Great Barrier Reef Environment Touristic Guide
Cape York, Cooktown Travel Guide, North Queensland Australia. Vacation Packages. Great Barrier Reef Environment Touristic Guide. Cooktown, on the eastern coast of Cape York Peninsula, is 1600 km north of Brisbane and 650 km from Torres Strait. Cooktown grew rapidly as the nearest port for the Palmer River gold rush in the 1870s. By the 1880s, its population peak, one-fifth of its residents were Chinese. The town declined rapidly in the first two decades of the twentieth century and by the 1950s it was almost a ghost town. Tourism gradually came to its rescue. Its relative isolation and its spectacular setting on Cape York drew increasing numbers from the 1980s. Situated on the eastern side of the mouth of the Endeavour River, Cooktown was named after James Cook who explored the east coast of Australia in 1770. Cook was compelled to careen and repair his vessel, Endeavour, after holing it on reef coral. Cook and his crew remained at the Endeavour River for 48 days until August 1770, having occasional contact with local Aboriginal people. More than a century passed before Cooktown was established.