The self guided walk
This walk is easy to follow as it is well marked with Cooktowns Scenic Rim Walking Trail Symbols.
The following are the distance and time guides for each section of the Cooktown Heritage walk:
1) Cooktown Statue to Hogg Street (1.2km) (30 minutes)
This mangrove wetlands walk follows the Endeavour River through an estuarine environment that is brimming with crabs, lizards and birds.
2) Hogg Street to Cooktown Cemetery (1.2km) (45 minutes)
This ungraded walking trail follows a railway line surrounded by mangrove ponds and saltwater lagoons. Before arriving at the cemetery you will see a Ti Tree Forest, and then cross a number of shallow trenches before arriving at The Chinese Shrine which is at the main part of the cemetery.
3) Cemetery to Hope Street (1.2km) (20 minutes)
This section follows gravel roads. From the cemetery you will follow a network of roads until you reach Charles Street.
4) Hope Street to Mount Cook National Park (1.4km) (30min)
This part of the circuit follows Charles Street along a sealed road, before reaching Mount Cook it goes down Melaleuca Street and then passes the top of Alligator Creek until you reach the Mt Cook National Park sign.
5) Mt Cook National Park Round Trip (3.0km) (3hours)
This part of the trail requires sturdy footwear and reasonably fit hikers with previous bushwalking experience. This moderately difficult hike is steep and narrow and passes forests on Mt. Cook, ancient rainforests and showcases beautiful views of Grassy Hills, Finch Bay and Cooktown.
6) Mt Cook National Park to Finch Bay (1.2km) (45min)
The scenic walk continues to past the National Park parking lot and follows a mangrove walk to Alligator Creek. The trail emerges at Finch Bay where excellent views of India Head and Cape Bedford can be observed.
7) Finch Bay to Cherry Tree Bay (.8km) (45min)
Sturdy footwear is required for this section of the trail. It winds its way around Finch Bay and descends into Cherry Tree Bay where lovely Coral Views can be enjoyed; look out for sea turtles, fish and the odd Dugong playing in the water.
7a) Finch Bay to Botanic Gardens Round Trip (1.7km) (1hr)
This part of the walking trail is on a constructed walking track that leads through the Botanical Gardens, a gallery and an interpretive centre.
8) Cherry Tree Bay to Grassy Hill (1.5km) (45min)
This track runs from Cherry Tree Bay, through an open forest and then joins a 4WD track at Grassy Hill Road.
9) Grassy Hill to Captain Cook's Statue (1.2km) (30min)
From the top of Grassy Hill it is downhill through a network of streets and back to the Captain Cook Statue in the town centre.
What you should know before embarking on your Cooktown Heritage Trail walk: Beware in coastal areas of estuarine crocodiles. Between November-May be mindful of the potential of marine stingers and wear a Lycra suit when swimming. There are realistically only a very few days a year that conditions are ideal for them but if you are not aware of those peak conditions then it is always advisable just to cover up even if for sun safety and peace of mind.
Walkers attempt this walking circuit at their own risk. A hat and sunscreen should be worn at all times and insect repellent is highly recommended in the tropics and sensible walking shoes.
- Cooktown permanent Population is around 2000
- Many people moving up from Southern states for the lifestyle
- A very friendly community
Fisherman's wharf was one of the busiest ports in the State of Queensland during The Gold Rush. Now Fisherman's wharf is a popular fishing and meeting place for local's and tourists. Many fishing boats, cruise ships, catamarans and other vessels still dock here today to enjoy Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
The Milbi Wall- The Milbi Wall is a place that Aboriginal people express their history and mythology. Displayed on The Milbi Wall are ancient portrayals of the European discovery, The Rainbow Snake that created the Endeavour River and the wars and triumphs of Aboriginals today.
The River of Life Walkway- This historical walkway meanders through Cooktown telling stories of the people and events that shaped Cooktown. This walk takes you past the place where Captain Cook's Endeavour was careened, past the Captain Cook Statue and past the marker for the Bicentennial National Trail.
The Jackey Jackey store is Cooktown's general store and has existed for over 100 years.
The RSL stands for the Cooktown Memorial Returned Services League and the building was originally built in 1885.
The Cooktown School of Art Gallery is where locals display and hold classes showcasing their art which depicts scenes of Cooktown and the surrounding peninsula
Australia Post Office Cooktown- Another historical building built in 1887.
Cook Shire Council Offices- The council office has remained in this building since 1893 although it has plans on upgrading its facilities
Mrs. Watson's Monument- Mrs. Watson was a highly educated pioneering woman whose ironic tale marks a significant part of Cooktown's past. Mrs. Watson started a private school in Cooktown and then married her Becher-de-mer fisherman before moving to Lizard Island just off Cooktown's coast. Lizard Island was a so called legendary sacred Aboriginal site and the local indigenes were not too happy about Mrs. Watson's new address. One day when her husband was out at sea Mrs. Watson, her infant baby and two Chinese servants came under attack by the local Aborigines. Mrs. Watson was able to scare the intruders off with firearms but not before one of the Chinese servants was killed while the other one received seven spier wounds to his body.
Knowing that staying on Lizard Island meant sure death, Mrs. Watson, her baby and the survived Chinese servant, Ah Sam, set off to sea in a water tank to find safe land. All necessary provisions were taken but fresh water was scarce and soon they all begin suffering from thirst. Mrs. Watson beached the boat on a small sandy no. 1 Island of the Howick, off the coast of Lizard Island, in search of fresh water but retreated quickly when she noticed the island was home to Aboriginals. Another island, Island no.5, was then approached the next day but this one, although safer it seemed, had not an ounce of fresh water.
