Laura Australia

Laura is one of the most historical places in this part of Australia.

It is a small country town in southern Cape York, north of Lakeland Downs, and west of Cooktown.

It's easy to drive through without even knowing where to turn into the town, if you don't pay attention. But if you are interested in history, it is worth to stop for a few things.

The town is known for some of the best Aboriginal rock art in Australia, and there is also some interesting European history from the days of the old Palmer River gold rush.

aboriginal rock art

Split Rock Art Site
When you arrive from the south, about 15km before the town entrance is Split Rock - one of the best and easiest accessible Aboriginal rock art sites around Laura.
It is up in the hills near the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival ground.

laura australia

The Town of Laura
Once you arrive in the town, it looks like there is nothing but a roadhouse on your right hand side. 
On the other side of the road
, soon you will see the Quinkan Art Centre - the right hand turnoff to the town is after it.

aboriginal art history

Aboriginal History
The Aboriginal art around Laura is called Quinkan Art. 

There is a lot of information about the area's Aboriginal history and art sites as well as European history in this Aboriginal art and tourist information centre.

laura history

European History
Laura was also an important town during the Palmer River gold rush in the late 1800s. 
Mining relics are still here, in the historical park in the main street. There is also an old Laura - Cooktown railway bridge from that time.

laura hotel

Quinkan Hotel
Across the street from the historical park is the pub of Laura - Quinkan Hotel, UPDATE 2021 now called the Peninula Hotel. The original pub burned down in 2002, so this is not the original building, but it is still the town's only pub, with shady spots in the front, under mango trees.

laura accommodation

Accommodation in Laura Australia
Back on the Peninsula Developmental Road is a large camping ground, and there is another small camping ground behind the pub, which can get noisy and crowded. Nowadays there is even a new motel across the street from the General Store, where you can also get fuel.


Jowalbinna Camping and Tours
Just north of the town is another Aboriginal art experience - Jowalbinna. 
It is a camping ground run by two sons of the late Percy Trezise, and they also run tours to show you some local Quinkan country Aboriginal art sites.

Split Rock Art Site

About 15km south of Laura is the Split Rock carpark.

laura split rock carpark laura split rock views

In the end of the carpark is a picnic shelter and a track that takes you up to the escarpment with views.

laura split rock art site aboriginal art symbols

There are three different spots only a short walk away, the first one is Split Rock.
laura flying fox art site aboriginal animal art

The other two are Flying Fox and Tall Spirits.
laura tall spirits art site aboriginal spirituality

These are only a very small part of the actual amount of Quinkan art in the area.

Aboriginal History

On the Peninsula Dvelopmental Road is the Quinkan Art Centre.

laura quinkan centre

Inside are lots of informative displays about the area's Aboriginal history.

laura quinkan art centre

There is also some local art, and it is also the visitor information centre of the area.
   laura quinkan art

European History

The area also has some great European history. The township started as a connection junction during Palmer River gold rush.

laura history

It connected the Palmer River Goldfields with Cooktown, which was established as the port for the goldfields.
laura mary harris memorial park laura gold history

In the Mary Harris Memorial Park are the steps of what used to be the Laura Railway Station.

laura railway station steps

And in the northern end of the town is the last railway bridge that was ever made, with gold starting to run out before the railway reached Maytown.

laura cooktown railway bridge

The trains did runbetween Cooktown and Laura for almost 100 years, the rest of the transport was carried by a coach along what now is the Old Coach Road between Laura and Maytown.

Quinkan Hotel

Unfortunately the old Laura pub burned down in 2002.

laura pub quinkan hotel

But it has been replaced and is still the town's only pub.

austin 7 laura pub camping

Next to the pub you may see an old Austin 7 - owned by Harold and Jenny at the Grocery Store and Post Office next door. It is the exact model of the first car that was ever driven to the tip of Cape York - quite amazing.

Accommodation in Laura

laura motel

Laura Motel
The latest addition is the motel, in the main street across the road from the General Store and Quinkan Hotel. It is the most modern place to stay in town, with air conditioned rooms with all comfort.

laura roadhouse

Laura Roadhouse
Laura Roadhouse has a camping ground on the Peninsula Developmental Road. It is large and nowadays that the road is sealed until Laura, popular with caravans. UPDATE the camping ground now belongs to AngGnarra across the road, the roadhouse still makes some great burgers.

laura hotel

Quinkan Hotel

Like most Aussie pubs, the Quinkan Hotel also has a few rooms to stay, and behind the pub is a small camping ground. The pub is closed most of the wet season, but during the dry it is an alternative, although small, camp ground if the one on the PDR is full.

Jowalbinna Camping and Tours

North of the town, where the racecourse and rodeo grounds are, is the turnoff to Jowalbinna.
jowalbinna camping

It is an Aboriginal camping ground run by the sons of the late
Percy Trezise, famous for finding a lot of Quinkan art sites.

jowalbinna camping ground

The sons, particularly Steve Trezise, also run tours to some less accessible sites.

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