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Welcome to Cook Shire


Cook Shire is the largest shire in terms of land area in Queensland. From the Bloomfield River in the south to just north of the Jardine river it covers over 100,000 square kilometres and occupies 80 per cent of Cape York Peninsula.

Geographically, Cook Shire is the meeting place of the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics and the outback. Our shire is home to numerous national parks, protected areas and conservation zones, as well as some of the most unique natural environments in the world, and globally-renowned cultural sites.

Our townships

Cook Shire has a unique and colourful past and we are proud that included one of the first recorded acts of reconciliation between European explorers and the Traditional Owners of the Endeavour River area in 1770.  Today we continue to enjoy a vibrant mix of cultures and industries, thanks to our diverse population, vast area and unique natural assets. About half the Shire's 5000-odd residents live in the major township of Cooktown, and our second largest township of Coen. Smaller population centres are at Marton, Laura, Lakeland, Ayton, Rossville and Portland Roads, and offshore islands including Lizard Island, as well as significant numbers of people throughout the Bloomfield and Endeavour valleys.

  • Cook Shire is enriched by the unique contributions of its small communities:
  • Coen prides itself on being the service centre for the far north;
  • Laura is famous for its amazing rock art and the Quinkan and Regional Cultural Centre;
  • Lakeland for agriculture;and
  • Rossville, Ayton Portland Roads for their low impact lifestyles, niche horticulture and eco-tourism ventures.


Cook Shire enjoys a mild tropical climate, with the wet season usually bringing soaking rains and tropical temperatures from January to March, although our main centre of Cooktown boasts summer temperatures that average 5 degrees cooler than Cairns. April to December is a drier time of year, with temperatures dropping to a mild average of 27 degrees.

During the wet season there are risks of cyclones and flooding. Residents and visitors are encouraged to read the Disaster Management page of this website and download relevant information on how to prepare for cyclone season.

For more information on the local weather and warnings visit the Bureau of Meterology website.

Shire Access

The number of visitors and residents coming to our Shire continues to increase as road conditions and facilities improve.  

Cooktown is 331km from Cairns (approximately 3.5-4 hours drive) and 266km from Mareeba (3 hours drive) via the fully sealed Mulligan Highway.

There are scheduled passenger flights to Cooktown and air charter operations providing access to all parts of the Shire, as well as regular tour buses, cruise ships and ever-increasing numbers of self drive tourists all looking for the real Australia and enjoying our amazing indigenous culture and bush hospitality.

To view the latest road conditions, how to get to the region and tourism information please visit the Cooktown and Cape York website.

ABN: 45 425 085 688

10 Furneaux Street Cooktown, Qld 4895

Mail: PO Box 3 Cooktown, Qld 4895


Phone: (07) 4082 0500

Fax: (07) 4082 0588

Hours: 8.45am-4.45pm Monday to Friday