are many great spots to discover south of Cooktown.
really is a great place, and that's not only thanks to the town itself
but also the amount of places to see and things to do both north and
south of the town.
There are some great
parks and wildlife,
to walk on, and
some great places to enjoy fishing.
area covered on this page you can either
take the inland
(Mulligan Highway), or the coastal
road and (Helenvale
Road) south to Cape
Cook National Park
Just south of Cooktown is
Mt Cook National Park. It protects the highest mountain around here,
and you can walk up there.
The walk is quite demanding though so you
need some fitness and planning. The lower slopes have dry vegetation,
higher up is rainforest.
south of Mount Cook National Park is the turnoff to Quarantine Bay and
the Cooktown Golf Club.
Just in front
of the entrance to the golf club
is a small four wheel drive track to Walker Bay - a beautiful beach
with mountain views and some great fishing.
south is this nice lagoon, where you can watch the birdlife from a bird
hide that is a little walk away from the car park.
As everywhere up
here, the wildlife
plentiful during the Wet Season.
The next place
south of Cooktown is Annan River - the largest river just south of Cooktown.
is the "new" bridge, and also the Old Bridge, which in its day was one
of the largest of its kind in Australia. South, and east of the river
South of the
river is the turnoff to Archer Point.
The road is a
road, nothing too hard, and in the end of the road is a stunning spot
with some great ocean views and two lighthouses. Further south are the
Mountan National Park
on the main road, the next spot south is Black Mountain National park,
which you can enjoy from the lookout point next to the
all you can do - there are no walks or camping, or no access at all
to this park south of Cooktown.
Lagoon is south of Cooktown.
It is a
wetland and an important
habitat south of Mt
National Park and north
of the Big Annan River
just next to the main road so it's worth stopping if you're into
nature and wildlife.
That said, I have only seen
of magpie geese
... although there are supposed to be all
sorts of wetland creatures including crocodiles.
a 700m walk into the
Keatings Lagoon bird hide,
is a great place to watch the birds.
After the birdhide, the walking
continues (and we had a snake crossing the path in front of us) ...
comes to a picnic area
by the lagoon.
So bringing your
sandwiches could be an idea.
It is the end of the so-called
Wawu Balgal Bubu walk.
River National Park is just south of Cooktown.
It is a
large national park, the largest one in the Cooktown area. It covers
the area roughly
between Annan River in the north and west, and the road to Archer Point
in the south and east.
In the area around Archer Point is the Annan River Resources Reserve. Both the national park and
the resources reserve are traditional Yuku Baja-Muliku Aboriginal area,
and apart from Archer Point itself there is no access and no facilities.
One exception is that you can access Walkers Bay - the area around the
mouth of Annan River.
And there is another area where you can get close. It is Fisherman's Bend just north of Annan River.
is quite popular and
well known amongst locals as a good place to spot crocodiles.
Fisherman's Bend is not
inside the national park,
but Annan River national park is across the river.
There are a few
tracks you can walk or drive, including some to Keatings Lagoon and
Pooles Lagoon nearby.
Point is a beautiful spot south of Cooktown.
It is a
lovely coastal camping
spot, in the Annan River Resources Reserve.
There is a turnoff from the highway south of Annan
River National Park
and north of Black
Mountain National Park.
The road in is gravel but you don't need a four
wheel drive and it is suitable for caravans (in dry weather
As you get to the beach, there are beautiful views over bright blue
waters and the Rocky
Islet with its lighthouse.
your right hand side is a beach
with some great shady camping spots.
on the hill.
left hand side the track continues to the hill with a lighthouse.
on the hill.
It is a bit of a steep track up, but the views from the lighthouse
There are also a few pretty good four
wheel drive tracks on the hills here.
is one of the greatest
spots to fish
Falls are south of Cooktown.
easy to find because there are no signs on the main road.
There is a
sign of Trevethan Creek
you cross it, but this is not where you
get to the falls.
To get to the falls, you will have to turn into Mount
- which, by the way, doesn't go all the way to a nice beach as does the
road to Archer Point.
Mount Amos Road
goes to some locals' houses and
that's it. On Mount
Amos Road, about ten
kilometres in, is a
turnoff to the right
... then another turnoff
to your right,
... and then a third one
(we are on our way out here so you turn right where we are coming out).
more than three
kilometres later you come to a carpark
on your right hand side (again we are on our way out).
You can park there, or you can continue driving a little bit to the start of the walking track.
The last bit is a little steep and rough.
The walking track
is easy, but on quite a steep slope so you have to watch your steps.
Once you get to the falls
they are beautiful.
It's a great place to
bring a picnic or a few coldies and have a good swim.
Annan Gorge is south of Cooktown.
It is in the northern
end of Mulligan Highway, just before the turnoff to Wujal
Wujal, Lions Den and the rest of the coastal road. It is a beautiful gorge,
hole near the gorge.
are a few great swimming
Mountain National Park is just south of Cooktown.
impossible to miss these huge, strange looking
mountains on both sides of the highway.
They really look like (and at least in the upper layers they are), heaps of loose black rocks,
and somehow even a little bit of vegetation grows on them.
It is really different, and you just wonder how did they get here, why
do they look like they do, how
did such mountains form? No wonder
they were a special place
the local, Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal People, to whom the mountain is
known as Kaklajaka.
Well on the signs in the carpark,
a few things are explained.
They originally all were the same body of rock, which formed under the
surface of the Earth, when a mass of magma cooled and became solid -
quite a common way for a mountain to form. What was
unusual, was the
jointing pattern in the rock, which caused the fracturing
once the rock body was exposed thanks to erosion of the softer material
around it. Water got into the fractures, chemical reactions happened,
minerals were turned into clay, which was washed away, further
separating the blocks from each other and rounding them into boulders.
Deep under the boulders, a solid
mass of granite remains. Granite is not a black rock - on
the surface of the boulders grows an algae that makes them black. In
between the boulders, there must be at least enough soil for the few plants to grow.
There are also snakes and other animals,
including brown tree snakes, amethystine
and wallabies that they eat; and a frog, a skink and a gecko that are
totally endemic to Black Mountain National Park - found nowhere else in
a small track that goes a little bit off the carpark next to the
highway, where you can get a bit better view of the mountain. It's only
about 10% of the mountains
of Black Mountain
you can see.
There are no walks, no camping and no access to Black
Park - the
only place where you can enjoy it is from the lookout point.
Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
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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