Cooktown is one of Queensland’s oldest historic towns, named after Captain James Cook. In 1770, the British explorer damaged the hull of his ship while sailing around the Great Barrier Reef. It was on the shores of the Endeavour River in Cooktown where he spent the next 48 days repairing his ship, along with the rest of his crew. This was a time of two very different cultures meeting, as the original inhabitants observed Cook’s arrival.
It’s a small town that plays a big part in Queensland’s history. If you’re keen to soak up the historical stories, the James Cook Museum is a great place to start! The museum is home to the original anchor and cannon from Cook’s ship, The Endeavour. The museum not only explores Cook’s fight for survival; it also tells the story of his interaction with the local Guugu Yimithirr people.
2020 will mark 250 years since Cook arrived on the shores of this quaint Queensland town. These days, Riverbend Tours offers a far more leisurely cruise along the river, similar to the one Cook would have sailed all those years ago. The Sunset Cruise includes a tasty cheese platter, breathtaking views and two wonderful guides who share their town’s unique history.
If you’re looking for a great place to stay in town, The Sovereign Resort, or “the Sovy” to locals, is a tropical oasis in the centre of town. The on-site restaurant is a bonus and serves up hearty meals, so you won’t be going to bed hungry!
A good time to visit Cooktown is during The Discovery Festival, which is on from the 14 to 16 June 2019. Over the weekend, there will be an official opening ceremony, historical re-enactments, indigenous showcases and more.
The town will also celebrate the 250th anniversary of Cook’s arrival! The 2020 Festival will be celebrated across seven weeks, from 17 June to 4 June 2020.