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Cook Shire Council


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% of Cape York Peninsula.

Geographically the Cook Shire is the meeting place of the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics and the Outback. It is the location of many National Parks along with other protected areas and conservation zones.

Our townships

Cook Shire has a tough and colourful past built around agriculture and mining.  Today we still have a vibrant culture and peoples from across the country and around the globe. Approximately 5000 people live in the Shire.  The Shire's major township is Cooktown with smaller population centres at Marton, Laura, Lakeland, Coen, Ayton, Rossville and Portland Roads and offshore islands including Lizard Island with significant numbers of people living 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 running from January to  March being the hottest time of the year.  April to December brings a drier period with cooler weather and temperatures averaging around 27 degrees Celsius.  In summer Cooktown is usually 5 degrees cooler than Cairns.

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 331 kms from Cairns (approximately 3 1/2-4 hours by car on the inland road ) and 266 kms from Mareeba (3 hours by car) via the sealed Mulligan Highway.

There are scheduled passenger flights to Cooktown and air charter operations providing access to all parts of the Shire; regular tour buses and cruise liners as well as an increasing number of self drive adventure tourists - all looking for the real Australia; all enjoying our bush hospitality.