Severe dehydration ultimately lead to the untimely death of Mrs. Watson, her baby and Ah Sam. Four months later the dead bodies were found, washed ashore in the water-filled tank and today their graves can be
viewed in the local cemetery and a memorial has been erected on Charlotte Street near the Cook Shire Offices.
The Powder Magazine Building used to be the first brick building constructed in the Cape York Peninsula in 1874. This building was used to store explosives.
Cooktown's Botanical Gardens are some of the oldest in Australia and were established in 1878. The gardens display an extensive collection of plant life containing both native and exotic plants. The botanical gardens are characterised by rock pools, stone pitched walls, and shady pathways.
The Sovereign Resort- One of Cooktown's most popular resorts, The Sovereign Hotel was originally constructed in 1874 and then was partially damaged by a cyclone and then a fire; it was then been rebuilt capturing all of its former glory.
The Old Bank- Built in 1891, The Old Bank was originally the Queensland National Bank. Today the building is the Cooktown & District Historical Society where images of the past tell stories on the buildings walls.
The Old Railway Building, which is now Anzac Park, was a part of the original rail network that connected Cooktown to Laura in the late 1800's- early 1900's.
The James Cook Museum is considered on the best regional Museums in Australia. Originally built in 1889 and operated as a Boarding School it then was opened by the Queen in 1970 to commemorate Cooktown's rich historical and cultural past.
The Cemetery and Chinese Shrine- For such a small town Cooktown has experienced multitudes of tragedy, triumphs and mysteries which are all evidently displayed in the Cooktown Cemetery. The oldest grave in the cemetery dates back to 1874. Cooktown's Cemetery represents diverse nationalities, religions and cultures and also displays unique architecture. The Chinese Shrine at the cemetery reminds us all of they key role that the Chinese played during Cooktown's early settlement. The graves and headstones parallel the bodies buried underneath. The Catholic graves are marked by elaborate headstones while the more humble Chinese and Aboriginal Graves have almost no markings at all. The scattered layout of the cemetery differs significantly from the traditional structural layout. In distinct sections you will notice Protestant, Catholic and Jewish areas of the cemetery while the Aboriginal and Chinese spots are less obvious. Famous graves such as those of Mary Watson, and The Normanby Women are located in the Cooktown Cemetery.
Grassy Hill and the Lighthouse- This steep hill is accessible by car and great for energetic walkers. From the top of the hill view million dollar vistas of The Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea and Cooktown.
Cooktown Tour | 1 Day Fly/Drive Tour | Cooktown | SCO
- Departs From: Cairns
12 to 14 hours (approx)
Take the rugged 4x4 Bloomfield track all the way to Cooktown on this awesome full day off-road adventure in Far North Queensland. See the oldest living rainforest on Earth - the Daintree and marvel at the incredible diversity of life in the rainforest. Enjoy a delicious lunch and true North Queensland hospitality at one of Australia’s oldest bush pubs and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the way.
Cape Tribulation & Cooktown 3 Day 2 Night | CCWD
- Departs From: Cairns, Northern Beaches, Port Douglas
3 Day 2 Night
Enjoy a 3 Day Trip from Cairns to Cooktown which includes free time in Cooktown at your leisure to do the Scenic Rim Trail of Cooktown. Three day tour includes Cape Tribulation, Daintree River, Cooktown and optional Aboriginal Rock art tours.
Cooktown, Daintree & Atherton Tablelands 4WD Tour | 3 Day / 2 Night | DTA CK1/CKS
- Departs From: Cairns City & Northern Beaches and/or Port Douglas
Experience the best of Far North Queensland over 3 days including the rolling green hills and pastoral lands of the Atherton Tablelands, the oldest living rainforest on earth - the Daintree, and the harsh yet beautiful landscape around historic Cooktown. Learn about nature, history and Indigenous culture from your knowledgable guide, all from the comfort of a luxury 4WD vehicle.
15 Day Cape York Camping Drive Safari | NW
- Departs From: Cairns & Northern Beaches
Embark on the journey of a lifetime as you adventure to the 'the tip' - the northernmost point of the Australian continent. Over 15 epic days you'll camp out under the stars, take in gorgeous scenery from waterfalls to red sand desert, explore historic sights, eat delicious food and gain a new appreciation for the rugged yet beautiful landscape of Far North Queensland. Click 'See Details' for a more info and a full tour itinerary.
Cape York Tours | 9 Days | 8 Nights | Drive/Fly or Fly/Drive | DTA CY1
- Departs From: Cairns
Join our bespoke 8 or 10 day Cape York and Cooktown discovery drive/fly, fly/drive or return by boat tour from Cairns. This is an authentic four wheel drive tour that immerses you in the great Australian outback
Seaview Motel Cooktown
On the banks of the Endeavour River, Seaview Motel is in a prime location offering motel rooms and 2 bedroom townhouses. Great central location offering clean accommodation.
Mungumby Lodge Cooktown
Explore the Cooktown Region whilst enjoying a wilderness retreat at Mungumby Lodge, located 25 minutes from Cooktown Village. With Free Continental Breakfast daily and relaxing swimming pool, you may want to stay a while. Check out the Self Drive Cooktown Package which includes entry to some of Cooktown attractions.
Sovereign Resort Hotel Cooktown
Resort and Apartment style accommodation in the heart of Cooktown with two dining options and large tropical swimming pool.
Milkwood Lodge Cooktown
Only 2 minutes from Cooktown this tranquil accommodation offers the perfect base to explore the town and surrounding wilderness. Take in the tranquil sights and sounds of the surrounding rainforest from your large balcony and enjoy the guest BBQ facilities and swimming pool.