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The most southern region of the Great Barrier Reef 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).

Site-specific management is required to protect the sensitive values and balance multiple uses at a localised level. It is important to consider the rules for these sites when planning your visit.

The sites listed below have either a Site Plan, Site Management Arrangement or a Special Management Area.

Before accessing the site information below, refer to the following information for the Management Area.

Commercial fishers

  • Commercial fishers should read the Special Management Areas (in addition to zoning) to ensure they are familiar with the following:
    • Species Conservation (Dugong Protection) Special Management Areas
    • No Dories Detached Special Management Areas; and
    • One Dory Detached Special Management Areas
  • For commercial vessels greater than 50 metres, refer to your permit and the Zoning Plan.

Moorings and anchorages

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.

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

Shoalwater Bay

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.


Spearfishing factsheet — information and map about where you are allowed to spearfish in the Keppels.

  • Fitzroy Reef Map
  • Use public moorings if available
  • No-anchoring area marked by reef protection markers
  • No Structures Area in the southern end of the no-anchoring area
  • Small Structures Area in the northern end of the no-anchoring area
  • Private moorings installed
  • Maximum of four permitted daily tourism operations. Application for further daily operations will require further site planning
  • Private moorings installed — a limit of 10 applies — application for further moorings will require site planning
  • Site Management Arrangements (2006)

  • Lady Elliot Island and Reef Map
  • Use public moorings if available
  • Vessels at least 70 metres can use the Designated Anchorage with a booking
  • No-anchoring area marked by reef protection markers
  • Two important marked dive and snorkeling sites (Anchor Bommie and Three Pyramids) are also no-anchoring sites
  • Private moorings installed. A limit of 16 applies. Application for further moorings will require site planning
  • Dive site markers installed. A limit of 15 applies. Application for further markers will require site planning
  • Site Management Arrangements (2007)

Boat parked up on an island - Great Barrier Reef  – Australia - © Tourism and Events Queensland
Updated 5 Jan 2024
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