Enjoy Fishing, Birdwatching, Hikes and Walks and Kite Surfing
"Cooktown is unique for its close proximity to a myriad of angling environments. You can fish the outer reef for its legendary black marlin; the inner reef for coral trout, red emperor, mackerel and tuna. On the beaches, headlands and coastal flats you'll find trevally, queenies, permit and the elusive bonefish; and in the estuaries chase barramundi, mangrove jacks, fingermark and crabs. And way up in the sweetwater jungle, perch and sooty grunter abound. This is a fishing paradise!" (Explore Cooktown & Cape York)
Cooktown is a fisher’s paradise and should be on every fisher’s bucket list of places to visit.
Situated at the mouth of the Endeavour River it is the closest town to the Great Barrier Reef and the inner reefs, a couple of miles offshore, are accessible by smaller boats in good conditions. Close by is the Annan River and Archer Point offering good fishing from boat or shore (and the old ridge over the Annan). A couple of hours by 4WD gets you to Starke River or Lakefield National Park which also offer some great fishing.
Cooktown has an excellent boat ramp although this can get busy on good weather days. Other boat ramps are situated at Marton (7kms up river from Cooktown), the Annan River, Bloomfield River and Archer Point.
Mangrove Jack, Trevally, Fingermark, Queenies and Barramundi provide some of the best river fishing around. Out on and around the Reef Coral Trout, Red & Spangled Emperor, Nannigai and Spanish Mackerel are some of the pick of many species.
Cooktown is well served by the Lure Shop - one of the best stocked fishing and hunting shops in North Queensland, who provide great advice supported by all the gear you could ever want.
Cooktown Barra Charters and Gone Fishing provide great customer experiences and usually a feed to take home.
"Cooktown fishing is amongst the best on the peninsula." (Destination Cape York)
"Cooktown is an ideal place for bird watching, because there are four main geographical regions that meet here, each with its own set of special birds – Wet Tropics rainforest, Cape York Peninsula forests, coastal wetlands and mangroves, and the drier woodlands of the Laura and Battlecamp escarpments." (Explore Cooktown & Cape York)
The Botanic Gardens, Coastal walks, the old Railway Track Walk and the beaches provide great birdwatching opportunities within Cooktown.
Just out of town is Keatings Lagoon another great place to spot a range of birds - take the walk around the Lagoon and use the bird hide for best results.
Hiking & Walking
Cooktown has a wide selection of great walks from an easy stroll along river and waterfront to the more demanding hike up and down Mount Cook. or the Grassy Hill and Beaches circuit.
You can do the Scenic Rim Walk as one or in parts to enjoy the diversity of landscapes and flora around the town. See Map.
A stroll around the Botanic Gardens is a highlight and you can extend it by taking the path to FInch Bay. Or follow the old railway track through the mangroves to the historic cemetery.
Just outside town you take the short walk around Keatings Lagoon to enjoy the tranquillity and birdlife. Or you can walk along Walker Beach to where the Annan River meets the sea.
Cooktown is being discovered by the kite surfing community as its world class wind conditions and great beaches are discovered by more and more kite surfers.
Walkers Beach and Archer's Point are just outside Cooktown and easily accessible. Further afield, the other side of Hope Vale is Elim Beach which is also popular
Kite-surfing in the region was pioneered by Anthony Hadleigh who runs Australian Kite Surfari at Elim Beach from his amazing converted water tank home.
"Strong, constant trade winds off Cape Flattery, Queensland mean these Surfaris are ideal for experienced kiters or beginners that are up on the board ready to progress. With only a handful of non kiteable days in our season, it’s not surprising we have become the kite destination of choice for so many kiters."