|We drove north on the Cape York Peninsula to Cooktown where the pavement ends. You can continue on 4-wheel drive roads for another 500 miles or so to the end of the Cape. Lots of people do drive to the end but only with serious 4-wheel drive vehicles carrying extra fuel, water, spare tires and a satellite phone. We talked to one couple who just completed the trip which took a month. “Never again” is what they said.
So we stopped at Cooktown where back in 1770 Captain Cook beached his ship the Endeavour on the Great Barrier Reef. From that time on things would never be the same for the native people of Australia. Cooktown is to the Aussies like Plymouth Rock is to us. Lots of history in this little town that sits on a rock outcropping where the wind never stops blowing. We hiked to the top of Mt. Cook for stunning ocean views. This area is a rainforest and the hike was on muddy, steep trails where every twisted root and vine looks like a snake.
Inland from Cooktown we drove to the town of Laura (population 120) where the pavement also ends but is the sight of the Quinkan Rock Art Galleries. Quinkan means “spirits.” To see the Quinkan gallery you can only go with an Aboriginal guide. Our guide drove like a crazy person speeding down a 4 wheel drive road for 8 miles until we reached the site. This site was the location where young boys were initiated into manhood. Some of the art has been dated back 14,000 years even though some of it is more recent. They frequently painted over older paintings so very ancient art is mixed up with more recent work.
So we reached the end of our journey north and now have started south along the eastern coastline.