up.
Much of the island is a green zone so there are only a few chances to get a line out, and today was one of them, I managed a small spanish mack that I set back.

Mt Stralock and Diamantina at the south end of the island (3200ft)


The other capture for day 1, a good size ribbon fish on a handline:


Mulligan Bay:


Rocky coastline:


Approaching the eastern point:


Zoe Bay:


Campsite:


Day 2's plan was from Zoe Bay to Sunset Beach at the top of Hitchinbrook, this trip lead us past Mt Bowen, the islands largest peak at 3,678ft, an impressive site to see, especially mirrored on the glassy calm water, magnificent paddling conditions.

A cloud shroud Mt Bowen:


Small Lagoon at the base of the mountain:


From Mt Bowen we continued further north to Nina Peak, also impressive, and pulled up to Blacksand Beach for lunch, then we continued on under sail to Cape Sandwich and to camp just around on the other side.

Blacksand Beach:


Sailing North to Cape Sandwich:


Sunset Beach Camp, we saw a Dugong frolicking in the water later that afternoon:


A chance to top up on water from a fresh stream:


Day 3 our destination was Goold Island, just north of Hitchinbrook, we set off through amazing blue water and went by some incredible beaches. At Cape Richards, our last time setting foot on Hitchinbrook, there is an amazing bay that we pulled into, interestingly it is also the site of the old lodge, abandoned after it was damaged by Cyclone Yasi 2 years ago. Its a shame to see it in the state it is especially in the prime location its located on, vandals have unfortunately made it a lot more worse for wear.

Great paddling conditions:


The lodge lobby:


Lobby look out and the deck/pool area:


View from a lodge living room:


Heading back to the yaks for the last leg to Goold, what a spot!:


After a paddle again against some SW'lys to Goold Is. we pulled up to find some welcome facilities after having nothing the past few days, a BBQ, sheltered tables, rainwater tank and a long drop, fancy!

Perfect timing... low tide at Goold


Sunset with Mission Beach and Dunk Island in the background:


The next morning we found the Sw'lys had strengthened and it was going to make the trip to Cardwell a long slog, what I also didn't count on was the large tide we had running out of the Hitchinbrook Channel, which ended up making the 18km trip home take just under 6 hours!

Ready to set off to Cardwell, looks deceptively calm on the lee side of the island!


Made it, Goold on the left, Hitchinbrook right, trip of a life time:


After packing up and loading the cars, we went for a well deserved beer at the pub, where we worked out we paddled about +25 hours on the trip, and felt every bit of it!

I plan to go back and do this trip again and hopefully next time attempt some of the climbs and explore more of the island and its fishing capabilities.
Thanks for reading.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8,383 Posts
Fantastic report GT.

One of the gems in QLD. On my list for sure.

indiedog said:
Very, very envious of this trip. I hiked the island several years ago and paddling it is absolutely on my agenda, think I'll take more than 4 days though as there are so many bays to explore. I remember eating black lipped oysters off the rocks in one of them until I was about to burst. And from Nina Peak I saw some rock bommies that were teeming with fish. Just so much potential there.

Lapse, KI, pencil it in for next year?? :D
You bet! (We should ensure it doesn't clash with NW island with Dru.) It would probably need to be firmed up and booked soonish, as camping is strictly controlled a long way out.

leftieant said:
...The first time we hiked it, we shared a campsite at Zoe Bay with a group of sea kayakers. I remember being very jealous of their fresh vegetables, wine casks and beach cricket set, while we knawed our way through another freeze dried meal.

Who was paddling the Swing, and how did it go? I'd love to paddle it, but I think a SIK would be the way to go.
Definitely Ant. When I was expedition sea kayaking we would fit in 10 - 14 days of food; water; cooking and camping gear; clothing; fishing gear; longjohn wetsuits; weight belts and spearguns; books and copious volumes of wine and port. You can in fact take everything, except the kitchen sink.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
540 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah it was tough going for the few of us in the sot, the sik guys smashed us, im already eying off something sleeker, lighter and maybe made of glass for the next trips we have planned, Any recommendations? I was happy with how my kayak (the catch/swing) went (especially loading and fishing wise), but a wet butt every day was a bit uncomfortable, and in the chop and wind its lack of speed and ineffective rudder had me cursing.
Yes Lapse my shoulders killed me, whats the story there? is it to do with bracing or something?
The good thing with the sot is that you can stack the tankwell as high as you like, while the others had to precision pack every morning to fit it all in. I easily had room for a few more days of food, and yes we enjoyed fresh fruit and wine but most of us still had the freeze dry meals, we found them pretty quick and convenient.
Next time ill be aiming for around 10km a day so I have plenty of time to set up camp and explore the island a bit more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,307 Posts
GT what a great trip to read about, and the pictures make the location more inviting

leftieant said:
Who was paddling the Swing, and how did it go? I'd love to paddle it, but I think a SIK would be the way to go.
Ant there is no Swing there, the one in the popular swing colours with the batmobile fin at rear, is a Mission Catch 420 which replaced the swing [along with the C390].
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,600 Posts
gonetroppo said:
Yeah it was tough going for the few of us in the sot, the sik guys smashed us, im already eying off something sleeker, lighter and maybe made of glass for the next trips we have planned, Any recommendations?
My answer to this problem is here: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=40252&p=556689&hilit=zegul#p556689

But the Aus Importer has (pretty much) replaced the zegul with Tide Race. This article will interest you:
http://www.tideraceseakayaks.co.uk/the- ... ar-really/

At the end of the day however you need a reason to go the SIK route that is more than just fishing. Hard to beat the Stealth Profisha for speed and fishing - but you will need some deft pimping to make it compatible with camping. Take your lead from the master: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=57091
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
There is probably a post about crocs but I'm not sure I would have the balls to do that trip.
They have seen big crocs right in front of the pub at Cardwell. It certainly looks fantastic and I take my hat off to you all.
Great report and thanks for sharing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,205 Posts
Awesome report. Have fished the island numerous times,have also been to the resort a real shame to see it in that state
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,523 Posts
Top trip and a great report ..... Yasi sure made a mess of that area however nature has its way of recovering (that lodge will not unfortunately).
Glad to see the sail being put to good use as well mate.
Nice work GT.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top