Cooktown Travel Blog› entry 2 of 9 › view all entries
After we had bought up all the goodies we could possibly need from the Port Douglas Markets, we drove around to the supermarket to get some hamburger and some sweet buns and water, to go with our picnic lunch, which we shall require on our drive up to Cooktown, we don’t expect to find many shops along the way.
It was around 10.30am when we finally left Port Douglas; we headed off toward Mossman and turned up the Rex Range Road up and over a quite steep mountain through the dense rain forest, a pleasant drive.
Just what we needed to improve our holiday! Actually it was a wake up call, after that erle concentrated more on the speed limit and we both concentrated more on wearing seat belts.
It was a more subdued drive on from there, and we decided to help other motorists by flashing our headlights to warn everyone else on the road, all the while keeping strictly to the speed limit.
This highway is mainly unfenced so the Brahman cattle roam across the road in places, big beasts with humps on their backs and big droopy collars hanging from their necks, twice I saw a dead one on side of the road, they are a hazard. Also there must be masses of kangaroos around here as the road is littered with dead carcases of poor kangaroos that were not fast enough, though we never saw a single live kangaroo on the whole journey.
We were searching for a good place for a picnic by now, somewhere that was shady where we wouldn’t run into snakes, or crocodiles, no good place was found til we got to Lakeland where there are a couple of shops and a hotel, here there are picnic tables set out under big shady trees, that are full of noisy white sulpher crested cockatoo parrots, such an interesting place for a picnic, we shared our table with a biker from Cooktown, which was great as we heard a few snippets of interest about the town, while we ate.
Between this stop and Cooktown there is an interesting lookout place at Black Mountain, where all the Mountains are solid black rock with just a few wild Fig trees growing among the rocks, we saw plenty of pretty lizards on and around these black rocks.
As we drove in we stopped off at the first caravan park we came to trying to get a cabin for the night, he had no cabins, but he told us of Alamada Inn run by friends of his, he thought we would be happy there, so we went straight there, were quite impressed by the simple homeliness of the building, the friendliness of the owners and the nice shady conservatory area with tables and chairs for guests, there was a communal kitchen and bathrooms as well, for the price it as perfect, so we booked in for the night, then drove on into the town.
Cooktown with its wide streets and stately old historic wooden buildings impressed us. There were also some even more impressive stone buildings, quite a gracious town of old world charm and considering that until recently there was only sea access and all materials must have been shipped in made it all the more impressive.
Now it was time to start walking in Captain Cook's foot prints.
The population of Cooktown now days is abut 1600, but in its hey-day of mining days there were 30,000 odd, mainly Chinese men.
Armed with the tourist leaflet of sights and attractions, we started off on the Walk of Life a long meandering footpath along the parkland beside the Endeavour River from the Post office to Fisherman’s Wharf. Along the way there are wonderfully made tile panels set into the path telling various stories from the past of Cooktown, every one interesting.
There is along the way; a special Mibi Wall made by the Aborigine people to tell their side of the story. Also along this pathway you pass the statue of Captain Cook founder of the town and great explorer, a Memorial Cairn where the Captain beached his boat the HM Bark Endeavour in 1770, another monument to Captain Cook and his achievements; he is very important around here.
An old Canon that was to be used to protect the town from the Russians in 1881 (who knew the Russians were ever coming even back then?)
A large monument with drinking fountains on all sides to Mrs Watson, another important person who tragically was shipwrecked on Lizard Island in 1883 she and her child survived the ship wreck only to die of thirst as there is no water on Lizard Island, she tried sailing away in a raft she made but was found dead eventually, poor women.
A musical model ship that the children (and me) can play tunes on about 6 different musical instruments set into the ship, things you hit, blow or pull all make music.
There is a great old Railway station now used as an Art gallery and souvenir shop, with interesting photos along the walls.
The Old Bank from 1891, a huge stone building now used as a museum.
A statue called Mick the Miner in memory of the miners of the Palmer River Gold Rush.
Several wharves and many fishing boats plus a fine old pub now made into a restauant beside the main town wharf.
There is even a small monument to Queen Elizabeth who attended the grand reinactment of Cook's landing some years ago.
This was a very interesting walk that we both enjoyed; there is just so much history here. We must stay a few more nights to learn more of all that has taken place here.