Left the Lions Den Hotel Wednesday morning for a short run into Cooktown. Past Black Mountain on the way. This is literally a mountain of huge black boulders. There are stories of people who ventured onto the mountain never to be seen again. Apparently a whole herd of cattle was also lost in it (so the story goes). The photo only shows about a tenth of the mountain. Whatever the truth of the stories it does have a certain aura about it.
Arrived Cooktown about midday and as there is no free camping close into town we again had to use a caravan park. There are four or five parks and these are all very busy because of the school holidays. We have spent a day and a half exploring the town and its surrounds and we really like the town. It has the feel of a frontier town about it.
The highlight was a visit to the James Cook Museum. This has to be the best regional museum that I have ever visited. The museum is in the old Catholic convent and boarding school built in 1875 by the Mercy Sisters. The Sisters left the convent at the outbreak of the second world war, relocating to Herberton. They never returned. By 1960 the building had deteriorated so badly it was going to be demolished but was saved by local intervention and is now part of the estate of the National Trust. It has been beautifully restored and the museum tells the story of the building itself and of european and indigenous settlement since James Cook’s arrival. Of course it also houses the salvaged anchor and cannon from the Endeavour. We spent several hours here.
Drove to Archer Point which is a fee camping area about 25 kilometres from town. Would have been good camping but most of the area was taken up by what looked like long term occupants.
There is an IGA supermarket here and as we are heading bush tomorrow we have taken the opportunity to stock up with enough supplies for fourteen days. We are going to explore the Lakefield National Park. This is a huge remote park, it has an area larger than Belgium and has no facilities or mobile coverage. It is probable that this blog will not be updated until we get to Weipa which depending on how we travel could be around two weeks. For communications we will be using our HF radio and keeping in contact with VKS-737.
Whilst looking through some of the shops here we found one selling home brew supplies, nothing unusual about this however this shop also sells stills and ingredients to make your own whisky and rum. I thought home stills where illegal – oh well this is far north Queensland after all.
It has been very windy during our stay here and apparently this is normal for Cooktown. It has even started to rain very lightly tonight. We don’t really want any rain when we are in the Lakefield National Park or we will not be going anywhere.