A yet-untamed coastal community of roughly 2,000, Cooktown in Queensland, Australia, still evokes the frontier era with a pub-lined main street and surrounding tropical forest. Though the community largely shutters its windows during the wet season, running from November to May, Cooktown remains a popular outpost for adventurers and offers a number of hotel and lodging options.
Sovereign Resort Hotel
Tuck in for the night at the colonial-style Sovereign Resort Hotel, a AAA four-star hotel in downtown Cooktown. Terracotta tiles and a wide veranda evoke the plantation era, while air-conditioned rooms charm with expansive windows, wooden doors and understated decor. Lounge amid tropical gardens around the outdoor pool or spend the day exploring the Lower Cape, then savor fresh-caught seafood at the hotel’s Balcony Restaurant and Cocktail Bar.
Enjoy views of Cooktown Harbor from a guest room balcony at the Seaview Motel, situated within walking distance of downtown. Though the hotel lacks some amenities, such as an on-site cafe and screen doors to the balconies, simply appointed rooms are clean and comfortable. Soak in lovely views from the front lawn, then head into Cooktown for sightseeing at the James Cook Museum. Relish surf-and-turf at the Bowls Club, a local buffet-style restaurant.
Milkwood Lodge Rainforest Retreat
Unwind at the distinctive Milkwood Lodge Rainforest Retreat, nestled into rain forest and bushland a short drive from Cooktown. Choose from six pole cabins with large ceiling fans, kitchenettes, plush bedding and broad verandas. Wander through the lodge’s lush gardens, keep an eye out for native birds, soak in views of Mount Cook and take a dip in the saltwater pool. Rent a boat or dinghy for a day of fishing, then cook up your catch on the outdoor grill.
Cooktown Motel Pam's Place
Rejuvenate for the next adventure at Cooktown Motel Pam’s Place, a popular haunt for backpackers. Guest rooms are simple and comfortable, and on-site amenities include a laundry area and swimming pool. Strap on your boots for exploring the Daintree National Park or your snorkel for diving along the Great Barrier Reef. Relish fine dining at the Shadows of Mount Cook, a nearby rain forest-surrounded restaurant.
Kick off your shoes poolside at the Alamanda Inn, a cozy motel that offers five guest rooms as well as a handful of self-contained studio units and guesthouse rooms. Tropical gardens and flowerbeds charm, and guestrooms afford tidy, pleasant accommodations. Wake to a complimentary breakfast before heading out for a day of hiking, fishing, swimming or boating in and around the Cooktown Harbor.
- “Fodor’s Australia 2009”; Margaret Kelly, Stephanie Butler; 2008
- “Fodor’s Australia”; Margaret Kelly, Kelly Kealy; 2010
- “Let’s Go Australia”; Jake G. Cohen, Marykate Jasper, Anna Halsey Steim; 2008
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