About Cooktown

Cooktown is a small town and locality in the Shire of Cook, Queensland, Australia. Cooktown is located about 2,000 kilometres north of Brisbane and 328 kilometres North of Cairns, by road. Cooktown has pristine beaches, lush forests, tropical lagoons, waterfalls, hidden gardens, and magical mountain views.

Modern Cooktown which has a population of about 2,600, is located at the mouth of the Endeavour River. It is one of the northernmost towns on the East Coast of Australia and was founded in 1873, around the site of Cook's landing, as a port to service the newly discovered Palmer River Goldfields. Some of the relatively undisturbed natural features near the mouth of the river have been reserved in the Endeavour River National Park.

Discover Cooktown


Grassy Hill Look Out and Lighthouse

Offering the best views of Cooktown

Take in the breathtaking views of the town and the hinterland; share the same view of the Coral Sea and reefs that Captain Cook saw in 1770. See the ‘Cooktown Light’ – a working lighthouse since 1886. See more at http://www.cooktownandcapeyork.com/go/cooktown/grassy-hill and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grassy_Hill_Light



The Endeavour River

Was named by Captain James Cook

The Endeavour River was named by Captain James Cook who in 1770 hauled his damaged boat 'The Endeavour' into the river to repair it after it had sprung a leak on the reef. He stayed 7 weeks and made the most of his stay.  The Endeavour is the only river to be named by Cook.

​Today the Endeavour River offers great fishing and a place to explore Cooktown’s flora and fauna. Take a boat cruise to explore ancient mangrove systems and magnificent rainforest habitat; experience native wildlife and fauna in its natural form and learn about this amazing eco-system and the part it plays in supporting its neighbour the Great Barrier Reef.

Explore the river in your own boat, a hire boat or book a fishing or sight seeing charter. The end of the day is a great time to enjoy the river and there is no better way of doing it than taking a Riverbend “Sunset Cruise


Cherry Tree Bay

A beautiful secluded beach, accessible by walking track from the Cooktown botanic gardens

The beach sits between two hillsides. On the back part of the beach, there are palm trees and other wild life, and if you go to the far left, there is a little cove, with a stream. The beach itself is beautiful, with clean sand, swaying coconut palms and as there is no vehicle access you will generally find that you have it all to yourself

Finch Bay

Finch Bay is 2 km by road from downtown Cooktown

Finch Bay is a spectacular beach, surrounded by mountains and only a 5 minute drive or half hour walk from the centre of town.

With vehicle access and a small car park, it is Cooktown’s favourite beach. The beach is 500 m long and faces north-east. It is partly protected from the Trade winds by high, densely vegetated, granite headland.

Please reload

Cooktown Botanical Gardens

Cooktown's magnificent Botanic Garden of 62 hectares (154 acres) was established in 1878.

The Gardens contain much of the local flora made famous by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander from the scientific team aboard Cook’s Endeavour. The Gardens are a favoured destination for botanists and nature lovers and have beautiful walking tracks lead to Cooktown's two most popular beaches, Finch Bay and Cherry Tree Bay.

https://www.anbg.gov.au/chabg/bg-dir/029.html https://environment.ehp.qld.gov.au/heritage-register/detail/?id=601696

Cooktown Wharf

Located not far from where Captain Cook beached the Endeavour is Cooktown's main wharf.

Every visitor should take the opportunity to visit this picturesque location.  Particularly at the beginning and ends of a sunny day, the waterfront is a place not to be missed.

Steeped in history, the wharf area is also the haunt of many hopeful fishermen and women where the famous barramundi can be caught in season.

James Cook Historical Museum

James Cook Museum is a must do attraction

It Was officially opened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on 22 April 1970. The ground floor of the Museum houses an Aboriginal Gallery.  Cook's life story is depicted in a series of panels around the walls.

Housed in a stunning 19th Century convent building, the James Cook Museum in Cooktown is one of Queensland’s best museums, showcasing the fascinating history of this remarkable town.  The museum follows the story of Captain James Cook’s enforced seven week stay at the Endeavour River, during which the first meaningful contact between Europeans and Indigenous Australian took place, to the days of the Palmer River gold rush, as well as personal stories and items from Cooktown’s early residents.

Nature’s Powerhouse

An innovative building located in the beautiful, heritage listed Cooktown Botanic Gardens

Don’t miss Nature’s Powerhouse, It includes the Cooktown Visitor Information Centre, Vera Scarth-Johnson Gallery, an exhibition space and a Cafe. 

The Vera Scarth-Johnson Gallery displays the only collection of original botanical illustrations of flora from the region. Many plants can be found in the adjoining Botanic Gardens.

See more at http://www.cooktownandcapeyork.com/go/cooktown/naturespowerhouse

Cooktown Markets

Cooktown Markets are held every Saturday morning in the shady parkland along the picturesque Endeavour River.

Enjoy the relaxed market atmosphere in a stunning setting, choosing from some of the Cape York Peninsula's finest fresh produce. Sweet sensations include locally grown passionfruits, while bananas, mangoes and more are all eagerly sought after. Organic growers offer a range of fresh farm and garden produce including jams, honey, dried fruit and chutneys. Locally made handicrafts, natural soaps, creams, jewellery, trinkets and second hand goods, fill colourful stalls with laid back locals ready for a chat as they display their wares. 

Cooktown Cemetery & Chinese Shrine

The Cooktown Cemetery and Chinese Shrine is located about a kilometre out of town along McIvor Road

Piece together some of Cooktown's amazing history.  The Chinese Shrine stands as a memorial to these hardy people who played such an important part in the development of Far North Queensland.

Here also, you can see the grave of the "The Normanby Woman", who lived with the Aboriginal people of the Normanby River area, as well, the grave of Mrs Watson to whom a memorial also stands in the main stree

Cooktown History Centre

Visit the old Post & Telegraph office to take a journey though Cooktown’s wide ranging and fascinating history from stories, photographs, interactive displays, murals and oral histories.


Please reload

Phone 07 4069 6400
Cooktown Orchid Travellers Park
Cnr Charlotte & Walker St Cooktown