Skip links and keyboard navigation

About Mount Cook

Getting there and getting around

Cooktown can be accessed from the south by inland or coastal road routes. Access is also possible from the north and west via an inland road route. Many of the roads are unsealed and four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended. All roads may be closed for extended periods during and after heavy rain in the wet season. Check with the Bureau of Meteorology for updated weather reports. Travellers should seek the latest information on road conditions from the RACQ before proceeding.

Alcohol restrictions are in place in many of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. For the latest information on restrictions see community alcohol restrictions.

Mount Cook can be seen when approaching Cooktown by road. On arriving in Cooktown, follow the signs to Mount Cook and access the walking track from Ida Street.

From Cairns (coastal road route)

When travelling from the south, Cooktown can be reached from either the inland or coastal road routes. The inland road is sealed and suitable for caravans. The coastal route is suitable only for four-wheel–drive vehicles.

Inland route

Travel west on the Kennedy Highway for 67 km to Mareeba. Turn north onto the Mulligan Highway (Cooktown Development Road) and travel 181 km to Lakeland Downs via the Palmer River Roadhouse. Continue north-east on the Mulligan Highway for another 82 km to Cooktown. The total distance is 330 km and takes approximately 4 hours.

Coastal route

Travel 75 km north towards Mossman on the Captain Cook Highway and a further 62 km to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation. Follow the unsealed Bloomfield Track for 77 km to the Mulligan Highway (Cooktown Development Road). Turn right onto the highway and travel 28 km to Cooktown. The total distance is 242 km and takes approximately 4 hours.

From Laura (inland road route)

Travellers coming from the north and west can reach Cooktown from Laura via either the Battle Camp Road or Lakeland. These routes are suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles only as the road is mostly gravel and heavily corrugated in some places.

Battle Camp Road

From Laura travel 28 km north to Old Laura. Turn east and drive 123 km on the Battle Camp Road to Cooktown.

Lakeland route

From Laura travel 64 km to Lakeland, then 82 km to Cooktown.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities in Mount Cook National Park.

Park features

Mount Cook National Park is approximately 508 ha and provides a scenic mountain backdrop to the township. The park extends from the sea westward for several kilometres.

Rainforest and tropical woodland with a heath understorey cover the mountain’s upper slopes and sheltered gullies while grasslands grow on the southern slopes.

Lieutenant Phillip Parker King named Mount Cook in June 1819 during his circumnavigation of Northern Australia. Unbeknown to King, Lieutenant James Cook had already identified the mountain as Gores Mount after Lieutenant John Gore, his third Lieutenant. The name Mount Cook took hold and, sadly for John Gore, the title Gores Mount was forgotten.

Read more about the nature, culture and history of Mount Cook National Park.

Camping and accommodation


There is no camping in Mount Cook National Park.

Other accommodation

There is a range of accommodation at Cooktown including motels, hotels and caravan parks. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Things to do


Mount Cook summit walking track—6 km return (allow 4 hrs) Grade: difficult

A 3 km circuit leads to a vantage point with views over the Great Barrier Reef to the east, and the Endeavour Valley to the west.

Viewing wildlife

The park is home to amethystine pythons (Morelia amethestina) and northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus). Pied imperial-pigeons (Ducula bicolour) and buff-breasted paradise-kingfishers (Tanysiptera sylvia) visit in the summer months.

Relax and enjoy nature in this undeveloped park. Visitors can hear and see a great array of plants and animals because of the diverse habitats. Remember to take your binoculars.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

  • adequate food and water
  • first-aid equipment
  • sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and clothes for protection from the sun
  • repellent and clothing for protection against biting insects
  • rubbish bags to remove all rubbish.

Opening hours

Mount Cook National Park is open 24 hours a day.

Permits and fees

Permits are required for commercial or organised activities. Contact us for further information.


Please leave your pets at home—domestic animals are not allowed in Mount Cook National Park.

Climate and weather

Mount Cook National Park has a tropical climate. Summer can be very hot and humid with maximum temperatures reaching over 35 °C. During the wet season, from December to April, there are heavy, frequent downpours. During the cooler, drier months from May to September when south-easterly winds normally blow, the weather is pleasantly warm, with reduced humidity. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available at Cooktown. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Staying safe

To enjoy a safe visit in this area, please take these precautions:

  • avoid the sun in the middle of the day to prevent sunburn and heat exhaustion. Use sunscreen and wear a hat.
  • during summer months biting insects may be a problem. Remember to bring insect repellent and to wear protective clothing.
  • ensure you carry plenty of drinking water.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

  • Everything in the park, living or dead, is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.
  • Feeding wildlife is prohibited—it can affect their health and alter the natural population.
  • Domestic animals are prohibited in national parks.
  • Please take rubbish with you when you leave the park.

Park management

Mount Cook National Park is managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service for recreation and to protect the area’s natural and cultural values.

Mount Cook National Park was first gazetted in December 1970.

Tourism information links

Nature's Powerhouse Visitor Information Centre 
Cooktown Botanic Gardens, Cooktown QLD 4895
ph 07 4069 5444

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
22 March 2017