The Cooktown Botanic Gardens were established in 1878 making them one of Queensland’s oldest regional botanic gardens. The Gardens are located within the 62 hectare Gallop Botanic Reserve, situated 1.5km from the centre of Cooktown. It houses five major plant collections, including a collection of species traditionally used by the local Aboriginal people; a rare and threatened plant showcase and a collection of some of the species collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander in 1770.
The gardens are enclosed by a feral proof fence and you open and walk in and around passing the features and past some very old paper bark trees and palms. At the end there is a steep climbing 600m track to Fitch Beach with a tack to the quarry and also to another beach. The dog and I found the steep track hard going and turned back to climb back up to the gardens. Its a very beautiful walk through dense forest, shaded by tall trees.
Listed under the Queensland Heritage Register, the gardens also retain a number of elements of their late 19th century design, including garden terraces, dry-pitched granite rockpools, subsidiary covered stone-pitched drains, stone steps, wells, rock garden survivals, and diverse archaeological elements. Also featured amongst the collections is a palmetum, a rainforest garden, a water lily pond, and Nature’s Powerhouse Café
Caught the end of the sunrise this morning at Weary Bay, Bloomfield, Queensland.
Weary Bay is 67 kms from Cooktown….drive the road to Cairns and turn at Lions Den turnoff and continue down 32 kms to Bloomfield. It’s a beautiful beach and you can walk safely along the shore at Low tide. Yesterday there was a Beach surfer flying his kite…and there was beautiful golden sand stretching both directions.
Captain James Cook (Lieutenant at the time) and his men gave Weary Bay its name in 1770 after running aground on Endeavour reef which is North East of Weary Bay. His men rowed ashore to establish if the Bloomfield River was a suitable site to carry out repairs.
Weary Bay Beach is a bush beach, without any bitumen car parks and concrete pathways. It’s a place where you can look from one end to the other and on most days, not see another soul. Sunrise and sunset are perfect times for panoramic photos, as the rainforest hills in the backdrop are lit by the colorful rays from the rising or setting sun. When you look out to sea and the coast you are looking into history, as the view has changed little in the time of European settlement and even beyond into the dreaming of the local Indigenous peoples. The offshore reefs are protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and fishing is subject to marine park and fisheries restrictions. They are home to a diverse array of fish species, as well as marine turtles, rays, reef sharks and more.
Elim Beach is exactly 72Kms from Cooktown. You drive through Hopevale on some very beautiful roads and head direct to Elim Beach 32 Kms from Hopevale. Its very hilly and the outgoing trip has some steep climbs. Coming back its more downhill and easier. You head along sealed road until the sign saying ‘Report to Campground’. This last kilometre is unsealed and quite rough in places and sandy but my 2WD campervan managed to get to the campground without incident. Camping is $15 for grassed areas and $20 for waterfront. I chose the grassy to be near the facilities. I also worried about my little dog as there are crocodiles in the water. However, it was quite safe and my little dog and I were able to walk the sandy shores and enjoy the scenery and the fresh spring water trickles as it flowed to the sea.
Set in a picturesque valley, Hope Vale Aboriginal Community has a wonderful cultural centre, and is gateway to one of the most spectacular sand dune environments on Cape York. Although the township was built in 1949, the original community dates back to 1886, when the Lutheran Church first established a mission at Elim, Cape Bedford, to protect the Guugu Yimithirr from the devastating effects of the Palmer River Gold Rush. Hope Vale remained under mission control until 1986, when the community became the first in Queensland to receive community land under a Deed of Grant in Trust, and the right to self-government. The drive from Hope Vale to Elim takes about an hour on a partly sealed road which winds through white silica sand hills, rugged escarpments and heath lands
The stunning beach at Elim is home to the famous Coloured Sands, and a popular spot for Hope Vale people, many of whom have a shack here and visit at weekends to go fishing. It is also a popular camping spot, and the Elim Beach campground belonging to Thiithaarr-warra Elder, Eddie Deemal, now run by his son Ivan, is right on the water’s edge with fabulous views to Cape Bedford, providing the perfect base from which to explore the area.
The Lutheran Church originally established the community in 1886 as the Cape Bedford Mission at Elim Beach. During World War II the military interned the German Lutheran missionaries and the population evacuated to southern communities such as Woorabinda. More than 28 deaths were recorded from disease after the evacuation. Over the next 8 years more than a quarter of the population died. In September 1949 Hope Vale was re-established as a Lutheran Mission and the first families returned in 1950.
