There were other explorers
sailed around the coasts of Australia hundreds of years before him.
Spanish and Portuguese, and particularly Dutch, were interested in
Australia from the early
and sailed the coasts including those of Cape York.
Neither was Captain Cook
world-wide. By the time he explored the coast of north
Spanish and Portuguese had already colonialised south and central
Cook was simply lucky to get what was left, thanks to no
interest considering Australia's harsh climate, no riches (obviously
before the gold was found) and a long distance from Europe.
But Cook did
play a special role for Australia, because he was the first one to claim
coast of) Australia for England - making Australia a
And he played an even
role for the Cape York peninsula, because the rest of the
coast he pretty much
sailed by, visiting and naming a few spots, but in Cape York he got stuck for his
stay on the Australian continent.
It was also near the tip
of Cape York
that he made his possession claim.
That's why, you can see
a lot of his
history up here, including statues, landing points and
Captain James Cook History in
having picked the spot
for the First Fleet in Botany Bay, he sailed up along the east coast of
naming some bays, islands and coastal headlands, but not spending much
on the land.
As he sailed past where
Cairns is today,
it was Trinity Sunday so he named Trinity
Beach, Trinity Inlet and Trinity Bay.
Like in the rest of the country, there are a few "Big Things" in Cairns,
one of them
is the Big Captain Cook
as you drive out of
the city, northwards, along the Cook Highway.
He kept going north after Cairns, but
had an accident - his ship got stuck and damaged on the coral reef.
He had not much choice but to pull in to the nearest spot on the
mainland, which happened to be a river - now called Endeavour River,
after the name of
his ship (and the town that is at the river mouth now, was of course
It took them almost two months to fix the ship, meaningCook
and his crew got to spend a lot of time here while the ship was being
They walked up to Grassy
for some great views over the ocean and the river (there is now a
They got to see their
- the first hopping animal spotted by European eyes - later sparking a
lot of interesting discussion back in England (there is now a kangaroo
statue near the lookout).
And it was here that the ship's botanists and scientists got their
longest time to collect
plants to be taken home to England (there is now a section
it in Cooktown Botanic Gardens).
the James Cook
Museum in town
- one of the best museums in the whole country.
You can also learn about the stay of Cook and his crew at the annual re-enactment at Cooktown
Once the ship was fixed, Cook
and his crew continued north towards the Tip of Cape York
and Torres Strait Islands.
On the western side of the Tip,
they stopped at Possession Island, and claimed
the eastern coast of Australia for England, before
England across Indian Ocean. A monument now marks the spot on
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my vehicle-recovery-guy partner).
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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