It’s a long way to the top, Day 46 – Cooktown

Day 46 Monday July 21st 2014 Endeavour River to Cooktown

It is much cooler this morning, cool enough to eat indoors. We pack up as G & S head off to the Lion’s Den Hotel. We brace ourselves for the long drive to Cooktown, twenty kilometres. ‘Roos lope across the road.

Cooktown is looking lovely in the sun and we have a coffee at the Sovereign (the bottom pub) before checking into the Peninsula Caravan Park which is about 2 kms from the main Charlotte Street. We chose the Peninsula Caravan Park because it advertised as being free of midges. The town is quite spread out and most of the action is on Charlotte Street.

The view from the lookout not only encompasses all of Cooktown but out to sea the Great Barrier Reef is quite visible and only a few kilometres offshore. The now obsolete lighthouse stands about twenty feet tall, the hill it is on makes up for its lack of height.

Endeavour River and Cooktown, Qld
The Cooktown lighthouse is vertically challenged

On the town foreshore there is a majestic monument to Captain Cook and a marker showing the place where the Endeavour was beached. What captivates us though is the musical ship made of plastic water pipes that can be played with mallets as five separately toned instruments. The wharf area is busy and a dredge is clearing the river. The north bank of the river is all white sand whereas the south bank is muddy and rocky. Of course, there are croc warnings.

Jim Cook wos ‘ere. Site of the Endeavour beaching
and the magical musical ship built from plastic water pipe

It is steamy and through the open window of the Cooktown Hotel (The Top Pub) we watch eagles soaring on the thermals as we sip our beers. House of the Rising Sun plays in the background, hmm nice.

We get a feel for the town by driving all the back streets. Finch bay is the local swimming beach (croc warnings), there is a wide expanse of sand and large granite boulders at one end. Eagles soar over the beach.

The Fisho drives through the camp every evening selling prawns and playing “Octopus’s Garden”. Of course, we buy some. How could anyone resist.

Everyone loves a visit from The Fisho

The Cooktown Hotel advertises sunset on their verandah and we decide to take them up on their offer. The front door is shaded by a piece of striped canvas hanging down about a metre. We lift the canvas and enter the cool of the bar. It is busy and noisy and classic rock is still playing, now it’s the Stones. We are greeted by a small shaggy dog with a big smile. We take our drinks up the steep wooden stairs and find half a dozen others on the verandah. There are small single rooms with French doors opening out onto the verandah in colonial fashion. Unlike most pubs these days this one is still taking guests and is quite busy. There’s a musician on the phone chasing guitar equipment that he ordered in Townsville three weeks ago and a family sharing a pizza that not only looks good but smells good too. The sun drops over the ranges to the aroma of garlic. Downstairs we order the Barramundi (it has to be good up here). The kitchen smells amazing and there is a Thai chef. People are calling the dog Puss Puss and sure enough that is its name. Apparently both its neighbours have cats so it learnt to come running whenever Puss Puss was called. The barra? Delicious!

The Cooktown Hotel a top pub in many ways

Towing Kms: Oh, about 20Kms

2020 Note: Fisho vans are a common sight in coastal caravan parks and everyone plans their meals around the day the Fisho brings sweet fresh prawns and other delights.

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