Cardwell, Australia Tourist Attractions
Cardwell (pop. 1280) is now a quiet little coastal town. It is set against a backdrop of rugged hills and sheltered on the east by Hinchinbrook Island, with the largest island National Park (magnificent bush walking through tropical forest).Cardwell offers good fishing and attractive boat trips. In the past it was of importance as a gateway to the interior, for before the foundation of Cooktown in 1873 Cardwell was the only port between Bowen, far to the south, and the northern tip of the Cape York Peninsula, from which supplies were conveyed to the Etheridge goldfields.
39,000 ha.Hinchinbrook Island is the largest island off the Queensland coast and the largest island national park in the world. It is separated from the mainland only by the narrow but deep mangrove-fringed Hinchinbrook Channel. Cook, sailing this way in 1770, did not realize that he was passing an island.The island extends for 34km from north to south, with Mount Bowen (1121m) as its highest peak. It is an island of sandy beaches, partly unexplored wilderness, dense rain forest of milky pine and palm fig trees, and mangrove swamps.This is an island for nature lovers. There is little in the way of entertainment but plenty of scope for walking and water sports. There is a very rewarding walk (30km) along the coast from Ramsay Bay on the east side of the island to George Point in the south. Walkers must be fit and take plenty of water with them. The Queensland National Park and Wildlife Service (QNPWS) issues a brochure on this coastal walk.
To the north of Hinchinbrook are the National Park islands of Goold (camping permitted; no drinking water) and the four small Brooks Islands with their huge colonies of Torres pigeons. Further north are the Family Islands, with the main island of Dunk. Opposite Hinchinbrook Island, on the mainland, is Hinchinbrook Channel National Park, 5600ha of marshland, dunes and mangroves along the coast.
The Family Islands group includes the main island, Dunk (National Park), and the smaller islands (also reserves) of Wheeler, Combe, Smith, Bowden and Hudson (combined area 1.2sq.km), on which camping is allowed (permit required). Timana (Thorpe) Island, between Dunk and Bedarra, is another small island, privately owned.The islands are covered with dense tropical forest.
Dunk Island National Park
10 sq.km, of which 7.3 sq.km are a national park.Dunk Island, 5km offshore and 30km northeast of Cardwell, is the largest of the Family Islands. The island was named by Cook after the First Lord of the Admiralty. Snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing.The highest point on the island, most of which is covered by tropical rain forest, reaches a height of 271m. There are large resort complexes run by Australian Airlines, with a wide range of leisure activities, which can accommodate 400 visitors. There are beautiful walking trails all over the island; panoramic views from Mount Kootaloo.
Bedarra Island, one of the Family Islands, has an area of only 1 sq.km, rises to a height of 107m and is partly covered with rain forest. The island is privately owned. It is of great scenic beauty with its rocky hills, mangroves, sandy beaches and springs and is home to a great variety of plants and animals. The climate is tropical, with heavy rainfall between December and April.
Edmund Kennedy National Park
6200ha.In 1848 Edmund Kennedy set out on his ill-fated expedition from Rockingham Bay to Cape York. Inexperienced, poorly equipped and with misleading maps, the party found no way north and Kennedy was killed by Aborigines. The national park takes in a stretch of country typical of the wet tropics, with rain forest, open woodland, palms, marshland and mangrove swamps along the coast and the numerous rivers. There are boardways through the mangrove swamps.