08/07/2017 Port Douglas to Cooktown

We made our own breakfast again which is a great money saver.  We left Port Douglas but very pleased to know we will be returning there in a few days time.  Rob the Hotel owner was a very nice chap and rides a motorbike.  He seemed to be very envious of us riding out of town.   

As we rode out we climbed a windy hill which was great.  Then we were on the flat pretty much all the way-about 250k’s.  Many signs along the way warned us there were no fences and that cattle roamed freely.  We saw some crossing the road.  Many signs warn of Kangeroos.  I looked for some, I thought if we were to see some at all on our trip today would be the day, but again I saw only dead ones.  One of the dead ones was truly enormous. 

We are now closer to the equator than Fiji, so it’s very hot.  All the locals keep telling us it’s winter as they wrap their cardigans around them to stay warm-for us its hot and humid, and with our leathers on, almost unbearable at times.  Tomorrow we are getting on the road earlier as husband found the riding too hot today.

Along the way to Cooktown we stopped at a Roadhouse café.  All the 4×4 jeeps were filling up-big queue of them all covered in red dust.  Cooktown is the end of the line in terms of tar seal, so these are all of the off road adventurers.

 

Many signs along the way warn that crocs will be present in all estuaries and swamps on the Cape York peninsular, which we are now at the bottom of. 

It was a very pleasant ride to Cooktown.  Neither of us expected much in terms of the town itsself but it’s a very pleasant little town and our hotel is very nice.  It’s much like being in Singapore in terms of the colonial style of the buildings.

    

Cooktown is on the banks of the Endeavor River where Captain Cook beached his ship in 1770 for repairs after damaging it on the reef. 

There’s a lot of history and recognition of Captain Cook in the town, but it was finding gold up here in the Palmer River that really brought this town alive and back in the gold rush days it really prospered.  There was a population of over 9000 at the Palmer River gold field.  A railway was put in at great cost to haul goods and people in and out, but after the gold rush, it was all disbanded and the town has been in a decline ever since.  Only a population of 2330 in the region now.

This monument above can be seen in the right photo, celebrating Cook day many years ago.  The Aboriginal people are on the monument waving flags heralding the colonisation of the area.  I wonder if they benefitted and still celebrate each year?

There ‘s some great historic photos of the town;

 

As we pulled into Cooktown we filled up at the gas station,  I noticed at my foot a dead spider that had flies on it.  It was still quite in tact and I can tell you that one could feed on the meat in its legs for lunch.  I made it clear when we checked in to our motel that there were to be no spiders in our room!  She said there are some big ones here. 

You have to be tough to live in such a place.  Not for me-nice to visit and enjoy the 27 deg winter weather, but not to stay.

We spent the afternoon lazing by the pool, it was relaxing even though there were a few kids around.  Lucky for us they go back to school tomorrow-that should make it quieter in the places we are to stay in and make accommodation a bit freer. 

 

This is our most northern point.  Tomorrow we head down to Mossman.