11 Must-See Attractions In Cooktown For An Unforgettable Adventure

things to do in cooktown

Cooktown is a hidden gem nestled in the far north of Queensland, Australia. It is a town steeped in history and culture, and it offers a range of must-see attractions that offer a unique experience to its visitors. From its stunning natural beauty to its rich cultural heritage, Cooktown is a destination not to be missed. Whether you are an adventure seeker or a history buff, we have compiled a list of the 11 must-see attractions in Cooktown for an unforgettable adventure. So, put on your hiking boots and get ready to explore the wonders of Cooktown.


James Cook Museum

Source: www.kidsaboutcairns.com
Characteristic Description
NameCooktown Museum
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.4 / 354
Address50 Helen St, Cooktown QLD 4895, Australia
Phone+61 7 4069 5386
HoursTuesday - 9 AM–4 PM
Wednesday - 9 AM–4 PM
Thursday - 9 AM–4 PM
Friday - 9 AM–4 PM
Saturday - 9 AM–4 PM
Sunday - 9 AM–4 PM
Monday - 9 AM–4 PM

The James Cook Museum in Cooktown, Australia is one of the most important museums in the country. It is dedicated to Captain James Cook, the British explorer who landed in Cooktown in 1770. The museum is located in the heart of Cooktown, and it provides visitors with an in-depth look at the history of the town and the life and voyages of Cook.

The museum was built in the 1870s as a school. In the 1960s, it was renovated and became the James Cook Museum. The museum has a collection of artifacts, documents, and displays related to Cook's voyages. The museum's most significant artifact is the anchor of Cook's ship, the Endeavour, which was lost in the Great Barrier Reef during Cook's visit.

Visitors to the James Cook Museum can learn a great deal about Cook and his voyages. The museum has interactive displays that allow visitors to experience what life was like on board Cook's ship. Visitors can also see maps and journals from Cook's voyage, as well as artifacts that were traded with the Indigenous people.

The museum also has exhibits on the history of Cooktown and the Indigenous cultures that lived in the area long before Cook's visit. The museum provides visitors with an excellent opportunity to learn about Aboriginal culture and the impact that Cook's arrival had on the area.

The James Cook Museum is an essential part of Cooktown's history and an excellent destination for anyone interested in the life and voyages of Captain James Cook. Visitors can spend hours exploring the museum, discovering the history and culture of Cooktown and the Indigenous people, and learning about the life and legacy of one of the world's most famous explorers.


Grassy Hill Lookout

Source: www.tripadvisor.com
Characteristic Description
NameGrassy Hill Lookout
TypeLighthouse in Cooktown, Australia
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.8 / 459
AddressHope St, Cooktown QLD 4895, Australia
HoursTuesday - Open 24 hours
Wednesday - Open 24 hours
Thursday - Open 24 hours
Friday - Open 24 hours
Saturday - Open 24 hours
Sunday - Open 24 hours
Monday - Open 24 hours

Cooktown is a small town located in Far North Queensland, Australia. It is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a popular destination for tourists from Australia and beyond. One of the most popular locations in the town is the Grassy Hill Lookout, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

The lookout has a small park which offers picnic tables, restrooms, and an information board. There is also a memorial to Captain James Cook, who landed in Cooktown in 1770 when his ship, the Endeavour, was damaged on the nearby reef. The lookout is a popular spot for visitors to take photos, relax, and enjoy the stunning view.

Apart from the view, Grassy Hill Lookout is also a location of cultural and historical significance. It was the place where Cooktown's first official flag-raising ceremony was held, signaling the town's establishment in 1873. During World War II, the lookout was used as a lookout point by the Australian military to watch for enemy ships.

Visiting Grassy Hill Lookout is easy, with plenty of parking and a short walk from the town center. Visitors can take in the breathtaking views of Cooktown and its surrounding landscape, learn about the town's history and culture, and relax in a picturesque setting.

In summary, Grassy Hill Lookout is a must-see spot for anyone visiting Cooktown. It is a place of unparalleled beauty, where visitors can experience the town's culture and history and take in the stunning views of the Coral Sea and Cooktown's surrounds.

12 Fun Things to Do in Clemson, SC

You may want to see also


Endeavour River National Park

Source: parks.des.qld.gov.au
Characteristic Description
NameEndeavour River National Park
TypeNational park in Cooktown, Australia
WebsiteGo to website
AddressH658+6Q, Cooktown QLD 4895, Australia

Cooktown, located in Far North Queensland, is a town that offers rich wildlife, fascinating history, and breathtaking scenery. One of the most popular tourist attractions in the area is the Endeavour River National Park.

