Cook Shire is the largest land area shire in Queensland. From the Bloomfield River in the south to just north of the Jardine River, it covers more than 100,000km2 and occupies 80 per cent of Cape York Peninsula.
Cook Shire is a vibrant area, from the main township of Cooktown to smaller outlying communities rich in indigenous history, agriculture, tourism and arts. About half of the Shire's 4400-strong population live in Cooktown, on the banks of the Endeavour River, with the remainder spread between the smaller population centres of Marton, Laura, Lakeland, Coen, Ayton, Rossville, Portland Roads and offshore islands including Lizard Island.
Cook Shire is enriched by the unique contributions of its smaller communities, with Lakeland a national leader in agriculture and Laura world famous for its rock art.
Cook Shire enjoys a mild tropical climate with the wet season typically running from January to March, which is also the hottest part of the year. April to December brings a drier period and cooler weather, with temperatures averaging 27 degrees.
During the wet season, there are risks of cyclones and flooding, while the dry season can bring bushfires. Residents and visitors are encouraged to read the Disaster Management page of this website for information on how to prepare yourself and your home.
The number of people visiting Cook Shire and moving to our beautiful region is growing steadily, as access and facilities improve across our communities.
Cooktown is 331km from Cairns, or a four hour drive on the fully sealed Mulligan Highway, and only three hours, or 266km, from Mareeba. Lakeland is an hour south of Cooktown, also on the Mulligan Highway, while Rossville and Marton are less than an hour away, also reached by bitumen roads. Travelling north on the bitumen-sealed Peninsula Development Road, which leaves the Mulligan Highway at Lakeland, Laura can be reached in about an hour. Farther north the road becomes gravel, with stretches of bitumen, and can be treacherous or impassable during the wet season.
There are airports and airstrips in most areas of the Shire, with the largest in Cooktown and Coen, and scheduled or charter flights available to those destinations. There is a regular bus service between Cairns and Cooktown, as well as cruise ships, tour buses, hire car companies and motorbike tours offering different options for exploring our back yard.