Superyachts 35 metres - 70 metres

Recreational superyachts more than 35 metres to less than 70 metres are able to access all zones except for the Preservation Zone (pink zone) of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Some areas that experience high use or have high conservation values have additional management provisions that apply to vessels of this size. These areas are:

  • Offshore Cairns and Port Douglas (covered by the Cairns Planning Area)
  • Hinchinbrook
  • The Whitsundays

Cairns Planning Area

The Cairns Planning Area extends from the Ribbon Reefs in the north to the Frankland Islands in the south.

It includes all islands and reefs offshore from Port Douglas and Cairns and covers about six per cent of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The boundary of a ‘Location’ in this area is generally 500 metres from the reef edge.

  • Generally, a superyacht more than 35 metres to less than 70 metres in length must remain outside the Locations.
  • You can enter the Locations to anchor at one of the 87 Reef Anchorages, provided your group size (including crew) is within the group size set for that Location:
    • Low-use Location - maximum 15 people
    • Moderate-use Location - maximum 60 people
    • Intensive-use Location - no limit.
  • You are able to access designated anchorages, please make a booking.
  • You are able to anchor outside any Location and use your tender to access the Location, provided the group size in the tender is correct for that Location.
  • Please check the management arrangements for Sensitive Locations in the Cairns Planning Area.
  • Some specific recreational activities may have special rules. Please click on the links below for more information:

Please refer to the Cairns Area Plan of Management for more detailed information.

Hinchinbrook Planning Area

The Hinchinbrook Planning Area extends from Dunk Island in the north to Halifax Bay in the south. This represents less than one per cent of the Marine Park.

The boundary of a 'Location' in this area is generally 500 metres from the reef edge.

  • Generally, a superyacht 35 metres to less than 70 metres must remain outside the Locations.
  • You are able to access designated anchorages, please make a booking.
  • You are able to anchor outside a Location and use your tender to access the Location.
  • When using your vessel's tender please use the Hinchinbrook Planning Area voluntary transit lanes.
  • When accessing this area with your tender, please travel at less than:
    • 25 knots within transit lanes
    • 10 knots outside the transit lanes over seagrass beds
    • 10 knots when travelling near a large sea animal (for example, a dugong, dolphin or marine turtle).
  • You must operate your tender at less than six knots within 100 metres of Mound (Portaboi) Island or 200 metres of any other significant bird site. The significant bird sites are mainly in the Brook Islands Group with some further south and one to the east of Hinchinbrook Island.
  • Some specific recreational activities may have special rules. Please click on the links below for more information:

Please refer to the Hinchinbrook Plan of Management for more detailed information.

Whitsunday Planning Area

For information about superyacht use in the Whitsundays specifically you can view the printable Superyacht Guide to the Whitsundays or see further information below:

The Whitsunday Planning Area covers waters and islands from Cape Gloucester in the north to Repulse and Thomas Islands in the south.

In the Whitsunday Planning Area superyachts more than 35 metres to less than 70 metres are able to access:

  • setting 1 (intensive) areas
  • 21 superyacht anchorages in other settings with a booking (provided there are no more than 12 people other than master and crew)
  • 10 designated anchorages in other settings with a booking. Note: two superyachts less 70 metres can anchor in a designated anchorage.
  • Outside a setting and use your tender to access the adjacent setting area, provided the group size and tender length is consistent with setting requirements. (See Settings in the Whitsunday Planning Area)

Make sure you are also aware of the locations of no-anchoring areas and significant bird sites.

Some specific recreational activities may have special rules. Please click on the links below for more information:

Please refer to the Whitsundays Plan of Management or the Superyacht Guide to the Whitsundays for more detailed information.

Special management areas

Restricted Access Special Management Areas cannot be accessed except where permitted. These are located at:

Refer to the Zoning Plan for further details.

Maritime Cultural Heritage Protection Special Management Areas are highly significant sites and you may only access these areas with a permit. These areas are:

  • Catalina A24-24 (see zoning map MPZ10) located offshore from Bowen
  • Catalina A24-25 (see zoning map MPZ6) located offshore from Bramston Beach.

Special access requirements also apply at the Yongala historic shipwreck and other historic shipwreck sites. Visit historic shipwreck protected zones for more information.

Participation in ReefVTS

As your vessel has an overall length of 50 metres or greater you are required to participate in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service (REEFVTS). This service provides vessels with shipping traffic information, navigational assistance and maritime safety information to aid on-board decision making. Contact the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Maritime Safety Queensland for more details.