Cooktown
Gateway to the natural wonders of the reef and cape.

Map of the Great Barrier Reef

Cooktown has over two centuries of rich history. Cooktown was the site of the first white ‘settlement’ in Australia when Captain James Cook, having accidentally struck the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast north of Cape Tribulation, struggled up the coast and beached the Endeavour on the shores of the Endeavour River. Cook and his crew were to stay on the edge of the Endeavour River from 17 June to 4 August, 1770, the longest time they were to spend at any location in Australia.

Photo: Captain James Cook

Discover the most beautiful, lush natural settings of Cooktown. Naturally there are the pristine beaches, but you can also find tropical lagoons, waterfalls, hidden gardens, and magical mountain views.

A must-see is a visit to Grassy Hill Lookout where you can experience 360 degree views of the countryside and beaches. There is also a walking track from the summit to the nearby beach at Cherry Tree Bay.

Cooktown, with it’s anchor and cannon recovered from the reef that wrecked Captain Cook’s “Endeavour”, is a fascinating place. Located in far north Queensland Australia, the fishing is great and the scenery is unique. Cooktown also has an Airport.

Cooktown Attractions and Activities

A visit to the Museum and the historic cemetery should be on everyone’s list, followed by an afternoon at the Fishermans Wharf to watch the barramundi being caught and the sun set. Explore Cooktown’s history and culture, not only by walking through town, but also by visiting the monuments and museums of Cooktown.

James Cook Museum

James Cook Museum is located on the corner of Helen Street and Furneaux Street. Built as a convent in 1889, Cooktown’s finest historical building houses well-preserved and presented relics from Cook’s time in the town, including journal entries and the cannon and anchor from the Endeavour, retrieved from the sea floor in 1971, and displays on the area’s Indigenous culture. Entry is $10 for adults, children – $3. Opens at 9:30, closes at 4pm.

Nature’s Powerhouse

Home to two excellent galleries: the Charlie Tanner Gallery, with pickled and preserved creepy-crawlie exhibits; and the Vera Scarth-Johnson Gallery, displaying botanical illustrations of the region’s native plants.

The centre doubles as Cooktown’s official visitor centre, with brochures outlining some of the area’s excellent walking trails. Its Verandah Cafe serves dishes, such as gado gado with coconut damper. Nature’s Powerhouse is at the entry to Cooktown’s 62-hectare Botanic Gardens. Filled with native and exotic tropical plants, including rare orchids, the gardens are among Australia’s oldest and most magnificent.

Getting to Cooktown

In the past, Cooktown could only be accessed by 4WD’s but with the completion of the sealed Cooktown Developmental Road in January 2006, Cooktown is now more accessible to everyone.

Cooktown also has an Airport.

Cooktown Accommodation

Cooktown Alamanda Inn Lodge
Hope St Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5203

Cooktown Hotel
Corner of Charlotte & Walker Sts Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5308

Cooktown Motor Inn
12 Charlotte St Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5357

Hillcrest Guesthouse
Hope St Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5305

Home Rule Rainforest Lodge
Rossville via Cooktown Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4060 3925

Lizard Island Resort
Anchor Bay Lizard Island Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4060 3999

River of Gold Motel Resort
Corner of Hope & Walker Sts Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5222

Seaview Motel
Charlotte St Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5377

The West Coast Hotel
19 Charlotte St Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5350

Tropical Breeze Motel
Charlotte St Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5417

Cooktown Caravan Parks

Cooktown Caravan Park
14-16 Hope St Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5562

Cooktown Holiday Park
Charlotte St Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5417

Cooktown Orchid Travellers Park
Corner of Charlotte St & Walker Sts Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 6400

Endeavour Falls Tourist Park
McIvor Rd Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5431

Peninsular Caravan Park
Howard St Cooktown QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4069 5107

She Shops 365

Add Your Insight

Share your inside knowledge, whether it be good places to stay or eat nearby, unusual places to visit in the area and any other information about this destination.

More great Australian travel destinations
About 'greatbarrierreef.org'

greatbarrierreef.org is a 'Web Magazine' website that is dedicated to all things related to the Great Barrier Reef. We are passionate about Australia's great natural wonder, its vast marine life, its golden sun-kissed beaches, its warm turquiose waters and the unforgetable experiences that are waiting for all who visit. Our aim is to discuss the Great Barrier Reef, its history, its environment, its marine life and its spectacular destinations. We hope that this website will inspire all who visit, just as much as the Great Barrier reef has inspired us.

Travel web design

Travel and tourism website design by Jimmyweb
Sydney website design by Jimmyweb
Blue Mountains website design by iVent