Visiting Mount Cook safely
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.
Travel west on the Kennedy Highway for 67km to Mareeba. Turn north onto the Mulligan Highway (Cooktown Development Road) and travel 181km to Lakeland Downs via the Palmer River Roadhouse. Continue north-east on the Mulligan Highway for another 82km to Cooktown. The total distance is 330km and takes approximately 4hr.
Travel 75km north towards Mossman on the Captain Cook Highway and a further 62km to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation. Follow the unsealed Bloomfield Track for 77km to the Mulligan Highway (Cooktown Development Road). Turn right onto the highway and travel 28km to Cooktown. The total distance is 242km and takes approximately 4hr.
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 28km north to Old Laura. Turn east and drive 123km on the Battle Camp Road to Cooktown.
From Laura travel 64km to Lakeland, then 82km to Cooktown.
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.
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.
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.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available at Cooktown. For more information see the tourism information links.
- Walk Mount Cook walking track with caution: Mount Cook National Park 30 April to 15 May 2021