Cardwell is a seaside town straddling the Bruce Highway at the edge of the Hinchinbrook Channel. It is a quiet place without many attractions of its own but it has a perfect location for visiting the rugged Hinchinbrook Island. Some travellers come here just for that reason, while others come to work on the nearby banana and prawn farms. The hostels here cater mostly to guests on a working holiday.
The other big draw is fishing, and there are boat hire companies and guided fishing tours on offer all through town. Five Mile Swimming Hole is a good place for a dip in the water and is popular with local families who use the barbecue facilities there. There are walking tracks throughout the Edmund Kennedy National Park, as well as some waterfalls and swimming holes. Murray Falls (a 45-minute drive north of Cardwell) are the most accessible waterfalls in the area. Cardwell stretches only about 3km, so it can be a bit boring for many backpackers. If you will be here for more than a day, it is a great idea to get out of town and explore some of the natural surroundings.