4/8/13 – It was a nice drive heading east towards Cooktown from our campsite. Isabella Creek was a lovely little creek. Water flowed over the road and down some small water falls. Nice to clean the dust of the feet the water was rather cool.
We hadn’t planned from home to go to Cooktown but since Chris wanted to do the Battle Camp Road we pretty well go through Cooktown so it was an opportunity to pick up a couple of things. Fill the gas bottle, Ute with cheaper fuel (we hope), fill up the water, do some washing and hopefully pick up another lock. Since it was Sunday we figured most places would be closed so this meant we would have to spend a night. Least I might get my fish and chips by the beach finally.
In Cooktown there is an low cost camping area, currently $5 per night, in town. Trouble is, its only for self contained vehicles, camping trailers are not self contained and you have to get the permit to stay from the info centre which closed early arvo anyway. So we looked for a van park to stay. We picked Cooktown Caravan Park as it was reasonably close to town. It was not chosen on price, the only one we avoided due to price was the Big 4. We didn’t know the price until we checked in.
First impressions was it looked ok, the owners were very friendly. We asked for a powered site as not only did it have power it had water to the site, so for $5 more we figured it was worth it. They didn’t have powered sites available, so unpowered it was. When he showed us to our very uneven, dry grass and dusty site we asked about filling up with water. He said we couldn’t do that as water cost him and that we could only have 10-20 L. When we asked were we could fill up with water he directed us to down the main st. If we had known this before we had paid for the site we would not have stayed here. There was no notice in the office, they only notice was in the laundry. We have never had this happen before even at Coober Pedy where water is very scarce. When we looked around the park the powered sites are even dustier, small and close together. Many can’t set an awning up. Most vans and motorhomes have their hoses hooked up and one would assume then fill their tanks. Most would not know about the sign in the laundry. Some ladies also complained that there is only one washer. The place looks like it hasn’t had a hose or sprinkle put on it for years, it’s all so dry.
We find and we have heard this from many travelers, that van parks don’t offer us/them a lot and now what they should offer like filling up with water is now not an option here. We could have filled the tanks in town and stayed at an equally dusty, uneven surface for free. In fact here is the most uneven surface we have camped in all trip. We have paid good money for nothing. We are not impressed, will never stay here again and can’t recommend this place to anyone. Caravan Parks take note, this is why people often prefer to free camp. You want people into your park then you need to offer them something they can’t get free camping off in some gravel pit.
We didn’t do all the touristy things in Cooktown as we had been here many years earlier and done them then. Most shops were closed but we were pleased to see the Croc shop was open. We had heard about this place from other travelers up north, well worth stopping in at, great shop.
We eventually found a place that was open Sun night that sold fish and chips. They were out of most fish with only a choice of 2. We choose the Coral Trout, they were also out of lemon. We ate our fish and chips in a park over looking the water and went for a lovely walk down the street finding a really cool musical ship to play with 🙂