Laura Australia


Laura is one of the most historical places in this part of Australia.

It is a small country town in southern Cape York, north of Lakeland Downs, and west of Cooktown.

It's easy to drive through without even knowing where to turn into the town
, if you don't pay attention.

If you are rushing to the Tip - fair enough
, but if you are interested in history, it is worth to stop for a few things.


First - the town is known for some of the best Aboriginal rock art in Australia
.


And second - there is also some interesting European history from the days of the old Palmer River gold rush.

aboriginal rock art

Split Rock Art Site
When you arrive from the south, about 15km before the town entrance is Split Rock - one of the best and easiest accessible Aboriginal rock art sites around Laura.
It is up in the hills near the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival ground.
 

laura australia

The Town of Laura
Once you arrive in the town, it looks like there is nothing but a roadhouse on your right hand side. 
On the other side of the road
, soon you will see the Quinkan Art Centre - the right hand turnoff to the town is after it.


aboriginal art history

Aboriginal History
The Aboriginal art around Laura is called Quinkan Art. 

There is a lot of information about the area's Aboriginal history and art sites as well as European history in this Aboriginal art and tourist information centre.


laura history

European History
Laura was also an important town during the Palmer River gold rush in the late 1800s. 
Mining relics are still here, in the historical park in the main street. There is also an old Laura - Cooktown railway bridge from that time.

 
laura hotel

Quinkan Hotel
Across the street from the historical park is the pub of Laura Australia. 
The original pub actually burned down in 2002, so this is a fairly new building, but it is still a nice one with shady spots in the front, under mango trees.

laura accommodation

Accommodation in Laura Australia
Back on the Peninsula Developmental Road is a camping ground, and there is another camping ground behind the pub, which may be nicer, but can at times get crowded. Nowadays there is even a new motel in the main street.


jowalbinna

Jowalbinna Camping and Tours
Just north of the town is another Aboriginal art experience - Jowalbinna. 
It is a camping ground run by two sons of the late Percy Trezise, and they also run tours to show you some local Quinkan country Aboriginal art sites.


Split Rock Art Site

About 15km south of Laura is the Split Rock carpark.

   laura split rock carpark laura split rock views

In the end of the carpark is a picnic shelter and a track that takes you up to the escarpment with views.

   laura split rock art site aboriginal art symbols

There are three different spots only a short walk away, the first one is Split Rock.

   laura flying fox art site aboriginal animal art

The other two are Flying Fox and Tall Spirits.

   laura tall spirits art site aboriginal spirituality

These are only a very small part of the actual amount of Quinkan art in the area.

Aboriginal History

On the Peninsula Dvelopmental Road is the Quinkan Art Centre.

   laura quinkan centre

Inside are lots of informative displays about the area's Aboriginal history.

   laura quinkan art centre

There is also some local art, and it is also the visitor information centre of the area.

   laura quinkan art

European History

The area also has some great European history. The township started as a connection junction during Palmer River gold rush.

   laura history

It connected the Palmer River Goldfields with Cooktown, which was established as the port for the goldfields. 

   laura mary harris memorial park laura gold history

In the Mary Harris Memorial Park are the steps of what used to be the Laura Railway Station. 

   laura railway station steps

And in the northern end of the town is the last railway bridge that was ever made, with gold starting to run out before the railway reached Maytown.

   laura cooktown railway bridge

The trains did runbetween Cooktown and Laura for almost 100 years, the rest of the transport was carried by a coach along what now is the Old Coach Road between Laura and Maytown.

Quinkan Hotel

Unfortunately the old Laura pub burned down in 2002.

   laura pub quinkan hotel

But it has been replaced and is still a popular place to stop.

   austin 7 laura pub camping

In front of the pub is an old Austin 7 - a replica of the first car that was ever driven to the tip of Cape York.

Accommodation in Laura

laura hotel

Quinkan Hotel

Like most Aussie pubs, the Quinkan Hotel also has rooms to stay, and behind the pub is also a camping ground.
It is a popular place to stay and during events and high season can get crowded.


laura roadhouse

Laura Roadhouse
If the pub is too noisy or too crowded, there is also a camping ground on the Peninsula Developmental Road.
It is larger and nowadays that the road is sealed until Laura, popular with caravans.


laura motel

Laura Motel
And the latest addition is the motel, in the main street across the road from the General Store and Quinkan Hotel. It is the most expensive but also the most modern, with air conditioned rooms with all comfort.



Jowalbinna Camping and Tours

North of the town, where the racecourse and rodeo grounds are, is the turnoff to Jowalbinna.

   jowalbinna camping

It is an Aboriginal camping ground run by the sons of the late
Percy Trezise, famous for finding a lot of Quinkan art sites.

   jowalbinna camping ground

The sons, particularly Steve Trezise, also run tours to some less accessible sites.





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This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)



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A little off the most beaten track, but you can still get some of these into your annual leave length of a trip (you can get most if you have all the details to plan right):

You find them all in the Site Map, along with all the other pages on the site and many more great gems :-)

Old Coach Road

old coach road

Frenchmans Track

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CREB Track

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Falls Track

falls track

Starcke Wakooka Track

starcke wakooka track

Bathurst Head

bathurst head

Running Creek Track

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Silver Plains

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Old Coen Track

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Pennefather

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Stones Crossing

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Skardon River

skardon river

Jardine River Ford

jardine river ford

Ussher Point

ussher point

Sadd Point

sadd point

Mutee Head and Jardine Mouth


mutee head

Escape River and Newcastle Bay 

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Five Beaches Track


beaches loop road

Roko Island Pearl Farm

roko island

Friday Island Pearl Farm

friday island