We arrived in Cooktown around 2.30 and quickly set up camp once the owner made up his mind just where we were allowed to park our vehicles and trailers. We privately nick named him Basil (after Faulty Towers). 'Sybil' was quite nice and charming. The campground was not the best, there was no lighting at nights even to the toilets, no camp kitchen, just one washing machine. The showers were good though and plentiful.
Cooktown is certainly wasn’t what I expected, that’s for sure! For one it is much smaller and older. The history you will see and learn about our country here is astounding. Cooktown has some fine old buildings evidence of the gold rush and other prosperous times. We found Cooktown to be a very windy place to be and when you are in a tent, you quickly get sick of the wind, then only way to get out of the wind is to sit in the car or inside your tent or go sight seeing, which is what we did when we could.
The James Cook Museum is a great museum in town in what used to be the convent. The exhibits they have there are remarkable, given how isolated Cooktown is. It’s even better than most of the city museums I have been in. For just $8 per person, we spent several hours reading and looking at all the exhibits including a copy of Cook’s journal and the actual anchor from the Endeavour, Cook’s boat. The museum covered the indigenous people and the Chinese history within the area. Quite fascinating.
We spent several hours wandering around looking at the sights including the wharf, art and craft shops and the lookout will take your breath away. We also need to catch up with some bureaucratic stuff that we had to do whilst in town. Boring but essential at times! When others went for a long drive to a reserve, we stayed back and had a quiet relaxing time, visiting the botanical gardens and a cove as well as stocking up on some fresh food.
The lookout on the top of Grassy Hill where the lighthouse stands offers an outstanding 360 degree view of the area. Apparently James Cook spent quite a bit of time on this hill back in 1770 to observe the mouth of the river with its treacherous sandbanks to plan a passage out to sea, the last thing he needed was to get stuck again! It is a pity we didn't have time to book a k Guurbi Tour where you will have an aboriginal guide to show you sacred Aboriginal sites and “birthing grounds” nearby. maybe next time now that I know about it.
Diesel here was $1.49.9 per litre. We hear it is just going to get more expensive the further north we go, which is understandable.
We ended up staying here for 3 nights as the planned stay at Elim beach camping ground was cancelled when we found that no liquor was allowed to be brought it at all being on an Aboriginal reserve.