Although I took the photo of the above sign in Palm Cove on a brief stop there, the warnings are just as relevant to Cooktown and other areas in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Don't swim in open waters during the months November - April as there are marine stingers and they create a very nasty sting. I believe people have died from stingers.
Likewise crocodiles are an ever-present danger and may be lurking almost anywhere. Nature has evolved the crocodile into a very efficient killing machine that can be in excess of 6 metres in length - don't mess with crocs unless you want to be part of the food chain.
Now you'd think this would be obvious and especially to Australians but people really don't check before setting off into remote Australia. This sign was photographed at the start of the Peninsula Development Road, which leads eventually all the way to the tip of Cape York Peninsula. The road does branch to both Cooktown and Weipa - in the case of Cooktown, it is known as the Cooktown Development Road.
Although there are 2 very small communities along the 250 km distance to Cooktown, I cannot vouch if fuel is available 24 hours per day and certainly the entire area is outside mobile (cell) phone coverage, so you would be on your own if the vehicle breaks down - and it could be a very long wait until someone else passes along at night. The road is quite well travelled during daylight hours.
Further warning - much of the road traverses cattle stations and although there are signs - "WARNING - UNFENCED CATTLE" the cattle don't necessarily read the signs and they could be anywhere along the road to Cooktown. Likewise with kangaroos and any other wildlife.
Please heed the warnings and take care in any remote areas of Australia. Make sure you have enough fuel for the trip and, just in case, carry containers of water.
There is an excellent online resource for those planning a driving trip to Queensland, click here for details. A further web link is provided below and links to all states and territories in Australia.
Please also note that carrying alcohol in your vehicle may be illegal in certain areas (see photo 2). The maps in the web site above also contains areas where regulations apply.
Be careful on all our roads PLEASE.
The 2002 warning/danger review is now very outdated and should be ignored!
There is a fully sealed road all the way from Cairns to Cooktown - the inland Mulligan Highway was finished in 2005! It's fine to tow caravans, drive RV's, etc.
Drive time from Cairns is roughly 3.5 to 4 hours.
Stop at Palmer River Roadhouse and check out their small mining museum.
The coastal route including 4WD Bloomfield Track requires a 4x4 vehicle and not suitable for towing a caravan but a stunning journey.
there's no sealed road to cooktown. the coastal road from cape trib (bloomfield track) is 4wd only (really, don'r try it...).
the inland road is gravel for the last 60km with some nasty corrugations, but mainly well prepared in the dry.
if you don't like this part in your old kombi -don't go further up cape york -it's not getting any better.
my old mazda brought me up to lakefield, where my front shockies broke and driving back 250km to mataranka without them wasn't the best fun i ever had...