Cape Upstart

In 1770 Captain Cook made his way along the north eastern coast of Australia naming landmarks as he went. One of these bays south of the modern-day locale of Townsville (Queensland) he called Cape Upstart, “because being surrounded with low land it starts or rises up singley at the first making of it …. Inland are some tolerable high hills or mountains, which, like the Cape, affords but a very barren prospect”.

Cape Upstart. A 'barren prospect' in the eyes of Captain Cook.

Cape Upstart. A ‘barren prospect’ in the eyes of Captain Cook.

In 1848 Edmund Kennedy sailed past on his way to Cape York commenting only on the green colour of the sea and the long line of mountains ‘all tumbled and piled one above another and forming one long long cape’. They only stayed for a night.

The beaches of Cape Upstart

The beaches of Cape Upstart


In 2014 part of this ‘barren prospect’ is for sale for over half a million dollars. It is now the location of the most idyllic of our modern dreams: ¬†“The unique and rustic multi level beach house is surrounded by Cape Upstart National Park and the Coral Sea, with the Great Barrier Reef in close proximity.¬†Property access is 8km by boat from Molongle Creek boat ramp and alternatively by the local barge operation or your private helicopter….Our Cape Upstart property provides serenity and delivers that tropical Island dream in more ways than one with its sandy beach, beautiful aqua sea, pristine natural environment, abundant native flora and fauna. While relaxing on the verandah you will have whale, dugong and turtle sightings, not to mention the ability to view the sun setting over the sea on the east coast of Australia”.

Nowadays the Cape supports 200 ‘shacks’ (ranging up to a million dollars in value) all of which can only be accessed by boat or air. The surrounding hilly country is designated National Park and the turquoise blue waters on the coast are a mecca for fishermen.

From barren to beautiful. I’m guessing Captain Cook wouldn’t have been spending his savings on a Cape Upstart property.


Privately owned shacks hug the Cape Upstart bays


Cape Upstart National Park


If you live on Cape Upstart a boat, tractor and dog seem to be a must have


Fancy a new house?


One of the lower end Cape Upstart shacks


Beautiful creeks in the Cape York area – low tides must have caused Cook some headaches back in the day


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