Cooktown Is The Hidden Gem Of FNQ

Cooktown QLD

If you have been following our journey so far you will know that we have headed into Queensland. Most travellers would slowly travel north either taking the inland road or along the coast. Not us! We decided to head as far north as we possibly could as quick as we could and then take our time and head south into NSW before the rainy season in December.

The drive up was fast. We took 3 weeks and the further north we got the further we were falling in love with the tropical wonders of Queensland. We were in awe of the lush greenery, the smell of sugar cane and the abundance of swimming holes that were surrounded by rainforests. We had fallen head over heels in love with Far North Queensland!

We finally arrived in Cooktown and were taken back by how quiet this town was. We had imagined it being a larger town, bustling with tourists and boats. But that was far from the reality. The town was filled with friendly locals who were always willing to help. There was hardly a tourist or traveller in sight.

The water is a true reflection of just how beautiful FNQ is. The water is eyegasmic! It teases you and invites you in everyday but even walking too close to the shore can be dangerous. FNQ is inhabited with crocodiles and swimming in these picture perfect beaches can be dangerous. Through the months of October-March the stingers invade the waters too. The only thing to do is sit back and relax with a drink or have a fish.


We stayed at Cooktown Caravan Park for a few days. The park was clean and the owner was friendly. It has lots of shade and a bonus was the swimming pool. We didn’t originally plan to spend any longer than 3 days in Cooktown but we really liked it here. Unfortunately the caravan park was full so we moved to the Cooktown Racecourse RV Rest Area. Where we also stayed here for another 3 days. This is a donation camp with a max stay of 72 hours. You must fully self contained and have a grey water tank. We didn’t have an inbuilt grey water tank and were asked to buy to bucket for our grey water.

*** BEWARE of the midgies!


What To Do In Cooktown?

Mount Cook Mountain

YES YES YES. Do not miss climbing to the top of Mount Cook mountain. We headed there originally to do the simple pathed walk which was 2kms. All of us were together- all three kids, Dan and myself. But as we were there I was eager to get to the top so the two youngest (aged 6 and 5) tagged along with me. The walk is tough, it has steep inclines and most of the way to the top there is no pathway. You can only find your way by following the yellow triangles. You will climb over big rock boulders and duck under low tree branches. I sometimes wondered if we would find our way back…..But once you reach the top you realise it was all worth it- it is magic. The view is well worth the sweaty and hard walk to the top. There is a viewing platform and on the day we went it was very windy.

Length- 7kms return. Took us 2.5 hours return

Head To The Jetty

There are two jetty’s in Cooktown. We fished from the small boat jetty and caught undersized fingermark fish. But if you walk up to the main wharf you will see the locals bringing in the big feeds. We were jealous. But everyone is jokes all round. It’s like a big friendly party on the wharf where there is always fishing, banter and lots of laughter.

Bowls Club For Dinner

After your fishing trip head to one of the 4 restaurants in town. We liked the bowls club for a cold drink. Dinner was reasonably priced and there was plenty on menu to choose from.

Foreshore Water Bucket- Kids

If you have kids then you will understand that they will naturally gravitate towards the water and with all beaches being off limits, the next best thing is the water feature on the foreshore. This is where we spent every afternoon. Grass, shade, toilets and BBQ’s were all a delight for a relaxing afternoon on the foreshore.

Jackey Jackey Thai Restaurant

Now if you are wanting some outstanding original thai food then this place is not to missed. Jackey jackey’s is popular and does get pretty booked out so you must book in advanced to get a spot. We had campers next to us that were extending their stay just so they could eat dinner at the restaurant again. It is amazing!

Cooktown Botanic Gardens

The botanical gardens has a boutique of all kinds of flowers and trees. It is set out nicely and is nice for a walk in the morning before the midday heat sets in. From here you can walk to Finch Bay and enjoy the lookout or enjoy a stroll along the beach.

James Cook Museum

Here is where you can find out more history about the famous Captain Cook. Lots of information here. The place is small and doesn’t offer all that much in artefacts but if you have a spare few hours and are a history buff then head on here before you leave.

Grassy Hill Lookout

This is a lookout NOT to be missed. The drive up is only short but steep with windy roads. The views from the top are spectacular. Knowing that Captain Cook himself had also been standing at the top of Grassy Hill hundreds of years ago it makes a very special moment in time.

Cooktown we will be back and if you have not put it on your bucket list then I highly recommend you add it now!

Kylie and Dan

Fearlessly Living and Exploring

Fearless and Free Range