Cardwell is tropical coastal town in north-eastern Queensland. It is located at the southern extremity of the Cassowary Coast. At the 2006 census, Cardwell had a population of 1,250. The Bruce Highway connects Cardwell to Cairns in the north and Townsville in the South.

The Aboriginal heritage is defined by Language Groups; the boundary of the Dyirbal and Warrgamay lies between Cardwell and Tully in the north. The first Europeans settled in the area in January 1864 in order to create a port initially called "Port Hinchinbrook". Subsequently the town was renamed after Edward Cardwell, 1st Viscount Cardwell.

  West of Cardwell is the Australian hinterland craton; tropical savanna transitions to open woodland eucalypt forest. The elevated Cardwell Range and coastal escarpment topography intercepts favourable rainfall. Cardwell Range biodiversity is protected as Forestry Reserves, National Parks and Queensland World Heritage Wet Tropics. Seaward lies the Coral Sea, Great Barrier Reef and Lagoon, Rockingham Bay and the Hinchinbrook Channel. Tropical continental island National Parks are visible from Cardwell, among them is Hinchinbrook Island.