We have arrived in Cooktown for 4 nights to make final preparations for the journey up the Cape. Need to acquire some more supplies to restock the pantry and freezer. On the way into Cooktown it was necessary to stop at the famous Lions Den Hotel, it is down a side road off the highway near Black Mountain, built in 1875 and considered the oldest operating hotel in Queensland. There is a large area out the back to camp in as well. We were a little late getting there and the kitchen had closed apart from pizzas. We were a tad hungry and fortunately so because the pizzas were significantly larger than ‘normal’. We had a light snack for dinner that night.
Cooktown was initially established in the late 1800s as a service centre for the inland goldfields and the point at which people arrived by ship to commence the trek inland, many Chinese immigrants headed for the Palmer River goldfields from here after arriving on boats from southern China. As well as being a gateway to the Cape it is now mostly a tourist town for the outer Great Barrier Reef and fishing fanatics. Captain Cook looms large over the township, but more on him later. In the caravan park we had a large shady site to set up the van in. It was quite cool at nights and Allthego was again molested by bugs in the early evening, wounds everywhere. But will recover. Had just got past the last attack.
Next morning we went off on the historical walk around the town (up and down the main street) highlighting most of it’s memorable past. Captain Cook features extensively as well as the Chinese immigrants and those off to the goldfields. The indigenous take on ‘first contact’ and all these other things is documented with a large mural tableau of painted tiles. It is called a Milbi Wall, a piece of reconcilation art work. There is an annual combined Cook landing re-enactment, music and reconciliation festival and business development forum. Similar to the one at Town of 1770 where Cook also landed.
It was on this walk that we passed the town dock and there all tied up was a prawn boat. Selling prawns. Just like they do down on the spit on the Gold Coast. Couldn’t resist a lunch of prawns on bread rolls, rather a can of tuna on cruskits and vita wheat biscuits as was planned. Keep them for another day! It was time to go looking for Cook …………….