Cooktown is one of Australia's most historic towns. It is located in far north Queensland just north from Cairns and the Daintree rainforest region. In 1770 when Captain James Cook made his epic journey of discovery to Australia, he sailed north along the coast charting the coastline as he went. Eventually he ended up in the waters between the Great Barrier Reef and the mainland, and the further north he went, the narrower the channel became and the more reefs he encountered. Sailing vessels, in those days, were not very maneuverable and really only sailed well downwind, so he was forced to continue sailing north before the prevailing south east wind. Eventually disaster struck and the ship ran aground on what is now called Endeavor Reef. Cook ordered the crew to lighten the ship by throwing heavy items overboard and his cannons, ammunition and other heavy items were jettisoned. Although the ship was holed, Cook managed to refloat her and he careened her in a nearby estuary on the mainland to effect repairs. That estuary is now the mouth of the Endeavor River and Cooktown lies on its shores.
Cooktown is now the northern extremity of the sealed highway system that extends along Australia's east coast. The town is now a mixture of a tourist destination and a service port for the fishing industry that fishes through the northern waters of the Great Barrier Reef. There is some excellent accommodation in Cooktown and some really interesting old pubs and museums. Nearby there are some really interesting places to visit. Black Mountain is just out of Cooktown and this is the remains of an ancient glacial morain. These mountains consist of millions of huge black granite boulders piled up to form a mountain. Just south of here you can turn off onto the Bloomfield track which leads south through the rainforest to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation region. This is four wheel drive country at its best, with river and creek crossings and spectacular scenery. Cooktown is a great place for day tours and fishing charters are popular.
If you are coming to Australia for a holiday, especially if you will be touring by campervan, Cooktown is a special place to visit.