(Cooktown rock art tours, courtesy of Tourism Queensland)
Remote, yet easily accessible, Cooktown is one of Australia’s most fascinating and historic frontier towns nearly 70 miles north of Port Douglas . Known as the gateway to the wilderness, Captain James Cook spent 48 days in 1770 on the banks of the Endeavour River repairing his ship. Every June the town celebrates Cooktown's status as Australia's first, if brief, European settlement. Walking tracks in the area allow for visitors to explore areas of beach, bush and mountains. Closer to town is Grassy Hill where one can share the same view as Captain Cook.
The mission of Cooktown Museum is monitoring, promoting and preserving the pioneering history of Cooktown. Among the displays, you'll find mind boggling nautical collections and marine specimens, model ships, stories and even the crocodile featured in the movie "Crocodile Dundee" that Paul Hogan carried into the bar at the Walkabout Hotel. There is also a big display and story of "The Duyfken" and more.
Split Rock art site
Ang-Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation provides guided or self-guided tours to witness the spectacular Quinkan rock art sites. The drawings recreate everyday life in an ancient Aboriginal civilisation. See hunters tracking their prey, dingoes, turtles and cassowaries in the wild, hand stencils of adults and children and images of a traditional tribal festival.
Black Mountains National Park
28 km to the south of the town these strange mountains feature huge granite boulders blackened by surface lichen. They are of special significance to the local Aborigines due to their connection with the legend of Kalcajagga, which recounts a feud between two brothers for the love of a girl.
Lying 50 miles north-east of Cooktown Lizard Island was first explored by Captain Cook, who climbed to the top of the hill now known as Cook's Lookout. to find a suitable passage away from the island.and through the Reef. The Island is a national park and there is currently an exclusive resort catering for a small number of guests. The reef here offers great diving. Lizard also offers one of the best anchorages on the North Coast.