Cooktown-Cape York

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Cooktown - Hire a 4WD vehicle in Port Douglas and drive north along the rough track of the Bloomfield Trail to Cooktown taking in Cape Tribulation and the Bloomfield Falls enroute.  Cooktown was first officially put on the map of  'Terra Australis' in 1770 when Captain James Cook was forced to set up a tented village for approximately two weeks whilst his damaged ship Endeavour was repaired.  During the journey north mapping the coastline of Australia, Endeavour, struck the Great Barrier Reef just off Cape Tribulation which Cook aptly named, and only after cannons, ballast and ships stores had been thrown over board did the ship refloat and limp to shore.  The Aboriginals, whom Captain Cook found  friendly, took the sailors hunting and fishing, but Cooktown didn't really become prosperous until a century later when gold was discovered in the Palmer River.  Cooktown then thrived as base for the prospectors (sour-doughs) and missionaries who flocked to the region.

Click image to enlarge.

HMS Bark Endeavour has been faithfully replicated by dedicated carpenters and ship wrights and is now currently (Summer/Autumn 2003) sailing coastal waters of the UK and Europe.  One of the original canons from Cook's Endeavour which has been salvaged from the Reef is now in the James Cook Museum in Cooktown.

Cape York is a remote frontier much sought after by 4 WD enthusiasts, and those with a sense of adventure, who describe the region as 'the last great wilderness'.  Tropical Forests of the coastal regions give way to grasslands of the cattle stations around the Mullgrave River and the Laura Homestead; travelling further north the landscape turns into huge tracts of dry open forest and monsoonal savannah grassland.   To reach the tip of Cape York is a feat of endurance and an experience only for the adventurous.

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Last modified: 12/10/03