A tropical township through which visitors enter and exit
Hinchinbrook Island. Cardwell is the only coastal town on the Bruce
Highway between Townsville and Cairns.
Location: 1,533 km north of Brisbane.
Girringun: an Aboriginal cultural centre telling about the local
aboriginal people, their past and customs. It was also created as a
home for original local Aboriginal artifacts which had been dispersed
throughout the world.
Coral Sea Battle Memorial Park: commemorates an air and sea battle,
some 800 km east, between Australian/US forces and Japanese, in May
1942. Cardwell played a major role in the battle, in the role of the
home base for the Allied forces. This beachfront park is unique because
of its close proximity to the site of the battle as well as being
Australia's largest war memorial.
Hinchinbrook Island: With its lush rainforests, rugged, misty and
heath-covered mountains, sweeping sandy beaches, rocky headlands,
paperbark and palm wetlands, mangrove-fringed shores and extensive open
forests and woodlands, Hinchinbrook Island National Park is one of the
world’s most outstanding island parks.
Dalrymple Gap Walking Track: To follow in the footsteps of the early
settlers, take the Dalrymple Gap Walking Track over the Cardwell range.
The trail starts 15 klm south of Cardwell. Passing through the
Girringun National park, the 10klm walking track is suitable for
experienced walkers. The trail is comprised of open eucalypt forest
with rainforest strips in the creek lines. At the gap, the historic
stone-pitched bridge is the oldest surviving example of civil
engineering work on mainland north Queensland. Bridge was in use 1864
Cardwell Forest Drive: a 26 km scenic drive, starting at the town
centre and covering lookouts, fresh water swimming holes and idyllic
picnic spots. Easy to follow signs mark the way and you’ll
discover delights such as Cardwell Lookout, Attie Creek Falls, Dead
Horse Creek and Spa Pool along the way. Its beautiful water holes,
natural spa pool and picnic facilities provide an enjoyable drive for
all with wonderful bird watching and bush walking opportunities.
Natural features: Cardwell Range; Burdekin River; Hinchinbrook
Island; Edmund Kennedy National Park (4 km north); Goold Island
National Park; Brook Islands National Park; Cape Richards; Valley of
Lagoons; Girringun National Park; Murray River Wetlands; Rockingham
Bay; Dalrymple Gap; Broadwater State Forest.
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West of Cardwell the coastal escarpment is covered in rainforest
which transitions to the west to eucalypt woodland and tropical
savanna. The rugged topography of the Cardwell Range intercepts the
trade winds resulting in high rainfall. This combination has made the
area home to some of Australia's most picturesque and spectacular
waterfalls, including Wallaman Falls, which is Australia's highest
sheer drop waterfall.
Explorer Edmund Kennedy passed close by the present townsite in 1848
during his tragic attempt to travel from Rockingham Bay to Cape York.
George Dalrymple published proposals for the establishment of a new
pastoral settlement in North Australia in 1859, and began to explore
and open up the northern part of Queensland to bring it to fruition. In
1864, he established Cardwell on Rockingham Bay as a port for the
inland pastoral stations.
Origin of name: named by George Dalrymple (1826-1876), explorer, public
servant and politician, in 1864, after Edward Cardwell (1813-1886),
later Viscount Cardwell, Secretary of State for the Colonies April 1864
to July 1866.