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Cardwell is a small tropical town on the Cassowary Coast. It lies between the Cardwell Range to the west and the Great Barrier Reef to the east. It was named after British politician Edward Cardwell who was Secretary of State for the Colonies at that time. Cardwell (like many towns in the region) is surrounded by World Heritage listed tropical rainforests. The population of the town is approximately 1,176 people. Cardwell was hard hit by Cyclone Yasi in February 2011, but most of the town has been repaired and rebuilt now to afford residents and visitors a uniquely languid experience of tropical beach living at its most idyllic.

People in the know say that Cardwell and surrounds offer some of the best shore-based sportfishing in Australia, and hook-ups with the legendary Barramundi and pugnacious, lure-smashing Mangrove Jacks are a common fishing occurrence here. The lookouts just before town over Hinchinbrook Island offer stunning views of steep, jungle-clad mountains and labyrinthine mangrove channels that shape this World Heritage island.