At 8am we arrived at Cooktown which is steeped in history with buildings dating back to the 1870s. It was here that the famous explorer Captain James Cook took refuge during his voyage of discovery after claiming Australia as a British colony in 1770. Cook and his crew spent 7 weeks here repairing their ship after their catastrophic grounding on nearby Endeavour Reef.
We visited the Botanic Gardens, established
in 1878 and one of the oldest in Australia.
We then visited the James Cook museum, a 19th century convent building, of which the highlight is the original anchor and cannon jettisoned overboard after Endeavour struck a reef and began taking on water – they were only retrieved from the reef in early 1970’s. It was interesting to read the stories of the encounters between Cook and the local Guugu Yimithiir people, as told from both perspectives, as well as learning about the Palmer River gold rush in 1873 and the lives of the Chinese who flocked to the area. (The Post Office is a heritage building, erected in 1887 / The Cook monument & cannon were erected in 1887.
Two Isles - In the afternoon we visited the remote uninhabited
Two Isles, a coral sand cay and were taken
ashore in the glass bottomed boat. We snorkelled
and walked around the island.