The Legacy of Captain Cook

25 January 2013

Here at Flight Centre, we think that Captain James Cook is a legend. Guided by his sense of curiosity, he took three epic expeditions around the globe to document his discoveries. Interestingly, Cook uncovered and explored more of the planet than any other person in history.

This year we celebrate 225 years since Governor Phillip first established a British colony in Sydney harbour; the English created a penal colony in Australia based on the recommendations of Cook, who was impressed by Botany Bay 18 years prior in 1770. It was Cook who named the bay - initially he called it Stingray Harbour, then Botanist Bay and finally its present name.

Given that Captain Cook played such a central role in the establishment of our country, we thought we'd spotlight some locations relevant to this great maritime figure.

Whitsundays The Whitsundays - Named by Cook in 1770

Plymouth and Greenwich, England
Cook's first voyage that would eventually land at Botany Bay, departed from Plymouth in the south west of England in 1768 and returned three years later in 1771. As a fitting tribute to Captain Cook's  role in maritime history, there's a statue of the explorer in Greenwich, the historic heart of the English naval fleet. When in London also be sure to visit the Royal Naval College and the National Maritime Museum.

Town of 1770
After landing at Botany Bay, Cook took the HMS Endeavour north along the east coast of Australia. The second point he stepped ashore was at the aptly named Town of 1770, near Agnes Waters on Queensland's Capricorn Coast.

The Whitsundays
The name for the iconic Whitsunday archipelago comes from Cook who thought he had arrived in the area on Whit Sunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter. As historians were to later discover, Cook actually had the date wrong. The 74 paradise islands are worth exploring any day of the week and boast incredible snorkelling and diving opportunities on the Great Barrier Reef.

Far North Queensland
Cook's boat, the Endeavour hit a shoal on the Great Barrier Reef near what is now appropriately named Cooktown, 100 kilometres north of Cape Tribulation. The repairs, which took seven weeks to complete were carried out at the mouth of the aptly named Endeavour River. Once back at sea, Cook named the Cape York Peninsula after the Duke of York.

Norfolk Island
In 1772 Cook departed on his second expedition. It was on this trip that he pulled up anchor on Norfolk Island - an island that would become forever linked to the famous Bounty mutiny 17 years later. A monument at a scenic lookout in the north of the island commemorates Cook's landing in 1774.

Adventure Bay, Tasmania
Named after one of the ships under Cook's command on his second expedition, Adventure Bay around 70 kilometres south of Hobart, was included in the surveying work the Captain made of the southern and eastern coasts of Tasmania or Van Diemen's Land as it was known then.

Hawaii
Cook's third voyage of exploration began in 1776. But three years into the journey during a stop off on Hawaii, the maritime legend was killed at Kealakekua Bay, just south of Kailua Kona on the main Hawaiian island. A monument stands as a tribute to this great historic figure.

Lyndon Barnett

Guided by curiosity and a sense of adventure, Lyndon travelled independently to 69 countries on six continents. As such, travel is Lyndon's only addiction. He enjoys with equal measure - scaling the peaks of a South American mountain at altitude, attending opera in a European Opera House or hunting for a bargain in an Asian market.