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Fishing the Endeavour River from the jetty at Cooktown is a popular pastime for locals and tourists.
Latest news: The inland road to Cooktown is now sealed all the way!
Cooktown is located on the inland side of a headland which shelters it from the ocean winds that can blow quite strong along this coast and looks out over the Endeavour river. The shelter of this headland has also helped some rainforest to survive, there are a few patches of rainforest within walking distance from the town centre which form a nice oasis in the otherwise dry and dusty surroundings of the town. The town is packed with history, a visit to the James Cook Museum will give you a good insight on the colorful history of this town, they also have some items recovered from the ocean floor that Cook had thrown overboard to stop his ship from sinking. In the main street you can see some of the old buildings left over from the goldrush days and one time I observed from the balcony of the Cooktown Hotel how the kangaroos hopped through the main street in search of green grass when the traffic stopped after midnight.
Another bit of history is the lookout on the top of Grassy Hill where the lighthouse stands. James Cook spent quite a bit of time on this hill in 1770 to observe the mouth of the river with its treacherous sandbanks to plan a passage out to sea, the last thing he needed was to get stuck again! Nowadays this lookout is a good spot to watch the sunset over the Endeavour river, a rare treat on the Queensland coast where in a lot of places the sun just disappears behind the Great Dividing Range.
Cooktown is famous for its fishing, you can try your luck from
the wharf but for some real fishing get on a boat and head up
the river or out on the ocean.
Cooktown also has a couple of nice beaches at Quarantine Bay and Finch
Bay where you can go for a swim (outside stinger season). On the way
to Finch Bay there is a very good botanical gardens and the impressive
art gallery Nature's Powerhouse.
Cooktown is also the departure point for flights to Lizard Island, a beautiful Great Barrier Reef island about 100kms. north, here you can either camp in the National Parks campground for a couple of dollars or go for the other end of the scale and stay at the Lizard Island Resort;
For breakfast from 7 am onwards you can't beat the food and the view of Cook's Landing Kiosk, at the end of the main street..
For dinner the RSL club or the Bowls Club next door to them are good choices, but lovers of spicy food would be best off to get in to some fairly authentic Thai food in the Italian restaurant opposite the Cooktown Hotel.
Now that the road is sealed there will be more people heading up to Cooktown, you are advised to book your accommodation well in advance for the July/August peak season.
There is a wide choice of car rental companies where you can book your car or campervan online to be assured of a car on your arrival at Cairns airport or anywhere else in north Queensland, and most offer one way rentals between major cities. Nothing beats the freedom of having your own car to explore and stop when and where you want, and now that the inland road is sealed all the way the drive is easy and any car can make it up there.
Budget Car Hire needs little introduction, the name says it all: car hire at Budget Prices with a car hire company with an international reputation, and this sites makes it even easier to find yourself a cheap hire car, or anything else with wheels: trucks,buses, campervans, utes, four wheel drives etc.
Unless you live in north Queensland you will have to fly
to the nearest international airport Cairns first, and then either drive,
go on a bus or guided tour, or continue to fly with Skytrans
The nearest main airport to Cooktwon is Cairns, you can fly there from any main Australian city or directly from overseas.
If you are already in Australia then go to our page Cheap Domestic Flights in Australia for a good choice in cheap domestic airfares to Cairns.
If you are still in your home country then you will need to get an international flight to Cairns, but be aware that although Cairns is an international airport, not too many airlines go straight in to Cairns, you will usually have to fly via Brisbane or Sydney.
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Follow the highway north through Mossman, cross the Daintree river and continue a beautiful scenic drive through rainforest to Cape Tribulation. Book some accommodation in Cape Tribulation for a few nights, there is heaps to do and see around here) and then continue up the infamous Bloomfield Track, you will need a four wheel drive for this. There are lots of beautiful beaches, creeks and rainforest along this road, and also the Bloomfield Falls and the Lions Den Hotel which is a must do stop for a drink. To allow yourself more time to explore this magnificent stretch of coastline you can also stay overnight in Bloomfield at Bloomfield Cabins & Camping.
YES! THEY'VE DONE IT ! THE INLAND ROAD TO COOKTOWN
IS NOW SEALED ALL THE WAY !
Follow the coast road north from Cairns, turn left just before Mossman and head up into the hills. You'll come to a T intersection where you can turn right to go to Cooktown or make a short detour to your left for a lunch at Lobo Loco cafe in Mount Molloy which is famous for its ginormous burgers. A bit further up the road is the Mount Carbine Hotel which is a good place for a beer. Closer to Cooktown are some more places worth stopping; the Annan River and Black Mountain.
It is recommended that you start your journey early enough in the day, the road up to Cooktown often has cows, kangaroos and other wildlife on the road, and they can be hard to spot at night.
By public transport bus: Sunpalm Coaches do regular runs up and down both the inland road and the coast road, phone 07-40842626, or contact via email