Cardwell is small, friendly seaside community. Whilst there is not
a lot of infrastructure in the town it is definitely the kind of
place to stop and spend some time looking out to sea at the rather
spectacular Hinchinbrook Island. There is a lot to see and do in
the area surrounding Cardwell with some of North Queensland's most
attractive National Parks close by.
from closest major city
Approximately 165km north of Townsville (200 km south of Cairns
on the Bruce Highway)
Cardwell is one of North Queensland's earliest settlements dating
back to 1864. Initially established as the location for a port to
service the cattle trade, the site did not prove successful as access
over the surrounding ranges was too difficult especially during
the wet season and there was considerable conflict with local Aboriginals
making trade routes unsafe.
of the town
Cardwell is located on the ocean overlooking the striking Hinchinbrook
Island. The Bruce Highway passes through the middle of Town and
there is a real seaside community feel to this small but picturesque
The Hinchinbrook and Cardwell regions are a place of natural beauty.
It is the real beginning of the wet tropics and the rainforest is
thick and lush. The Cardwell Forest Drive is a 26km scenic drive
starting from the centre of town. The drive visits some lookouts,
swimming holes and quiet picnic and BBQ areas. The drive is well
sign posted and easy to follow.
Fishing and bush walking are two very popular activities in this
part of the world. The Hinchinbrook Passage is a maze of mangrove
lined creeks full of famous tropical fish species like barramundi
and mangrove jack. There are a number of fishing charter operators
that run out of Cardwell. Cruises to and from Hinchinbrook Island
are available with most departing from the main jetty. These can
be booked from Cardwell.
National Parks close by include;
Kennedy National Park
- the turn off is 4km North of Cardwell. There are a number of walking
tracks and picnic areas. Do not swim in the creeks here.
- have good swimming holes and tracks.
Mile Swimming Hole
- seven kilometres south of Cardwell this picnic area is a relaxing
place to stop for a rest and a swim.
- passes through Lumholtz National Park and offers longer walks
for more experienced bush walkers. Houseboats and yachts can also
be rented. This is an excellent way to enjoy the numerous waterways
around Hinchinbrook Island
Hinchinbrook Island is one of the largest National Park Islands
in Australia. At almost 40,000 hectares and 14 kilometres from end
to end the island offers a very diverse geographical experience.
Its dramatic skyline is dominated by 1142m Mt. Bowen. The island
is separated from the mainland by a mangrove lined channel (world
famous for being an excellent fishing location). This separation
has helped to preserve Hinchinbrook in its basically pristine condition.
There is a small resort at the northern end of the island which
has a daily capacity for about 45 people. The other way to enjoy
Hinchinbrook Island is by doing a three to seven day walk from end
to end. This can be a challenging walk so some degree of fitness
is required and permits are necessary. Hinchinbrook has a stunning
landscape, lots of wildlife, and an isolation that many people find
To Stay And Eat
Cardwell has a number of caravan parks, hostels and small motels,
typical of the smaller North Queensland towns. Hinchinbrook Island
Resort is located on the protected Northern tip of the island. The
resort is made up of cabins and "tree houses". Hinchinbrook Island
is popular for campers but it is important to get a permit at least
6-8 weeks before planning to stay on the island. There are a number
of designated camp sites and all have strict limitations on the
number of campers at any one time.
Visitor Information Telephone (07) 4776 5211