The town of seventeen seventy

 

Estef, Olivia, and I carried on north, stopping at a place called Seventeen Seventy: so named because it was the first place in Queensland that Captain James Cook landed when he was “discovering” Australia. 

One thing I’ve found really interesting along my trip so far has been seeing how Australia handles its’ past. Australia and Canada have similar histories: both were inhabited for thousands of years by Aboriginal people, and both were colonized by European settlers. And in both countries, that colonization resulted in significant, on-going devastation for the Aboriginal peoples that were the first inhabitants of the land. 

In some places around Australia this history is openly acknowledged and discussed; in others, it is ignored. For example, Captain Cook – who “discovered” Australia – is seen now as a problematic icon. He did a lot of harm; yet there are still places that are called by the names he gave them. Yesterday I drove along the “Captain Cook Highway”. Australia has the same problem that Canada does: it’s not about erasing any history that is problematic or politically incorrect, but of needing to find a way to interpret that history, and using it to illuminate the problems of the past so that we can do better from now on. 

Despite all that – 1770 was a beautiful spot. 

Some highlights from the few days I spent there: 

Hiking the paperbark trail, surrounded by – you guessed it – paperbark trees! 

Stepping stones along the trail: 

Hiking the Red Rock trail along the coast:

Watching sunset from the headland:

While in 1770, we stayed at a hostel at nearby Agnes Water. This was my favourite hostel of the trip so far. It was a very relaxed place, with tons of personality. Our first night there, the night of the full moon, the hostel worker, Greg, brought out a telescope and we all got to see the moon, Mars, and the stars through it. Greg also gave us an amazing list of places to stop at as we continued north to Cairns. One of my favourite things to do while travelling is get local recommendations and tips – you can find so much that you wouldn’t discover otherwise.

Morning breakfast at at the hostel (they had free raisin toast, jams, and coffee!):

One evening at 1770, Olivia, Estef, and I also met up with some friends. I met this group of friends for the first time near Dorrigo National Park, in New South Wales; I met up with them again in Byron Bay, and then after I picked up Olivia and Estef in Brisbane, we all hung out with the group for a couple of days in Noosa. We met up again in 1770 to enjoy a sunset together, before they moved on north ahead of us.

We’d meet again, not so far down the road…

Next stop: the Capricorn Coast.

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