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Cooktown and the Cape York Peninsula are fringed by long deserted beaches which are ideal for a great day out by the sea.

Archer Point

Located about 20 km outside Cooktown signposted from the Mulligan Highway. Often windy, this is a popular spot for kite surfers. As the 3 beaches are all facing a different direction there is always a calm beach to relax on. From the beach at low tide you can walk out to the reef and snorkel off the point, but beware of crocodiles and stingers. This is a great camping spot if you are entirely self-sufficient - the views are spectacular (unsealed access road). 

Finch Bay and Cherry Tree Bay

Finch Bay - Pam Davey
Finch Bay - Pam Davey

These are the two local beaches in Cooktown. Although you can drive to Finch Bay, just 2 km past the Botanic Gardens entrance and car park, there is delightful short bush walk through the Gardens. Cherry Tree Bay is only accessible by foot through the Botanic Gardens or from the Grassy Hill road.

Quarantine Bay

A 5km drive from Cooktown – turn off the Mulligan Highway to Quarantine and Walker Bay then continue past the Golf Course turn off. The beach is pebbly here and situated at the base of Mt Cook the backdrop is a rainforest covered slope. 

Walker Bay

Walker Bay is accessed by a road on the right just after the golf course entrance. The beach is located at the mouth of the Annan River and long sandy stretches snake north along the coastline. This is a beach favoured by anglers as they fish the sand bars at the mouth of the River, and also a renowned favourite amongst kite surfers. 

Weary Bay

Named by Captain Cook’s crew in 1770 Weary Bay is an open, nine km long bay at the mouth of the Bloomfield River and a popular fishing spot for the locals.

Weary Bay beach is an ideal spot for a long leisurely walk and access is from Weary Bay road in Ayton.

Elim Beach and Coloured Sands

Past Hopevale is the beautiful Elim Beach overlooking Cape Bedford.

Somerset Beach, Queensland. Courtesy of Tourism Queensland
Somerset Beach, Queensland. Courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Cape York Beaches

Beyond Cooktown there are accessible beaches at Cape Melville National Park. A popular camping site is found at Chilli Beach in the Iron Range National Park.

Near Seisa and Bamaga there are several lovely beaches including Punsand Bay, Loyalty Beach and Somerset Beach.

Albatross Bay provides a scenic coastal retreat at Weipa.


Important advice!

Crocodiles can be found around many rivers, freshwater creeks and waterholes and along coastal beaches. Fortunately our conservation measures are working so always be croc wise and ask for local advice before going near the water.

Don’t swim after dusk or early in the morning.

Marine stingers have been found throughout the year on local beaches and in the Cooktown harbour. Marine stingers can be fatal. Accidental bites can be relieved with instant and continued application of vinegar and get medical help as soon as possible.