It’s a long way to the top, Day 47 – Getting to know Cooktown

Day 47 Tuesday July 22nd 2014 Cooktown

I’m only keeping this journal so that we know what day it is! As I eat breakfast a green ant walks up my arm and a seriously cute brown dome shaped beetle walks across my Kindle and threatens to swim in my coffee mug. Campers are pulling out in droves. They are all covered in orange dust and all 4WD most with tents and gear on top. I’ve never seen so many 4WD’s, they would make up 80% of the cars in town. Obviously, Cape York is the preferred destination “The Tip” as it is called. Down at the wharf Woody watches fishermen unloading live Coral Trout.

We are thrilled that we have three days to spend here as it is an unusual town. We run into a couple who had been parked beside us in Port Douglas whom we dubbed “The Bold & the Beautiful” as he never left the television. They make a most unlikely couple to be holidaying in a motorhome. Today they are having a puncture repaired and are unsure of how long it would take but are hoping that it won’t be three days as “what would you do in a place like this!”

We visit the Botanic Gardens and learn an awful lot about tropical plants, even that you can cook food in Melaleuca bark as it doesn’t burn. They have an amazing collection of dead snakes in formaldehyde in fact every snake that is native to the Cape York region.

A trip to the old Convent that now houses the James Cook Museum is just what we needed to get a grip on the local history and they cover everything. From the Aboriginal history to the arrival of the Endeavour, the discovery of gold in the Palmer River one hundred years later and the subsequent arrival of the Chinese which in time made up 90% of the population. The arrival of European gold miners and then the evacuation of the area in 1942 when it was thought that the Japanese would invade and of course the many cyclones. There is a wonderful view of the harbour from the convent balcony.

Back in camp I tune up the uke and being beside the amenities block we have quite a long happy hour as campers drop in for a bit of a yack.

Towing Kms: 0

2020 Note: The trip up to Cape York is more popular than ever and I sometimes wonder if adventure film crews have to shove all the grey nomads out of shot when filming. We’re not set up for off bitumen adventure so this one isn’t on our bucket list and I doubt that sailing through Torres Strait on a ship counts as having been there.

The old convent now James Cook Museum
A delightful view of Cooktown and the river
Charlotte Street, Cooktown and a pub that has been topped in a cyclone, buggers of things! Note the veranda posts on the footpath.

9 thoughts on “It’s a long way to the top, Day 47 – Getting to know Cooktown

  1. I remember giant cups of coffee from some place in Cooktown and also a wonderful market with a man using his bike to operate a fruit juicing apparatus. A very interesting area.

    Like

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