At the southeastern edge of Cape York Peninsula, Cooktown is a small place with a big history: for thousands of years, Waymbuurr was the place the local Guugu Yimithirr and Kuku Yalanji people held as a meeting ground, and it was here that on 17 June 1770, Lieutenant (later Captain) Cook beached his bark, the Endeavour, on the banks of its estuary at Waymbuurr. The Endeavour had earlier struck a reef offshore from Cape Tribulation, and Cook and his crew spent 48 days here while they repaired the damage – making it the site of Australia’s first, albeit transient, non-Indigenous settlement.
The inland route from Mareeba was finally sealed all the way in 2005, and tourism is now a growing industry. It’s still remote territory, though, and still firmly believes that happiness is a fishing rod and an Esky full of beer.
Cooktown destination guides
Cooktown 4WD Adventure Tour from Cairns or Port Douglas
Explore the historic township of Cooktown as you drive through the magical World Heritage Listed Daintree National Park and the famous Bloomfield Track on this 4WD tour from Cairns, Northern Beaches and Port Douglas. The journey is just as spectacular as the destination.
2-Day Cooktown 4WD Small-Group Tour from Cairns or Port Douglas
Discover Australia's Aboriginal culture and explore the rugged beauty of the Lower Cape on this 2-day Cooktown small-group tour from Cairns or Port Douglas.