Mt Cook National Park

Mt Cook National Park is in Cooktown.

It is in the southern edge of the town, you see the sign as you drive in.

And you can get to it via the southernmost streets in the town.
   mt cook national park

The park protects 508ha of rainforest and woodland, and contains the 431 metre Mount Cook, Waymbuurr for the local Guugu Yimmithirr Aboriginal people.
   mt cook national park map

Human History

Cooktown and Mt Cook National Park are in the middle of the traditional lands of Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people (including Kuku Nyungkul, Kuku Bididji and Yuku Baja-Muliku) in the south, and Guugu Yimithirr and Gungarde Aboriginal people (including Gamay and Waymbuurr) in the north.

During his stay in 1770 Captain James Cook named what is now Mount Cook 'Gores Mount' after after his third Lieutenant, John Gore. Unaware of that, during his voyage in 1819, Lieutenant Phillip Parker King named Mount Cook after captain James Cook.
   mt cook national park geology


The oldest rock material around Cooktown, found in our orange soils, is believed to be 420 million years old. The granites found in Mount Cook National Park and Black Mountain (where they are black due to an algae that grows on them) are about 260 million years old.
   mt cook national park plants

Plants and Vegetation

The different types of vegetation include grasslands (on lower slopes), and tropical woodlands and rainforest (on upper slopes). Amongst the many species of different plants there are the ancient cycads, ferns and tree ferns, paperbark and ironbark eucalypts, and lots of different rainforest species.
   mt cook national park animals

Birds and Animals

Animals include northern quolls, amethystine pythons, rainbow skinks and many others. Birds include bush turkeys, and the migratory buff breasted paradise kindfishers and imperial pigeons that arrive from Papua New Guinea for the summer.
   mt cook national park walk

Things to Do

The best thing to do if you are fit enough is walking to the top of Mount Cook. The walk is only three kilometres one way, but due to the steepness the Mount Cook Summit Walk is not an easy one.

Mt Cook National Park Walk

There is a great walk in Mount Cook national park in Cooktown.

You have to be fit enough, but if you are, and if you like bushwalking, you will love this walk.

You find it in the southern end of the town,
   mount cook national park walk

... in Mt Cook national park, follow the signs from the end of Ida Street, the entrance is towards the end of Hannan Drive.
   mount cook summit trail

Follow the signs and you get to this carpark:
   mount cook walk

And this is where the Mt Cook national park walk starts.
   mount cook national park walking path

In the beginning it is not steep,
   mount cook national park open woodland

... you first come to a rocky open area,
   mount cook national park rocky area

.. and then continue through open woodland,
   mount cook national park granite boulders

then pass through areas with granite boulders,
   mount cook national park granite boulders

.. before you get to the first lookout platform, where you have views over Cooktown and Grassy Hill.
   mount cook national park first lookout

Then the walk continues,
   mount cook national park rainforest

... the vegetation is gradually turning more and more into rainforest,
   mount cook national park second lookout

... and it gets steeper and passes by more lookout points.
   mount cook national park rainforest

Sometimes you have glimpses of water,
   mount cook national park view

... then the track,
   mount cook national park walking track

... and then again another lookout point.
   mount cook national park third lookout

The further you proceed the steeper it gets,
   mount cook summit

... sometimes it is quite exhausting,
   mount cook national park walking track

... but the views are well worth it!
   mount cook national park views

It is a good idea to allow about six hours for the return walk in Mt Cook national park, and try to avoid the hottest part of the day. Bring water, and wear a hat, good walking shoes, and sunscreen.

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