Cook's Look

  • Cook's Look
  • 359 m
  • Primary factor 359 m
  • Highest on Lizard Island
  • Location: South 14:39.986, East 145:27.824 (GPS on the summit)
  • Great Barrier Reef, NE Australia
  • Climbed June 24, 2003.


How to get there: Lizard Island is one hour (by Twin Otter airplane!) north of Cairns, a major city on the north-east coast of Australia. Cairns can be reached by air from Brisbane or Sydney further south.
Route description: From the island resort, hike along the road in the direction of the airfield. Just after the trail turns a bit right and emerges from the trees, a sign pointing to Chinamans Ridge branches of to your left. Take this trail and climb across the small ridge, descend on the other side. At the bottom the trail joins the Pandanus Swamp trail, take this left towards Watson's Bay. The trail runs on a bridge through mangrove plants, they look hard to penetrate otherwise. Before reaching the beach, the trail crosses a small bridge, at the other side the trail forks. Straight ahead is to the ruin of Watson's stone hut, the smaller trail forking right leads to the far end of the beach, this is the trail to the mountain. At the far end, the trail climbs the hill, first gaining the main ridge, then following this to the summit. The trail is well marked and easy to follow all the way.
Comments: I made this hike with my family, Heidi and Pål Jørgen. It took us about one hour from the Lizard Island Resort. Unfortunately, the weather was partly cloudy with some haze. We had a great view but the outer reef was hard to see in any detail. I did the climb again a couple of days later with more favorable weather and a better view of the surf on the outer reef. Walking fast, it took me 30 minutes from the Watson Beach.
My GPS indicated an elevation of 369 meter, 10 meter too high, this is a bit more of a deviation than observed in other locations.

From the Journal of Captain James Cook, Monday 12 August 1770:

..."I came to a resolution to visit one of the high Islands in the offing in my Boat, as they lay 5 Leagues out to sea and seemed to be of such a hieght that from the top of one of them I hoped to see and find a Passage out to sea clear of the shoals"... " "I immediatly went upon the highest hill on the Island where to my mortification I discovered a Reef of Rocks laying about 2 or 3 leagues without the Island, extending in a line NW and SE farther than I could see on which the sea broke very high. This however gave me great hopes that they were the outermost shoals, as I did not doubt but what I should be able to get without them for there appear'd to be several breaks or Partitions in the reef and deep water between it and the Islands"... "The only Land-animals we saw here were Lizards and these seem'd to be pretty plenty which occasioned my nameing the Island Lizard Island"...