The first voyage of James Cook was a combined Royal Navy and Royal Society expedition to the South Pacific Ocean aboard HMS Endeavour, from 1768 to 1771. The voyage was commissioned by King George III and commanded by Lieutenant James Cook, a junior naval officer with good skills in cartography and mathematics. Departing from Plymouth-Dock in August 1768, the expedition crossed the Atlantic. In September 1769 the expedition reached New Zealand. Cook and his crew spent the following six months charting the New Zealand coast, before resuming their voyage westward across open sea. In April 1770 they became the first Europeans to reach the east coast of Australia, making landfall at Point Hicks and then proceeding to Botany Bay. The year following his return Cook set out on a second voyage of the Pacific, which lasted from 1772 to 1775. His third and final voyage lasted from 1776 to 1779.