Cooktown

With bitumen all the way along the 330 kilometre inland Mulligan Highway from Cairns, Cooktown is easy to get to. If you want a more adventurous route, go four wheel-driving along the coastal Bloomfield Track crossing rivers and creeks through World Heritage-listed rainforest and join the highway at the mysterious pile of rocks known as Black Mountain.

Historic Cooktown became a thriving port during the gold rush era after it was discovered by Captain James Cook when the HMS Endeavour hit a reef in 1770. Stroll through the town and you will get a sense of its prosperous past from the handmade stone guttering lining the wide streets and the graceful, well-preserved architecture.

Each June, the landing of Captain Cook and his interaction with the Indigenous Guugu Yimithirr people is re-enacted as part of the three-day Cooktown Discovery Festival. Discover Cooktown's multicultural history at the museum and walk through the cemetery to learn about the hardships endured there more than a century ago.

The fishing in Cooktown is world-renowned with the Cooktown River and offshore reefs yielding tasty species like barramundi and coral trout. Vessels from around the globe arrive each year to chase the legendary black marlin.

Cooktown has a regional airport with regular flights and a range of accommodation from camping to four-star hotels.

Cooktown, Cook Area
Queensland
Australia

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Harbour Beach

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Adjacent to Mackay's multimillion dollar Reef Marina development, popular Harbour Beach is a favourite beach with locals and visitors alike. Only a five minute drive from Mackay's Central Business District, it is home to the Mackay Surf Lifesaver Club and is seasonally patrolled.

Illawong Beach

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
A serene and peaceful coastline awaits at Illawong Beach. Kilometres of sandy shoreline as well as off and on dog leash areas make Illawong Beach a popular choice for sunrise strolls. At low tide, the ripples in the sand stretch for kilometres, where small blue soldier crabs can be seen scuttling across the surface.

Bucasia Beach

Bucasia, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Located in the Northern Beaches area of Mackay, Bucasia Beach is a picturesque sandy haven, popular for walking, swimming and fishing. Kick off your thongs (footwear) and feel the soft white sand underfoot.

Edward Lloyd Park, Marian

Marian, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Named for the Clerk (1921 to 1954) of the former Mirani Shire, Edward Lloyd, who was instrumental in preserving and maintaining parkland in the Shire, the park recently had a major make-over by Mackay Regional Council.

Gooseponds, North Mackay

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
The Gooseponds in North Mackay are a combination of popular walking tracks around a large central wetland lagoon, an initiative of Mackay Regional Council's 10,000 steps program. There are also a number of exercise stations along the walk giving fitness fanatics a varied workout.

Walkerston

Walkerston, Mackay Area
Walkerston is situated approximately 10 kilometres west of Mackay on the Peak Downs Highway, a small country town with an array of facilities and services, including a supermarket, bakery and pub. A key attraction in the area is the Historic Greenmount Homestead.

Lamberts Lookout

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Overlooking Lamberts Beach, the Cumberland Islands and Slade Point, Lamberts lookout offers stunning views especially at sunset. This is also a popular viewing platform to see the migrating whales as they breach and play off the coast of Mackay.

Pioneer River, Marian

Marian, Mackay Area
Free Entry
The Pioneer River, one of the few 'blue water' rivers in Queensland, and its main tributary, Cattle Creek, flow through the heart of the Pioneer Valley, from the Clarke Connors Ranges in the South and West to the Pacific Ocean at Mackay.

Far Beach

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Far Beach is a popular walking beach with locals, recognised for its tranquility and soft white sand. At low tide an expansive sand flat is exposed giving walkers kilometres of beach to meander. The beach provides expansive views, from Hay Point to the south and toward Flat and Round Top Islands.

Shoal Point

Shoal Point, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Shoal Point is the northern-most community of the Northern Beaches group, with a visually spectacular coastal beach. At low tide, the beach can almost be mistaken as a small sweeping desert. The sand stretches for hundreds of metres, allowing a close-up view of Green Reef Island.
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