Driving to Cooktown took us through yet again more rapidly changing and varied country. Tropical coastal rainforest, hills and farming land, burnt out bush, bush and scrub and vast open grassy plains always with a mountain range in the back ground. The Great Dividing Range is never far away, we have been traveling along side and or through it continuiously since we hit the east coast or OZ at Byron Bay.
We stop for lunch at a spectacular look out. The views were stunning, bush loo’s well kept and the information boards on this area of Far North Queensland (FNQ) fantastic. And a steady flow of chatting and interesting travelers. We love chatting to folk. It’s really the done thing but you learn so much and it just add another shade of colour to your day. While reading these info boards, a couple of artsy gay gentlemen shared with me about the aboriginal artist briefly mentioned, Thancoupie. They had worked with her and warmly spoke of her gift of sculpture and the invaluable children’s books she wrote in her language. A brief but brilliant encounter.
While we were keen to stay at any number of the free camps in the area we were drawn to the town to make it easy to ready ourselve for the trip to the cape. Once settle we found ourselve right at home here and ended up extending our 3 day stay to 5 days. Our first night was a bit of a shamozzle but things improved and finding I am already looking forward to returning to Cooktown.
We chose to ride the bikes into town to explore before the sun went down and grab and early dinner. But as we arrived and the children started to play at the playground we were beckoned over by an aboriginal man and lady, Val, who was not feeling well and needing help to get to the hospital. Being on the bikes we weren’t much help but after spending a bit of time with her and trying to suss out the taxi service in Cooktown we ended up placing a 000 call to get her there. I think she had a complicated medical history and was probably sceptic. She was a bit off the plant but a sweet natured lady grateful for the kindness.
Before the Ambulance I tried the taxi service only to get a recorded message saying they were closed after 5pm and if this was an emergency you’d better let them know before 4 p.m. Good to know I’ll be sure to plan all my emergency before 4 p.m. next time …… Love it!
While I was helping Val it got dark so Ken took the kids to the bowls club for dinner (very average meal only adding the failing of the night), locked our bikes up out the front only to realize he had the wrong keys to unlock them again. Doh! And the gate on the kids play area was nackered and pinched Lulu, resulting in her screaming the place down on two occasions. A stroke of luck resulted in Ken getting a lift back to the caravan park to get the right keys and following and uneventful ride home we happy to just get back to Goldilocks without any further incidents.
The rest of our time in Cooktown went smoothly and now as I reflect on what we did and who we met I see clearly why I have such fond feelings for Cooktown.
We met fellow Zoners (the collective name given to folks the own a Zone RV caravan), Frank and Wendy. Turns out their van was the next one of the factory floor following ours so it was super handy sharing experience and knowledge. We also learnt about there experience heading to the tip of Australia as they had just returned. A lovely couple whom we hope to meet on the road again. Uncle Peter as he came to be know, local celebrity, school bus driver, shaker and mover of Hay (Central NSW). What a real Aussie ledgend. He was our neighbour, loved a chat, loved the kids, generous to a fault, even came and did a school lesson for them on Hay. And then there was the boys from Tassie who caught enough fish to feed most of the caravan park and they did. The freezer is still half full of fish!
There was the usually, washing, cooking, schooling, cleaning, child wrangling etc to be done, but amongst all that, a visit to The Captain James Cook Museum, a visit to the Cooktown Historical Centre, an amazing prawn and avocado roll, brunch at a little oasis of a cafe called Driftwood, and a sunset cruise on the Endevour River including the best cheese platter ever. Enjoyed in complete darkness, sitting silently in a mangrove accompanied by our first wild croc, (too dark for photographs). A large, majestic, graceful mover in the water, thrilling would sum up that experience.
Finally our time at Cooktown finished with a splendid sunset and the sweetest prawns i’ve ever eaten, a top the very same ‘Grassy Hill’ Cook, Banks and a few other crew from the Endevour climb to attain better knowledge of their surrounding lands and water.
Thank you Cooktown!