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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Australia: Hinchinbrook Island

Sunken Reef Bay
Sunken Reef Bay

Quite why I got drunk on the Tuesday night, I don't know; the excuse was something about it being my last night in Cairns, and the next thing you know... but whatever the justification, Wednesday morning was a struggle, boarding the 8.45am coach while still quite drunk. I slowly surfaced throughout the day, but there was one good thing: I was out of Cairns, camping again, and looking forward to some good walking.

The Rainforests of Hinchinbrook

A forest of paperbark gum trees
On the trail as it winds through forests of paperbark gum trees

Suffice to say that while walking through the lovely tree-clad bays of Hinchinbrook, I felt I was well at home, and as the track was easy – just 32km in four days – I found I could spend plenty of time soaking in the atmosphere (literally, on the first day) and revelling in the contrast with Cairns. I'm finding a big benefit of the first opinion voiced above; because of my extensive experience walking through Australia and New Zealand, I can compare and contrast with lot of other walks, and I've grown to appreciate certain areas for what they are. Just as I can look at the sunset and it brings back memories of sunsets all over Australasia, when I walked through Hinchinbrook I thought of Freycinet, Wilson's Prom, Litchfield, Hollyford and others. It adds a whole new dimension to the experience, which is already pretty immense.

Mt Diamantina from Sunken Reef Bay
Mt Diamantina from Sunken Reef Bay
The campsite at Zoe Bay
The campsite at Zoe Bay, complete with the leaky AU$30 tent I bought in K-Mart

1 A handy hint, picked up in Shark Bay, that's worth repeating. Take 70 per cent baby oil and 30 per cent Dettol, mix, and smear on your body for the ultimate insect repellent. The sandflies stick to the baby oil and die, and the mozzies simply hate the smell of disinfectant. It worked a treat for me on Hinchinbrook – it beats paying a fortune for normal sprays, and it works better, too.

2 Just to point out how leaky my A$30 tent is, consider this. Dew, which is sometimes quite heavy in the tropics in winter, started to drip through the lining onto my head one morning. I thought it must have been raining, but no: my tent can't even handle dew, for goodness sake. It looks like I'll be saving the 2.5kg it takes up when I head off to Asia, and I probably won't shed a tear, even if I discover the perfect free campsite in some beautiful National Park in Indonesia and don't have a tent. Still, for A$30 it was a wonderful investment to enable me to walk the Thorsborne and, later, Fraser Island, so no harm done.