The Endeavour River National Park is a stunning park that covers an area of over 39,000 hectares. The park is situated around the banks of the Endeavour River, which was named by Captain James Cook, who ran his ship, the HMS Endeavour, aground here in 1770.

The park features a diverse range of landscapes, including lush rainforest, deep gorges, pristine beaches, and sprawling grasslands. Wildlife enthusiasts will also love the park, as it is home to a variety of animals, such as the saltwater crocodile, the eastern grey kangaroo, and the spotted-tailed quoll, among many others.

One of the most popular activities in the park is hiking. There are a range of scenic hikes for all levels of fitness, including the Endeavour Falls Walk, which is a short, but picturesque walk through a rainforest valley that leads to the stunning Endeavour Falls. Another popular hike is the Banksia Track, which is a 5-kilometre-long walk that takes you through the park's grassland and gives you an opportunity to spot kangaroos and wallabies.

The Endeavour River National Park is also a great spot for fishing, as the Endeavour River is teeming with fish. Anglers can fish for a variety of species, including barramundi, mangrove jack, and estuary cod.

For those looking to soak in the breathtaking scenery, the park has several lookout points that offer expansive views of the surrounding landscape. One such lookout is the Grassy Hill Lookout, which provides a panoramic view of Cooktown and the surrounding coastline.

In conclusion, the Endeavour River National Park is a must-visit attraction in Cooktown. Whether you're interested in learning about the area's history, hiking, fishing, or just admiring the stunning scenery, there's something for everyone in this park. So, what are you waiting for? Add the Endeavour River National Park to your itinerary on your next visit to Cooktown.


Cooktown Botanic Gardens

Source: www.tripadvisor.com
Characteristic Description
NameCooktown Botanical Garden
TypePark in Cooktown, Australia

Located just outside the historical seaport of Cooktown in Far North Queensland, the Cooktown Botanic Gardens represent a true gem of preservation and biodiversity. Nestled amongst lush tropical vegetation, the gardens gently introduce visitors to the incredible diversity of flora that can be found in this corner of Australia.

The history of the Cooktown Botanic Gardens can be traced back to the arrival of Captain James Cook on the HMS Endeavour in 1770. During his stay in the area, Cook and his crew encountered a range of unusual plants that were unknown to the Western world. As a result, Cook instructed his ship's botanist, Joseph Banks, to collect and preserve these plants so they could be studied further back in Europe.

Over a hundred years later, the Cooktown Botanic Gardens were formally established as a place to study the incredible diversity of Australian flora. The gardens are spread over six hectares and contain a range of species that have been carefully selected to showcase the natural wonders of the region.

One of the highlights of the Cooktown Botanic Gardens is the Orchid House, which is home to a stunning array of over 200 orchid species. Visitors can marvel at the beauty of these delicate flowers and learn about the different pollinators that ensure their survival in the wild.

Other must-see areas of the garden include the Rainforest Track, which takes visitors on a journey through lush tropical vegetation, and the Lowland and Upland Areas, which showcase the diverse flora that can be found across the region.

But it's not just the range of plants that make the Cooktown Botanic Gardens special. The gardens are also home to a range of animals, including birds, bats, and reptiles. Visitors may be lucky enough to spot a colorful parrot or a sunbathing lizard during their visit.

Overall, a visit to the Cooktown Botanic Gardens is a refreshing and informative experience that highlights the beauty and biodiversity of this unique corner of Australia. Whether you're a plant enthusiast, a nature lover, or just interested in history, the gardens offer something for everyone.

14 Fun Things to Do in Faribault, MN

You may want to see also


Finch Bay

Source: jumpon.online
Characteristic Description
NameFinch Bay
Type20 Google reviews
Rating / Review count4.9 / 20

Located near Cooktown, Finch Bay is a small and secluded beach that offers a peaceful escape for those looking for a calming retreat.

The picturesque bay is surrounded by lush tropical foliage, with crystal-clear waters lapping against the white sandy shores. Here, visitors can relax and unwind, soaking up the sun and enjoying the tranquil ambiance of the beach.

Surrounded by natural beauty, Finch Bay is a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling. Those who venture into the waters will be rewarded with a mesmerizing experience of swimming alongside a variety of colorful fish species and coral formations.

Apart from water activities, visitors can also indulge in beach picnics, family outings, and camping. The bay is an ideal spot for a family getaway or a romantic picnic with a loved one. Visitors can lounge on the beach with a good book, sipping on a tropical drink while enjoying the serene atmosphere.

