Climbing up Lizard Island’s highest peak, Cook’s Look


I have just reached my second week of living and working on Lizard Island in Far North Queensland smack bang in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. One of the things I was really looking forward to doing when arriving on Lizard Island was to climb the highest peak on the island called Cook’s Look.


Cook’s Look is one of the major attractions on Lizard Island, the tough walk up to the summit starts from the far end of Watson’s Bay one of the main beaches on the island. The recommended time for reaching the summit is to allow for 2 – 3 hours return, but if you are a fast walker it can be achieved in less time.

The name Cook’s Look comes from Captain James Cook who landed on Lizard Island as a means of finding his way out of the Great Barrier Reef. Cook climbed the mountain to find safe passage out of the reef while his ship the Endeavour was being repaired at what we now call Cooktown. He was also the one who named the island Lizard Island, he noted that the only signs of life he could find on the island were the many lizards crawling around.

Once at the top of Cook’s Look you are able to experience 360 degree views of the entire island, but along the way you experience other impressive views and steep climbs. This walk is not for the faint hearted, it can be quite steep at times and you will appreciate wearing appropriate footwear, unlike me in my thongs which made the climb a bit more difficult.

For me the climb took approximately 1 hour 15 minutes and this included time to stop for a breath of air and take photos. Apparently there is a record for the shortest time it has taken someone to reach the top, I recall it being something along the lines of 18 minutes, and I won’t be trying to achieve that in a hurry.

One of the most impressive experiences while at the summit of Cook’s Look is to be there for the sunset, most sunsets on Lizard Island are impressive as you will see later on this blog, but even more stunning from this vantage point. I was fortunate to experience the sunset, but haven’t been able to bring myself to get up early enough to make the trek up in the dark to see the sunrise which would be just as impressive.

On my first trek to the summit I reached the top of Cook’s Look relatively early in the afternoon but decided once I was up there I would wait around for another 3 or so hours for the sunset. It was a decision I did not regret which has now inspired me to make time to experience the sunrise one morning.

Coming down the mountain was an interesting journey in itself when all the lights have gone out, luckily I came prepared with my torch so I could find the track, and without it I would have had no hope of getting back in one piece.

Just your average guy doing his 9 - 5 job as a Senior Payroll Officer by day, writing about his travel adventures and hopefully giving you inspiration and ideas for your next travel adventure here at loneXplorer...


  1. I really enjoyed climbing Cook’s Look too! I made the mistake of not taking enough water and really struggled on the trek down and back to the resort. I did find out one cool thing though: my Vibram toes shoes were perfect for this hike as they provided enough padding to protect my feet, enough “feel” to feel safe climbing and descending the rocky areas, and because they are ventilated I had no issues with blisters. This is definitely one location and hike I would love to repeat!

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