Cooktown, a place we were curious about and had no idea what to expect. We never been so far up North in Queensland and had to cross it off our bucket list.
So off we went to Cape York, one of the worlds last untouched frontiers and the most Northern Part of Australia. We discussed about going all the way up, but our car was seriously packed to the rafters so we didn’t want to risk to get bogged or anything, and luckily afterwards we didn’t as our car needed fixing as soon as we arrived in Cairns ( but this is another story 😉 ) And besides that, we had seen enough dust, sand and remoteness after living in the outback for years, so for us it wouldn’t add anything more on our trip.
So we decided to drive up to Cooktown, via the Mulligan Highway, and what a beautiful drive that is! It really reminded us of the Kimberley, but greener and with the sea and the rainforest at your doorstep. There are several look out points and stops along the way. If you drive from Cairns it takes you around 3.5 hours to get to Cooktown. This way is sealed all the way up and has views as far as the eye can see.
Apart from the Mulligan Highway, there is another option as well to get up to Cooktown, which is the coastal route with stunning sea views and is mostly sealed, apart from the Bloomfield track, which is from Cape Tribulation to Wujal Wujal and is 4 wheel drive only. This route is stunning but takes you much longer to get up or down ( think about 5 hours from Cairns ) and can be inaccessible with certain weather.
Cooktown itself is a small historic coastal town surrounded by nature and the reef. You can feel the laid-back atmosphere and everything goes just a bit slower over here. Cooktown is quite small, so we stayed just for 1 night and checked out the main highlights Cooktown has to offer.
When you arrive in Cooktown make sure you head straight up Grassy Hill to get a feel for the layout of the town. From here you’ll be able to check out the scenic Endeavour River and catch some great views of the Great Barrier Reef waters. Captain James Cook was hiking this hill plenty of times when his ship was anchored in the inlet to get things fixed up.
Make sure you catch the sunset at Grassy Hill also as this has got to be one of the best sunset views in the region. When the sun sets into the Endeavour River and there are some clouds in the sky, this place becomes magical.
There is a small boulevard along the water’s edge and is also a nice place to have a stroll around and enjoy a cuppa or nice feed.
One night was enough to explore Cooktown for us, but if you are a slow traveller, you can easily enjoy yourself here for 2 nights.
For us one of the highlights was the look at point at Grassy Hill and the whole drive up to Cooktown which was absolutely stunning and another great road trip.
There are plenty of places to stay in Cooktown. Check out the best deals at www.hotelscombined.com ( why would you pay more for the same Hotel or Caravan Park?! Hotels Combined compares the largest booking providers, like Booking.com and Agoda.com )
Wherever you choose to stay make sure you don’t stay in a cabin at the Peninsula Caravan Park in Cooktown. Read our experience here
After one night in Cooktown and exploring around the next morning it was time to go back down South and hit the road in the direction of Port Douglas, but first we had to check out another great and interesting pub/ accommodation called the Lions Den Hotel.
Read more about the Lions Den Hotel in our next article.
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