For the more adventurous, Finch Bay offers hiking trails that lead through dense forests and towards serene waterfalls. The trails are well-marked and safe, making it suitable for visitors of all ages.

12 Fun Things to Do in Dothan, Alabama

You may want to see also


Lions Den Hotel

Source: www.cairnspost.com.au
Characteristic Description
NameLions Den Hotel
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.4 / 582
Address398 Shiptons Flat Rd, Rossville QLD 4895, Australia
Phone+61 7 4060 3911

The Lions Den Hotel is a historic pub located in the small town of Cooktown, located in the Far North of Queensland, Australia. The pub was built in 1875 and has become an iconic landmark in Cooktown.

The Lions Den Hotel was originally named after the nearby gold mine, which was named after a lion that was discovered in the area. In the early days, the pub served as a popular stopover for miners and travelers passing through Cooktown.

The pub has become famous for its quirky and rustic decor, with visitors being greeted by a variety of antiques and oddities such as a motorcycle suspended from the ceiling. The bar also serves some delicious traditional Australian pub food such as steaks, burgers, and fish and chips.

The Lions Den Hotel is not just a popular tourist destination but also a hub for the local community. The pub hosts regular events, such as live music performances, trivia nights, and special holiday celebrations.

One unique feature of the Lions Den Hotel is its accommodation options. The pub has several rooms available for rent, and visitors can also stay in the nearby campground. The accommodation offerings are perfect for those wanting an authentic outback experience.

Overall, the Lions Den Hotel is a must-see attraction for those visiting Cooktown. With its rich history and unique decor, it is a great place to stop for a bite to eat, a cold beer, or even a night's stay.

14 Fun Things to Do in New Ulm, MN

You may want to see also


Nature's Powerhouse

Source: www.tripadvisor.com
Characteristic Description
NameNature's Powerhouse
TypeVisitor center
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.3 / 60
AddressWalker St, Cooktown QLD 4895, Australia
Phone+61 7 4069 5763
HoursTuesday - 8:30 AM–3 PM
Wednesday - 8:30 AM–4 PM
Thursday - 8:30 AM–4 PM
Friday - 8:30 AM–4 PM
Saturday - 8:30 AM–4 PM
Sunday - 8:30 AM–4 PM
Monday - 8:30 AM–3 PM

Cooktown, located in Far North Queensland, Australia, is known as nature's powerhouse. This beautiful and culturally rich town is surrounded by pristine wild rainforests, sparkling waterfalls, and stunning coral reefs that make visitors fall in love with the natural world. The town is a significant destination for those who seek adventure, nature, and culture.

Cooktown is situated in close proximity to the world-renowned Daintree Rainforest, which is the oldest living rainforest on the earth. The rainforest is home to a diverse range of species, including exotic birds, butterflies, frogs, and marsupials, making it a perfect destination for bird-watching, eco-tours, and nature walks.

The other natural attraction of Cooktown is its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system. Cooktown is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, providing easy access to remarkable marine life and coral viewing experiences.

Apart from the natural wonders, Cooktown has unique cultural and historical attractions. Once a significant port during the gold rush of the late 1800s, Cooktown is where Captain James Cook and his crew first set foot on Australian soil in 1770. Visitors can take a stroll through the town's museum, which documents Cook's arrival and the rich history of the region's indigenous people, the Guugu Yimithirr.

One of the most popular tourist attractions of Cooktown is the outdoor statue of James Cook located in the town's centre, which is a must-visit for history lovers. Visitors can take a short walk up Grassy Hill to witness the breathtaking views of Cooktown and its surroundings, capturing the town's unique beauty in a photograph.

In conclusion, Cooktown is a true gem of Australia, providing a unique combination of natural and cultural experiences that offers visitors an unforgettable memory. From its astonishing rainforests, pristine beach, and diverse wildlife to its rich culture, history, and friendly locals, every visitor to Cooktown is sure to be left speechless and captivated by nature's true powerhouse.

12 Fun Things To Do At Caddo Lake

You may want to see also


Black Mountain

Source: www.tripadvisor.com
Characteristic Description
NameBlack Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park
TypeNational park in Rossville, Queensland, Australia
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.4 / 118
AddressRossville QLD 4895, Australia
Phone+61 137468
HoursTuesday - Open 24 hours
Wednesday - Open 24 hours
Thursday - Open 24 hours
Friday - Open 24 hours
Saturday - Open 24 hours
Sunday - Open 24 hours
Monday - Open 24 hours

Cooktown is a small town located in the remote Far North Queensland region of Australia. Despite its relatively isolated location, Cooktown boasts an abundance of tourist attractions and natural wonders. One of the most intriguing and fascinating sights that can be found in the vicinity of Cooktown is Black Mountain.

