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Published: March 24th 2014
On boxing day we left the cape for good and headed North. Alex decided I could drive to Cooktown, and I'm glad I did as there were some good roads to drive over!
We were slightly more prepared this time, luckily, and stocked up on food before we left Mossman, as there's not much up at Cooktown. We started off heading south, before going over a lovely wiggly mountain on our way west. We decided that one of the viewpoints on the mountain was an ideal place to stop and cook pasta, however it was too hot to eat hot food, so we cranked up the aircon and headed off to eat on the way! It's quite a long drive up to Cooktown, however we kept amused with playing 'first one to see', spotting wildlife and the odd cow on the road.
Before we got to Cooktown we turned off towards Laura as I had read about some Aboriginal rock paintings there. We soon found them very close to the road, however I was not too impressed with the rock paintings. I may be biased as I have been to Arnhemland already this year, but the paintings were not
much different to modern day graffiti on a rock. There were however a few signs which made the experience informative, and Alex got to see some rock paintings. I'm glad I saw them, so now I don't wonder if i missed something amazing! But I wouldn't bother going back, and I wouldn't tell anyone else to see them unless they particularly wanted to see authentic rock paintings.
Once we got in to Cooktown we drove past my first bush fire! Alex said I couldn't drive down the road to see it better, which I think was very mean of him. After driving through the main street of town we headed up mount cook, where captain cook went to look for a safe passage through the reef. There were great panoramic views from the top, but I'm glad we didn't have to walk all the way up! After heading back down towards town we looked for a place to park overnight, and settled upon a spot in the park which said it was campervan friendly. We later found out there are fees to park there, but nobody told us and nobody came to collect any!
Cooktown is a strange
sort of place. It sits all on it's own hours from other towns and cities, at the end of a long road, and doesn't seem to have much there to sustain it as a town. There are no clothes shops - I'm not sure how they get clothes without a 2 day round trip to Cairns, only one small supermarket, a bakery, a couple of pubs and a tourist shop. We decided the best use of our time would be to head to the pub for food and a couple of drinks! On the way back to the van I needed the toilet, so that was the perfect excuse to stop for another drink at the other pub! Here Alex got challenged to a game of pool by one of the locals, who lets just say was a very interesting and entertaining character!
At 5am I was woken by Alex thrashing around swatting some biting insects in my direction, so tried to hide under the sheet until I got too hot. I looked at the bites and remembered being bitten by these things before, and that they go down within a day so told him to stop making such
a fuss and let me sleep! We soon found out however that they were sandflies, which Alex is allergic to, therefore whilst my bites went down by that afternoon he was left looking very diseased for the remainder of the holiday, despite everything we could gets our hands on from the chemist. Because we were up so early - I'd admitted defeat by 6am, we headed on the tourist trail drive around town, looking at historic statues and finding out a little of Cooktown's history. After that the James Cook museum still wasn't open, so we headed out of town to some waterfalls. Whilst in the shop at the beginning of the walk Alex got soaked by the friendly pet Barramundi they had there, as it splashes very violently when given food. Luckily I was standing a bit further away from the tank! When we got to the waterfall it was very small, as it's the end of the dry season, and we couldn't go to the bigger better ones nearby as they were in a dry aboriginal community, and having all our possessions in the van we had too much alcohol to be allowed in. By this time however
the museum was open, so we headed back into town to explore the museum. When we were paying I noticed the children's activity sheet, so picked one up for us to do whilst we were walking round! The lady at the desk looked a little flustered, but also didn't want to tell us we couldn't have one. Whilst we were walking around we saw a few more adults also doing the children's activity, so it wasn't just us who were tempted! The museum was very informative and full of objects to look at, so I'm glad we went to see it.
After the museum we headed off back south towards the Atherton tablelands, where Alex had chosen our next stop.
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