About an hour after leaving Wallaman Falls, driving along roads that looked something like this…
Cardwell, with a population of just 1176 as at the 2011 census, was by some distance the smallest town I stayed the night in during my entire road trip. It is pretty much the halfway point between Townsville and Cairns.
Cardwell is by the sea.
When I booked into my motel, I was strongly advised at the reception to ‘not go swimming’. At the same time the receptionist’s finger pointed to a photograph of a crocodile, which was Sellotaped to the desk in front of her, perhaps in case she forgot.
That was good enough for me; I didn’t fancy a dip anyway.
So, stay out of the sea in Cardwell and you’ll be safe, right?
Not quite, certainly not five years ago when Tropical Cyclone Yasi came to town. Yasi actually made landfall at Mission Beach, we’ll be going there next. Cardwell though, being just 40 kilometres or so south of Mission Beach, took quite a hit. There is no doubt that when you reach this part of Queensland you are very much in cyclone territory.
In most towns in this area, you will see signs like these…
One thing I’ve mentioned time and again on this road trip is how uncommercialised, rugged and almost deserted so many beaches are, but this wasn’t the case at Mission Beach. The beach itself was as you would expect…
As you can see, compared to many of the other beaches we’ve been to, this place IS commercialised. Sadly, much of it was destroyed when Yasi made landfall here. According to Wikipedia there was a 7 metre surge which destroyed several structures along parts of this coastline.
Mission Beach appears to be back to normal now though.
Not far from Mission Beach, Tully also took a hit from Cyclone Yasi, but again, it’s looking good now.
And then Innisfail.
Home of the Honourable Bob Katter MP…
Next stop, Cairns, to pick up my girls. Before that though, if you’re interested, What It’s Really like to Live in Cardwell, Far North Queensland?