The surface of Black Mountain is barren and inhospitable, with no vegetation or wildlife to be found. This has led to a number of eerie legends and myths about the mountain over the years. Some people believe that the mountain is cursed or haunted, and that those who dare to climb it will suffer a terrible fate.

Despite the legends surrounding Black Mountain, it remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Cooktown area. Visitors can explore the mountain on foot, with a variety of hiking trails available. The most popular trail leads to the summit of the mountain, offering stunning views across the surrounding landscape.

The geology of Black Mountain is the subject of much debate and speculation among scientists and geologists. Some theories suggest that the rocks were formed as a result of volcanic activity, while others believe that they were created through the slow erosion of surrounding rocks over millions of years.

Regardless of its origins, Black Mountain is an awe-inspiring sight that is sure to leave visitors spellbound. Its mysterious and foreboding appearance only adds to its allure, and it remains one of the most fascinating natural landmarks in Australia.


Keatings Lagoon

Source: parks.des.qld.gov.au
Characteristic Description
NameKeatings Lagoon Conservation Park
TypeNature preserve in Cooktown, Australia
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.2 / 47
AddressCooktown QLD 4895, Australia
HoursTuesday - Open 24 hours
Wednesday - Open 24 hours
Thursday - Open 24 hours
Friday - Open 24 hours
Saturday - Open 24 hours
Sunday - Open 24 hours
Monday - Open 24 hours

Cooktown, located in Far North Queensland, is a popular tourist destination known for its historical significance, natural beauty, and outdoor activities. While most visitors flock to popular attractions like the James Cook Museum and Grassy Hill Lookout, there's a hidden gem in Cooktown that's worth exploring - Keatings Lagoon.

Nestled in the heart of Cooktown, Keatings Lagoon is a tranquil oasis where you can connect with nature and experience the peacefulness of the great outdoors. The lagoon is a man-made wetland that's home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including water birds, turtles, fish, and reptiles.

One of the most popular things to do at Keatings Lagoon is bird watching. The area is a haven for water birds, especially during the wet season when the lagoon fills up with rainwater. Some of the bird species you can spot here include egrets, herons, ibises, ducks, and spoonbills. You can also find birds of prey like eagles, hawks, and ospreys soaring in the sky.

Another popular activity at Keatings Lagoon is fishing. The lagoon is stocked with native fish species like barramundi, mangrove jack, and bream, making it a perfect spot for anglers. You can catch and release fish or keep them for a barbecue later on.

For nature enthusiasts, there are plenty of walking trails around the lagoon where you can immerse yourself in the local flora and fauna. The area is home to a variety of vegetation, including eucalyptus trees, melaleuca, and pandanus palms. Be sure to keep an eye out for wallabies, goannas, and other wildlife that call this place home.

So, next time you're in Cooktown, don't miss out on visiting Keatings Lagoon. It's a peaceful and serene spot where you can unwind and appreciate the natural beauty of the area. Whether you're interested in birdwatching, fishing, or hiking, there's something for everyone at Keatings Lagoon.


Quarantine Bay

Source: www.tropicalnorthqueensland.org.au
Characteristic Description
NameQuarantine Bay
Type17 Google reviews
Rating / Review count4.7 / 17

Cooktown, with its fascinating history and scenic beauty, is a great destination for tourists coming to Australia. Located in Far North Queensland, Cooktown offers a plethora of exciting things to see and do that cater to all kinds of interests. One such attraction is Quarantine Bay, a secluded and picturesque beach that attracts visitors seeking solitude and relaxation.

Situated just a few minutes away from the main city center, Quarantine Bay was originally used as a quarantine station for the ships arriving at Cooktown during the late 19th century. The bay got its name from this history, when ships were required to anchor there for an extended period of time to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Today, this beautiful beach is a famous tourist destination, and many visitors make a trip here to relax and unwind.

The picturesque beach at Quarantine Bay is surrounded by dense forest and rugged headland, creating an idyllic setting for visitors to soak in the stunning natural beauty of Cooktown. The beach here is serene, with crystal-clear water and white sand, and the shallow waters make it an ideal spot for swimming. The beautiful coral reef that lines the coastline is a haven for snorkelers and divers, providing a glimpse into an underwater world teeming with marine life.

Visitors can spend an entire afternoon lazing on the beach, soaking up the sun, and perhaps even enjoying a picnic in the shade of the trees. For the more adventurous, there are several other attractions nearby, such as hiking trails, water sports, fishing, and camping facilities. Visitors can take a short hike to explore the nearby rainforest, where they can see a variety of wildlife such as birds, lizards, and possums.