Elim is home to the famous Coloured Sands and is now also a popular fishing spot for locals. The Elim Beach campground is right on the water’s edge just south of the Coloured Sands, with great views south across the very tidal bay to Cape Bedford. You can buy the required camping permit at the service station in Hope Vale before you leave, or you can just square up the $10 per person cash fee when you arrive.
The beachfront campground is shaded by mature paper bark trees, perfect for setting up the hammock, and idea to spend a few days soak up the tranquillity of the area.
There are plenty of opportunities for fishing, best exploited with a tinnie, which can be launched from the beach at high tide and moored there for the rest of your stay. You can even explore the coastline by boat to Cape Bedford in the east, or McIvor River to the north.
However, the main visual attractions of the area are the mesmerising dune formations of the neighbouring Coloured Sands, which are just a 300m walk north along the beach. Alternatively, you can exit the camp and drive there along the beach, but this is something you should do only at low tide and in a 4WD.
The campground is very beautiful with all the very old paperbarks and Palm trees. The facilities include shower, toilets and sink. There are two communal areas with sinks, fish cleaning areas, and tables. Wifi is with Starlink and available around the Admin area and the Communal area. There are plenty of walks around the campground, out and along the road, and of course along the water at low tide and you can walk easily to the Colored sands, a distance of approximately 5 kms return. Firepits are there if you wish to have a campfire, and plenty of wood is lying around waiting to be collected. The camp areas near the waterfront are very beautiful, but the toilets are towards the rear end of the Campground which is where I stayed.
Quarantine Bay is located 8 km by road from Cooktown and 4 km off the Cooktown Road. It is a 1 km long, north-east facing beach, lying in lee of the densely vegetated 100 m high Monkhouse Point, that protrudes 1 km seaward of the southern end of the beach. The point together with Mount Cook, which rises 415 m in lee of the beach, surround the beach with steep, tropical slopes. A road crosses a saddle toward the southern end, giving good access to the beach and a few beach houses that back the central and northern section of the beach. The beach is backed by dense vegetation. It has a steeper high tide beach that contains a mixture of sand and gravel, while at low tide a low gradient bar grades into wide tidal shoals toward the southern half. Polished granite boulders dot the beach, while the granite rocks of the headlands fringe each end
Quarantine Bay owes its name to the fact that it was first used as a quarantine section for passengers of ships with diseases. Covered with pebbles and shells, this beach is fantastic for fishing and swimming thanks to its warm and shallow waters
Quarantine Bay– this awesome beach is situated 8 km from town, on the east side of Mount Cook National Park. There is a small car park with toilets right next to the beach. Usually, there are not many visitors.
There is a camping spot at Quarantine Bay accessed by a narrow, 100 meters track to the left of the car park.There is a public toilet at the carpark entrance and bins for rubbish.
The steamship “L’AUier,” on arrival at Cooktown from Java, was ordered into quarantine on 14th Feb- ruary, with typhoid fever on board. A special area on the north bank of the Endeavour River was proclaimed on that date as a lazaret for the quarantine of this ship’s company. Quarantine cases went to Cooktown not here at Quarantine Bay.
I move to a new apartment on Quarantine Bay Road. I have sold the caravan for less than half what I paid for it to simply get rid of it and I move to an apartment that has everything I need to be comfortable, including a beautiful garden which I simply have to admire. Finally I have a real home of my own again, and I happily place the rocking chair in a read and rock position and settle in. My little dog has a new friend of the same age, and they learn to play together energetically. Blackie has slightly longer legs and currently can run faster, and she has to run fast to keep ahead of the strong dachshund.
This is the beginning of a new day…and the ending of the night. When the sky turns red you know the new day is beginning.
Today I walk with the little dog along the road that leads to the river where I have to be careful as crocodiles lurk here. There is no way my little dog could outrun a crocodile. The water is beautiful and we walk to the end where the National Park starts with a sign saying “Dogs not welcome”
It rained all night and when the alarm went off for the Dawn Service, it was still raining and dark and dismal. So I went back to bed. When I woke up again it was 6.30 and the sky was streaked with a red sunrise.
The Anzac March started at the RSL Club at 10.30am and ended at the War Memorial. The march started with the horse…the Light Horseman brigade.
Everyone was seated before the Flag and the service began with speeches… I was at the back and couldn’t see very well. I was holding onto my new puppy. Then I found Phil who held the dog so I could move more freely…
The Rain had ceased so the service enjoyed sunshine and a gentle breeze. It was very beautiful in the garden. Seats were provided on one side. The students sat on the grass, and others stood behind and watched the service.
After the service I took photos of the wreaths and the main area.