93km north east of Cooktown lie the magnificent Lizard Island group declared a national park in 1939 with the surrounding islands given the same status in 1987. Lizard Island itself rises some 359m above sea level. The islands and surrounding waters are all part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. They are both protected areas.
The Australian Museum established a research station here in 1973, a resort followed soon after in 1975 and today tourism is a major focus of activity on the island and in the surrounding waters and coral reefs.
Access to the islands is by private boat or air. A safe anchorage for private boats is available. Flights are from Cairns and Cooktown, private aircraft may only land with permission from the resort on the island. Private charter boats are available from Cairns, Port Douglas or Cooktown.