|Trip Length: 3 days Total Distance: 453 km Road Conditions: Some unsealed roads|
This short trip will take you a long way back. As the rainforest changes to savannah you will visit the site of ancient aboriginal rock art dating back 15,000 years before arriving at the town named after Captain James Cook, the 18th Century Pacific Explorer who circumnavigated the globe and added Australia to the British Crown.
Note: Peninsula Developmental Road is subject to flooding during periods of heavy rain.
Depart Cairns and drive to Kuranda along the slow winding Kuranda Range.
Venture into Kuranda Village where you will find markets on everyday. In the village there is also a variety of animal parks including; birds, butterflies and koalas. Take the shuttle bus down to the Barron Falls Lookout for a walk in the rainforest.
There are several cafes and pubs to stop for lunch in Kuranda or you can go down to the Barron Esplanade and have a picnic.
From Kuranda continue west towards Mareeba. The landscape will change from rainforest to savannah in the blink of an eye. In Mareeba you can stop to taste locally made coffee or even Mango Wine.
There is a range of motel and caravan park accommodation in Mareeba.About the Drive
This is an action packed day of wildlife, history and culture. You will need to rise early today if you want to experience the breathtaking flora and fauna of the Tropical North at the Mareeba Wetlands. The Wetlands are set on a reserve of over 5000 acres of lightly timbered savannah grassland, and total around 300 acres of open water. They are situated on the East Asian/Australasian flyway, attracting migratory birds and providing a sanctuary for a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife.
After your morning of canoeing, bush walking or bird watching, head off along the Peninsula Development road which will take you on a journey into the Australian outback and a way of life that has remained the same throughout the decades. Traveling through Mount Carbine, make sure you stop at Bob's Look Out, there you will be amazed by the vast expanse of the Great Dividing Range.
Stop at the Palmer River Goldfields Roadhouse for lunch, while you are there you can explore the museum that was put together by Louis Komasic who built the roadhouse. The museum includes memorabilia from Louis' own experiences at the Palmer River Goldfields.
Continue along the Peninsula Development road passing through Lakeland on the way to Split Rock which is 10 km before the township Laura. Split Rock features Aboriginal rock art dating back 15 000 years. You can climb the rock to see the artwork. After visiting the Quinkan and Regional Cultural Centre in Laura you will need to double back to Lakeland and take the turn off to Cooktown.
At the end of the day why not enjoy some local fish and chips watching the sun set over the Endeavour River. Cooktown offers predominantly budget accommodation however it does have some very quaint lodges, B & B s, caravan parks, hotels and comfortable four star resort hotel.
Early the next morning you can either drive or walk up to Grassy Hill which is home to the Cooktown lighthouse, built in England and shipped to Cooktown in 1885.
Before the sun rises too high in the sky, take a walk along to Nature's Power House Botanical Gardens, which also houses one of our 'national treasures', the Vera Scarth-Johnson Gallery.
Another must-see is the James Cook Museum which is operated by the Queensland National Trust. The museum houses the HMS Bark Endeavour and Chinese, Pastoral, Mining, and Indigenous collections.About the Drive
|Road Conditions:||Some unsealed roads|