Thorsborne Trail – Don’t climb the waterfalls!

Thinking of hiking the Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island?

Looking for a tropical hike with beautiful scenery, fantastic swimming and beautiful beaches?

Want to enjoy a fantastic wilderness hike on a World Heritage Island?

If you want to hike out rather than be taken to hospital by chopper then DON’T climb the waterfalls, just enjoy the beautiful swimming holes at the base of them.

Swimming in these fresh water holes is one of the highlights of the Thorsborne Trail – we loved it!

Swimming Hole - Mulligan Falls - Hinchinbrook Island

Swimming Hole - Mulligan Falls - Hinchinbrook Island

Hinchinbrook Island is a rugged, outstanding feature of the north Queensland coast between Townsville and Cairns. Its cloud-covered mountains, reaching 1000m, support fragile heath vegetation. Patches of lush rainforest and extensive eucalypt forest descend to a mangrove-fringed channel in the west with sweeping bays and rocky headlands along the east coast.

Protected since 1932, Hinchinbrook is one of Australia’s largest island national parks (39,900ha). The island is within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and is separated from the mainland by the scenic Hinchinbrook Channel.

Thorsborne Trail
The 32km Thorsborne Trail, along Hinchinbrook Island’s east coast, is named after the late Arthur Thorsborne. Arthur and his wife, Margaret, shared a lifelong interest in nature conservation that included monitoring pied (Torresian) imperial-pigeons (Ducula bicolor), which migrate to nest on local islands in summer. Environment & Resource Management – Qld Government

Yet another visitor to Hinchinbrook Island fell 50 metres (approx 150 foot) down Mulligan Falls and was rescued by his mates before he drowned in the swimming hole pictured above.

According to in recent years six people have been injured and one person has died at the waterfall. The full story about how the 18 yo fell down Mulligan Falls is here.

When we were there hiking the Thorsborne Trail a couple of years ago there was plenty of signage and warnings about climbing up waterfalls, guess some people just don’t take notice.

For more information on hiking the Thorsborne Trail this is the link to the official site or check out our posts listed below, we had a blast!


  1. Natalie Obersky says

    Sadly news of another person slipping and falling at Mulligan Falls does not surprise us. During our seven visits to Hinchinbrook island, my husband and I have witnessed individuals walking on top and alongside the falls regardless of the signs.

    I reiterate Frank and Sue’s comments, there are clear warnings that are displayed at the falls, adjacent camp ground and above the falls at the Diamantina Crk crossing. Despite this however some individuals think they are bullet-proof. This young man should be accountable for the cost of his rescue.

    It is also a shame to see media portraying the Thorsborne trail in a negative light based on the stupidity of an irresponsible individual. To those looking to complete the Thorsborne trail be reassured this magnificient trail is not dangerous if hikers act sensibly and heed the warnings displayed.

    Hopefully this event will act as a reminder to those considering to undertake the walk that they should adhere to the warnings along the trail – National Parks put it succintly, your safety is our concern but your responsibility.

    • Frank says

      Hi Natalie,
      Thanks very much for the thoughtful comment! Wow, have you been there 7 times and not fallen off a waterfall once???

      It is a great hike and I would love to get back there and take even longer than we did last time.

      As regards the fall, yep there is signage and warnings but you can imagine what a group oof 18yo boys would be up to. “No Fear”. Wonder how they respond to crocodile signs?

  2. Ken says

    Only been once , but hope to go there again. From memory there are fines of up to $10,000 for being in the area above the falls. Was told about one group where they all walked down the creek to the top of the falls, and one guy went over, luckily he was conscious and managed to swim out but couldn’t walk, and had to wait an hour for the rest of the group to walk back.

    • Frank says

      Hi Ken, Thanks for the comment. Thanks also for reminding me of the fine! I really love your photographs of Hinchinbrook. I really want to get back there and take a bit longer to explore the whole area. It is a great trip!

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