Playing in Cooktown

One of the important lessons we have learned in our short time here is while it is advisable to heed local advise, at the end of the day the journey is ours. We must make the final decision where and when to go.

Enroute to Cooktown

Enroute from Port Douglas to Cooktown

Prior to our deciding to visit Cooktown, much of the advice we received from other Australian adventurers is that “there is nothing there so give it a miss”.  While that could have been the case, we find we are at the end of a brilliant three days here.  Unless you are a 4WD enthusiast, the Mulligan Highway is the only way in and the only way out. From Cooktown it is north to the top of Cape York and definitely 4WD country. We are not attempting that journey at this time of year but may give it a go next April/May when the roads have been graded. Some might say the journey to Cooktown was boring, but we loved the scenery and the long winding roads.

We can best describe Cooktown as a town still in the 70’s and that’s where the locals appear to want it. When we arrived on Saturday there were very few shops open apart from the RSL, Bowls Club and the two hotels and the same on Sunday. There is a 7day flourishing tourism industry here but everything else was very quiet.  It was quite quaint actually – sort of like New Zealand before 24/7 trading.

Over the last three days we have been out and about seeing as much as we can. Much of Cooktown’s (and Cape Yorks) history appears to revolve around Captain James Cook’s discovery of the place in 1770, the Palmer Gold Rush of 1873, the decimated pearl industry and of course the 41 tribal nations that inhabit the Cape. A few shots of our Cooktown visit HERE .

On the track to Trevethan Falls

On the track to Trevethan Falls

The little jeep got its first ever ‘4WD’ workout today. We were told last night that an excellent spot in the area was the Trevethan Falls some 18km south of Cooktown and about 12km inland.  It could only be accessed by 4WD. So off we set this morning (after filling up with petrol!!!) on our adventure. It was not too long after leaving the Highway that we discovered why it was 4WD territory. We had great fun in the little jeep albeit we were being thrown around ‘just a wee bit’. A larger 4WD vehicle would have made the journey just a little easier.

Trevethan Falls

Trevethan Falls

However once we had arrived at the Falls, we could not have wished for a better destination. It was a beautiful place hidden in the middle of nowhere. We were the only visitors there and off course we had to jump in for a swim.  We had been advised before we left Cooktown that there were no crocodiles in the area.

On our way back to Cooktown we stopped for a late lunch at the Lions Den, a little pub out in a farming community about 30km south of town. The pub had been there since 1875 and many say it has not changed too much since then. There are no beers on tap and wine is out of a cask!

We are off out to dinner tonight at the local Bowling Club with a few of the other travellers in the Park. It will not be a late one tho’ as we have quite a long journey tomorrow (we want to head south and at least get to Atherton) so want to be on our way reasonably early. We are hoping to catch up with friends there who we have met previously in Port Douglas.

Our verdict of the Cooktown visit – if you get the opportunity, it is worth the effort to get here.

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3 thoughts on “Playing in Cooktown

  1. John Bullock

    You are right on listening to the locals if sfine, but it is your decision at the end of the day. If you are over in Broome, it is a bit late to spend some time in a place advised “don’t bother” for place in QLD!

  2. sandywren

    So pleased you made up your own minds otherwise you will miss out on so much that Aussies just take for granted and don’t bother with. We had been told the same with the Kakadu – don’t go there – boring etc etc but we did and it was an adventure trip well worth it. You go everywhere you can go because you may only ever get the chance once. One thing we would recommend highly is when you leave Atherton and start to head west – is the Undarra Lava caves – it is on dirt roads and corrugated but not too severe and well worth the trip in. The national park area has lots to see – the camp is well run with guided tours to do a few things including the caves which are awesome. The organised camp fire at night is also fun. Lots of animals wandering the camp – very good indeed. I think we stayed there 2 nights. I also think it was up in Atherton that the coffee plantation is but just going from memory here! Can’t remember but when is the rodeo in Mt Isa – if you can get to a proper aussie one then do so. We went to one in Katherine – was so dusty and awesome and I was backing the bulls all the time – they are specifically bred for rodeos and such big amazing beasts but still rather see them win than humans! Also saw one in Darwin at the Royal Show – poor Roy was laid up with his bad knee at the time so I went to the show on my own and spent a great day. Not sure of the timing of that either but they are usually in the dry season. We missed the yearly celebration in Cooktown too for Cook – think it was June and we missed by one week.

    How was your conversation Rod with the Croc lady? Did you manage to buy her book? I laughed and laughed when Dearne sent me the pic of inside her shop – was much appreciated thanks.

    One of the other good things to do is with advice from locals and other aussie travellers is search Google Earth before you make up your own minds – gives a different perspective on what is ahead and often allows you to make a better informed decision re safety. But common sense will keep you safe!

    Love the pics too – bringing it allllllll back and loving it.

    Dearne, I am at the stage of the quilting now – all pinned together and have bought a walking foot and away I go – only to unpick it all as it puckered. Spent some time in Avondale with the sewing machine repair man and he was exceptional in knowledge in how to use my machine properly and armed with that I can now do straight quilting without any puckers. Bought a darning foot too so was taught how to free motion quilt etc but not done any myself yet – want to finish the rest of the straight sashing first. Will probably hand quilt the inner squares but anything that is straight will be machined. Looking good and will take a pic for you when it is finished. The others at the craft group ask about you so keep them up with your whereabouts.

    Off to the committee meeting tonight – all going well although quiet. Just need to prepare the accounts for the AGM next month. Sounds like the Wellington reunion committee are doing what is needed but we need to hear more from them and they are going to send an report soon.

    Keep well and keep on truckin!

    Love from us avid followers XXXXX

  3. dont go to cape york mate, your little 4wd will never make it, i did the trip following the telegraph lines in ’84 ……a very rough road……the bulldust slows ya down too

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