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The ecological diversity and beauty of the Great Barrier Reef make it popular with locals and visitors.

Marine Park rules help protect the Great Barrier Reef and ensure it is used and enjoyed in an ecologically sustainable way.

Most rules apply throughout the Marine Park — like Marine Park zoning that outlines what you can do in each location — however there are some specifically related to popular areas, certain activities and sensitive locations.

Before you visit it is important to be familiar with the area you’re going to and the Marine Park rules that apply.

Known for pristine waters and isolated experiences, the Far Northern Management Area extends from the northern boundary of the Marine Park (at the tip of Cape York) to just south of the Howick Islands (north of Cooktown).

This area has lower recreational and tourism use than the southern areas and includes several iconic breeding and foraging grounds for a number of species. Raine Island is the world’s largest green turtle rookery and Princess Charlotte Bay is an important foraging habitat for dugong.

There are a number of layers of management in place to protect the unique values of the area.

Zoning

Before you head out on the water make sure you have a copy of the relevant zoning map and understand the zoning rules. Either pick up a free zoning map for the area you are visiting from your local bait and tackle shop or download the Eye on the Reef app.

Remote Natural Area

The Remote Natural Area covers most of the Far Northern Management Area with the exception of some small areas along the coastline (see map).

The Remote Natural Area maintains a natural and undeveloped character by ensuring the area remains largely unaltered by works or facilities, and provides opportunities for quiet appreciation and enjoyment.

Within the Remote Natural Area, motorised watersports (including high speed vessels), dumping of spoil, reclamation, beach protection works, harbour works, and the construction of structures other than vessel moorings and navigational aids are not allowed.

Site Specific Arrangements

There are site specific management arrangements in place throughout the Far Northern Management Area to protect sensitive values, and provide for a range of uses and visitor experiences. Visit Far Northern Management Area site specific arrangements.

Anchorages

There are designated anchorages in the Far Northern Management Area for cruise ships and large vessels which can be booked via bookings online.
 

Renowned for its beautiful coral cays and islands, and close proximity to spectacular outer edge reefs, the Cairns/Cooktown Management Area extends from south of the Howick Islands (north of Cooktown) through to south of Mission Beach.

The reefs and islands support a range of wildlife including dugong, dwarf minke whales, seabirds and green turtles.

As the Cairns/Cooktown section of the Marine Park attracts a large number of visitors and a variety of uses, there are a number of management layers to protect the region.

Zoning

Before you head out on the water make sure you have a copy of the relevant zoning map and understand the zoning rules. Either pick up a free zoning map for the area you are visiting from your local bait and tackle shop or download the Eye on the Reef app.

Cairns Area Plan of Management

The Cairns Area Plan of Management 1998 applies to all users and includes offshore Cairns and Port Douglas, the Ribbon Reefs and Lizard Island. It is in place to protect and conserve Marine Park values within an area of intensive use by managing activities in a way that minimises impacts.

Find out more about the Cairns Area Plan of Management.

Site Specific Arrangements

There are site specific management arrangements in place throughout the Cairns/Cooktown Management Area to protect sensitive values, and provide for a range of uses and visitor experiences. Visit Cairns/Cooktown Management Area site specific arrangements to learn more.

Moorings

Where moorings are available, please use these in the first instance to protect coral from anchor damage. See Moorings to learn more about responsibly accessing and using moorings and the locations no-anchoring areas or go straight to the public moorings and no-anchoring areas for Lizard Island to Innisfail.

Anchorages

The Designated Anchorages map shows the location of the anchorages within the Cairns/Cooktown Management Area and the Cairns Area Plan of Management has information on Reef Anchorages within the Planning Area.

Home to some of the Great Barrier Reef’s most iconic destinations — including the ruggedly beautiful Hinchinbrook Island and the iconic Whitsundays — the Townsville/Whitsundays area extends from Mission Beach down to Midge Point (south of Proserpine).

Use of the area is diverse. Due to a high level of use and the range of values of the area, there are a number of layers of management in place.

Zoning

Before you head out on the water make sure you have a copy of the relevant zoning map and understand the zoning rules.  

Either pick up a free zoning map for the area you are visiting from your local bait and tackle shop or download the Eye on the Reef app.

Hinchinbrook Plan of Management

The Hinchinbrook Plan of Management 2004 applies to all users. It provides for long-term sustainable use by managing certain activities, ensuring sensitive areas are protected and protecting the outstanding values of this world famous area.

The Hinchinbrook Planning Area contains an array of habitats that support dugong, turtles, dolphins and seabirds. Find out more about the Hinchinbrook Plan of Management.

Whitsundays Plan of Management

The Whitsundays is one of the Great Barrier Reef’s most highly visited regions, with the greatest concentration of activity.

The Whitsundays Plan of Management 1998 applies to all users. It is a key management tool that helps protect and conserve the Whitsunday Planning Area while allowing for a range of experiences and use. Find out more about the Whitsundays Plan of Management.

Site Specific Arrangements

There are site specific management arrangements in place throughout the Townsville/Whitsundays Management Area to protect sensitive values, and provide for a range of uses and visitor experiences. Visit Townsville/Whitsundays Management Area site specific arrangements to learn more.

Moorings

Where moorings are available, please use these in the first instance to protect coral from anchor damage. See Moorings to learn more about responsibly accessing and using moorings and the locations of no-anchoring areas or go straight to the public moorings and no-anchoring areas for Mission Beach to Townsville and the Whitsundays.

Anchorages

See the Designated Anchorages map for the location of the anchorages within the Townsville/Whitsundays Management Area, however if you are visiting the Whitsundays Planning Area, see the overview map for the current locations of Designated and Superyacht Anchorages.

 

The most southern region includes a number of important habitats and popular destinations including the Keppels, Shoalwater Bay, Capricorn Bunkers and Lady Elliot Island.

The region is known for its fringing coral reefs, dugong, turtles, migrating whales and seabirds.

The Mackay/Capricorn Management Area extends from Midge Point (south of Proserpine) to the southern boundary of the Marine Mark (north of Bundaberg).

Zoning

Before you head out on the water make sure you have a copy of the relevant zoning map and understand the zoning rules.

Either pick up a free  zoning map for the area you are visiting from your local bait and tackle shop or download the Eye on the Reef app.

Shoalwater Bay (Dugong) Plan of Management

The Shoalwater Bay (Dugong) Plan of Management 1997 aims to manage activities in the bay that threaten the dugong population or impact on the seagrass meadows. Find out more about the Shoalwater Bay (Dugong) Plan of Management.

Site Specific Arrangements

There are site specific arrangements in place throughout the Mackay/Capricorn Management Area to protect sensitive values, and provide for a range of uses and visitor experiences. Visit Mackay/Capricorn Management Area site specific arrangements to learn more.

Moorings

Where moorings are available, please use these in the first instance to protect coral from anchor damage. See Moorings to learn more about responsibly accessing and using moorings and the locations of no-anchoring areas or go straight to the public moorings and no-anchoring areas for the Keppel Islands and the Capricorn Bunker Group and coast.

Anchorages

There are Designated Anchorages in the Mackay/Capricorn Management Area for cruise ships and large vessels which can be booked via bookings online.
 

Reef Ranger on the Great Barrier Reef – Australia - © QPWS - Photographer: Victor Huertas
Created Sun, 2022-08-21 19:24
Updated 21 Aug 2022
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