Spotlight: Cardwell
  |  First Published: December 2013

After the devastation of Cyclone Yasi, Cardwell has risen like the Phoenix with a redevelopment that is as staggering as it is beautiful. Cardwell, at the top end of Hinchinbrook Channel, has come back to life and is welcoming visitors with open arms.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at what Cardwell offers the travelling angler and their family as we shine the spotlight on Cardwell.


Cardwell is a town of impressive history and on January 22, 2014, this beautiful town will turn an amazing 150 years old. With Cardwell’s early history revolving around sea transport, the town, originally known as Port Hinchinbrook, became a centre for the transport of gold and later for beasts such as cattle.

Never a town that reached dramatic highs, Cardwell has retained its character and charm through years of disruption, redevelopment, natural disaster and impressive rebuilding.

These days, Cardwell is one of those places that you just have to stop and play at. With unprecedented access to Hinchinbrook Channel and Hinchinbrook Island, Cardwell offers safe passage for boaties and access to some world class fishing, the likes of which make for lifetime memories.

With 150 years of history, a stop over at the Cardwell Rainforest and Reef Information Centre is a must. Here you can learn all there is to know about the area, book tours, find a place to stay and definitely find a place to play.

The Fishing

How do you sum up Cardwell’s fishing options? Diversity seems the best option and let’s examine why.

How many other places in Australia offer access to protected waterways, pristine mountain streams, spectacular reefs, deep channels and fish on tap? Not many.

If you’re into barra, Cardwell is an obvious stepping off point for some world class barra fishing. Metre-plus fish are almost a given and the best barra guides regularly put clients onto these sliver-chrome jewels of the north. If those angry red jacks are your flavour, Cardwell gives safe access to unlimited creek fishing opportunities north and south of Cardwell for these hard fighting warriors.

And what about the icon of flyfishing, the permit, or snub-nosed dart as we call it in Australia? That’s here too and in numbers that would surprise. In fact there is every chance that if you wanted an Aussie permit on fly, stepping off from Cardwell is likely your best option!

If offshore fishing is your game, then Cardwell is located right on the doorstep of some of the best offshore fishing available in Australia. Reef fishing, headland fishing, deep reef and wreck fishing is all on the doorstep of Cardwell. In fact you can be fishing for GT, Spanish mackerel and marlin within half an hour of Cardwell. That’s impressive access!

Other Activities

Cardwell is ideally situated to take advantage of the amazing natural beauty and splendour of World Heritage wetlands, islands and forests.

For starters Hinchinbrook Island is an icon location and the Thorsborne Trail is one of the world’s great walks. Visitors set off from Cardwell and head south from Missionary Bay where they are met and transported back to the mainland via Lucinda. A walk with few peers, the Thorsborne Trail is a must of walking is your game. If walking is not your game, there are many tours you can take around the island to take in the splendour of Hinchinbrook. Croc spotting, beach hopping, romantic picnics, seclusion and wilderness experiences are all on offer from Cardwell.

Inland from Cardwell are many waterholes and swimming areas in pristine natural settings. Reinvigorate the soul while tropical rainforest waters spill over your body washing away the stresses of daily life and the grind of the city.

For those looking for a hit of something else, the Australian Coffee Centre showcases the regions amazing coffees. Connoisseurs rate the coffee produced in Cardwell’s hinterland some of the best in the world and a tour of the Australian Coffee Centre will delight.

If underwater activities are your thing, Cardwell is the logical jumping off point for many of the best snorkelling and dive sites. Pristine coral reef, rocky ledges, wreck diving, free diving and swimming with the fish and mammals is all on offer and is spectacular. Cardwell has underwater activities covered in no uncertain terms.

On arrival, vibrance of the Cardwell Foreshore hits you in the face. Children enjoying the playgrounds and skateboarding, the fitness conscience jogging along the new pathway, families picnicking and BBQ’ing at the various centres and locals cast netting hoping for a catch of tasty prawns. Highly recommended is a walk along the foreshore where the interpretative signage soon makes you an expert in local attractions.

Stay Awhile

There are many options for those wanting to stay in Cardwell. From backpackers through to high class holiday rentals, Cardwell has an accommodation style and price to suit everyone. Caravan parks, self-contained units, unpowered sites, motel units, resorts and cottages – Cardwell has them all and they all offer a tropical experience the likes of which you’ll remember for your lifetime.

We were lucky enough to stay at Mudbrick Manor just south of Cardwell and for a down to earth experience where you will be looked after like royalty, I can recommend the Mudbrick Manor without hesitation. I just have an issue with the extra 5kg of weight I carried home with me. The food was that good!

Mad Not to

Waterfalls, National Parks, State Forests, crystal clear swimming holes, fishing, bush walking, water sports or just relaxing. With so many activities on offer Cardwell is hard to beat. Contact the information centre where the friendly staff will assist you to plan your stay in Cardwell. Cardwell is the heart of the Great Green Way and as pretty as a picture. Add in world class fishing and you’d be mad not to visit Cardwell and make it the place to stay on your next visit north.

Cardwell rocks – it’s back from the dead and ready to roll!

Further Information

142 Victoria St, Cardwell 4849, Queensland

Phone: (07) 4066 8601

--e-mail address hidden--


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