Cooktown is easily the most interesting town to visit in Cape York and this part of Australia.
It has got such great amount of history, and so many things to see and do.
Bama Aboriginal People lived here undisturbed until 1770 when Captain James Cook got his ship damaged on the reef and needed to stop to repair it.
The stay would end up long enough to become known as Australia's "first white settlement".
But that was of course long before "Cook's Town" was built as a port for Palmer River gold rush.
Later, the town saw the building of Cooktown-Laura Railway, First and Second World War, a few devastating fires and cyclones; and there are displays on it all in the Old Bank and James Cook Museum.
What to See and Do in Cooktown
There is some great fishing, places
to stay, and more things to do both north and south of the
Places in Cooktown Queensland
The waterfront parks have some great historical landmarks, statues and monuments. Grassy Hill lookout has the old lighthouse and some great views over the town. There is the interesting James Cook Museum, the lovely Botanical Gardens, and the historical Cooktown cemetery.
Fishing in Cooktown
Cooktown is one of the greatest places to fish in Cape York. While most of the fishing goes on at the wharf, there are also the rock walls just north of it and the boat ramp area just south of it; or catch a fishing charter to the Endeavour or Annan river, or the reef.
There are many nice walks in Cooktown, from the strolls in the town's historical streets and the cemetery to a bit harder ones like Grassy Hill, Cherry Tree Bay, Finch Bay and Botanical Gardens; and some
half serious climbs such as Mt Cook. All are beautiful with great views.
There are a few different tours available in Cooktown. There are town tours, four wheel drive tours to places to the north and the south of the town, and trips to the rivers and the ocean - fishing and croc spotting. You can also visit Cooktown on a tour from Cairns or Port Douglas.
In case you are around at the time of the Queen's birthday weekend, you can enjoy this great event and learn the history through re-enactment of the arrival and stay of Captain James Cook in 1770. The three day festival also has a lot of other fun, competitions and performances.
Places to Stay and Eat in Cooktown Australia
The town has a fair range of accommodation to choose from. There are two hotels, a few motels, a resort, a backpackers hostel and four caravan parks. There is now also cheap camping but only for self contained vehicles, meaning vans with own toilet and shower facilities.
Hotels in Cooktown Australia
The old pubs of Cooktown are some of the best historical buildings in the main street. They are good and popular, with beer gardens, they serve great meals, they have accommodation, they put on some great entertainment, and they sell alcohol from their bottle shops.
There are many nice places to eat. The finest dining is at the Fisherman's Wharf and Sovereign Resort. Other good places are the Thai and Italian Restaurant and Seagren's Inn. A great place for lunch is the Cook's Landing Kiosk, and popular with locals is the Cooktown Cafe.
What's Around Cooktown
North of Cooktown
North of the town are the airport, a few places to stay, Endeavour Falls (behind a caravan park), the Aboriginal community of Hopevale, and the beautiful drive across some large white sand dunes to Coloured Sands, Elim Beach and Cape Bedford. And north of that is Cape Flattery.
South of Cooktown
South of the town are Keatings Lagoon, the Old Annan River Bridge, Walker Bay, Archer Point, Trevethan Falls, Black Mountain National Park and further south are the Little Annan River Gorge, and the Helenvale Bloomfield Road that ends at the start of the famous Bloomfield Road.
There are a few different Cooktown tours.
And they are quite a handy way to see what there is in and outside the town, without spending too much time on planning and looking yourself.
In the town, there are historical town tours.
Outside, there are tours to Black Mountain National Park, Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforests, Aboriginal cultural tours, as well as four wheel drive adventure tours to Bloomfield Road and elsewhere in southern Cape York.
On the water there are river cruises, ocean and reef cruises, as well as sightseeing and fishing trips. All the Cooktown tours are listed in full detail (with companies, prices and contact details) in the Destination Guide.
If you want to get here on a tour from Cairns or Port Douglas, you may want to check out these:
Cooktown Adventure Tours
Two Day Cooktown Four Wheel Drive Tours
Did you Go to Cooktown?
Or do you live there? Do you have a story, a question or maybe a tip to other travellers? Other readers want to hear!
What Other Visitors Have Said
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Lions Den and the Road a Month after Cyclone Ita
Road from Lakeland to Lions Den pub is accessible to all traffic / some minor delays with roadworks - camping grounds are back to normal after the cyclone, …
I will always miss Cooktown!
When talking to backpackers in Australia about their travelling to Far North Queensland many of them visited Cairns and Cape Tribulation and then they …
If you liked the books or this website, let others know about it!
Link to it from your website, your blog, your forum post... Share it on Facebook, Tweet about it...
Every link helps other travellers!
Thank you for doing the right thing and letting others know :-)