Additionally, Quarantine Bay is home to several historical sites that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Cooktown. Visitors can explore the ruins of the old quarantine station, which offers a glimpse into the harsh conditions faced by early settlers, and learn about the history of early colonisation in the area.

In conclusion, Quarantine Bay is a must-visit destination when exploring Cooktown, with its serene setting, natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day out or an adventurous excursion, this picturesque beach has something for everyone to enjoy. So, pack your bags and head to Cooktown to experience the charm of Quarantine Bay for yourself!

12 Fun Things to Do in Macomb IL

You may want to see also


Cherry Tree Bay

Source: goinferalonedayatatime.blogspot.com
Characteristic Description
NameCherry Tree Bay
Type5 Google reviews
Rating / Review count4.2 / 5

Cooktown is a small coastal town located in Far North Queensland, Australia. It is a popular tourist destination, known for its stunning beaches, historical sites, and scenic beauty. One of the most picturesque spots in Cooktown is Cherry Tree Bay, a beautiful beach that attracts visitors from all over the world.

Apart from its natural beauty, Cherry Tree Bay is also known for its historical significance. According to local legends, Captain James Cook and his crew landed here in 1770 during their voyage of discovery to Australia. It is said that they planted a cherry tree as a sign of goodwill, which gave the bay its name.

Today, Cherry Tree Bay is a popular spot for picnics, barbecues, and family outings. The beach is equipped with picnic tables, barbecue facilities, and public toilets, making it an ideal destination for a day trip. Visitors can also take a stroll along the beach and explore the nearby rock pools, which are home to a variety of marine life.

For those who are looking for more adventure, Cherry Tree Bay also offers a range of water-based activities. Snorkeling, diving, and fishing are popular pastimes here, thanks to the crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life. Visitors can also go on a boat tour or take a kayak to explore the nearby islands and reefs.

In conclusion, Cherry Tree Bay is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Cooktown. This beautiful beach offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, history, and adventure. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day on the beach or an action-packed adventure, Cherry Tree Bay has something to offer for everyone.

Frequently asked questions

- The James Cook Museum, Grassy Hill Lookout, Botanic Gardens, and the Black Mountain are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Cooktown.

- Yes, fishing is a popular activity in Cooktown, with several options for offshore and freshwater fishing.

- There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in Cooktown, including hiking in the nearby national parks, fishing, boating, birdwatching, and camping.

- Yes, Cooktown is rich with Indigenous Australian culture, and visitors can enjoy cultural tours, learn about traditional healing practices, and see rock art sites. Additionally, there are annual celebrations, such as the Cooktown Discovery Festival, that celebrate the town's history and culture.

Written by
Reviewed by
Share this post
Did this article help you?



Alvin Richardson

I recently visited Cooktown and I have to say, it was such a charming and unique town! One of my favorite things to do there was to visit the James Cook Historical Museum. Learning about the history of the town and seeing artifacts from Captain Cook's journey was just fascinating. Another highlight was taking a walk up to Grassy Hill Lookout. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking and it's the perfect spot to watch the sunset. Cooktown has so much to offer in terms of natural beauty and history, it's definitely worth a visit!
Thank you so much for sharing your experience in Cooktown! I'm thrilled to hear that you found the town charming and unique. Visiting the James Cook Historical Museum sounds like a fascinating educational experience, learning about the history of the town and seeing artifacts from Captain Cook's journey. The Grassy Hill Lookout sounds like an incredible spot to admire the breathtaking views and catch the sunset, I can only imagine how beautiful it must be. It's wonderful to hear that Cooktown offers a combination of natural beauty and rich history, making it a must-visit destination. I'll definitely add it to my travel bucket list!

Meghan Espinoza

I had the pleasure of visiting Cooktown last month and I had such a great time exploring the local markets. The local vendors were so friendly and had such unique products. I also took a day trip to the nearby Black Mountain National Park. The rock formations were incredible and there were so many walking trails to choose from. It was a great way to get out into nature and see some of the beautiful Australian landscape. I highly recommend adding Cooktown to your travel bucket list!
Thank you so much for sharing your experience in Cooktown! I'm thrilled to hear that you had such a great time exploring the local markets and connecting with the friendly vendors. It sounds like you discovered some truly unique products. And the day trip to Black Mountain National Park sounds absolutely breathtaking. I can only imagine how incredible those rock formations were, and having so many walking trails to choose from must have made the experience even more memorable. I appreciate your recommendation and will definitely add Cooktown to my travel bucket list!

Leave a comment