Plan ahead for visiting the Great Barrier Reef over Easter

Published: 03/04/2012

Easter holidays are a great time to visit one of the Great Barrier Reef's national park islands and some careful planning will help ensure an enjoyable trip.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Field Management Acting Director Richard Quincey said camping on these islands provided easy access to some great fishing spots and people should plan ahead and pick up a camping permit and a free Zoning Map.

"Visitors to these parks should be mindful of the zoning rules and what they can and can't do out on the water," he said.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Regional Manager Damien Head said it was important visitors obtained a camping permit prior to visiting an island.

"Some national park islands in the Great Barrier Reef become busy over school holiday periods so it is essential you secure your campsite by booking ahead and always purchasing the appropriate permits," he said.

Some tips for visitors to ensure they have an enjoyable Easter in the Great Barrier Reef:

•    Before leaving check what facilities are available at the campsite and what you are allowed to bring, and book boat transfers to and from the island with the local operator.
•    If you're going fishing or boating grab a free Zoning Map to find out where you can go and what you can do.
•    On most national park islands, including popular islands in the Whitsundays, generators and compressors are not allowed.
•    Keep your pets at home. No pets are allowed on national park islands or adjoining beaches and tidal lands.
•    Never collect firewood or kindling from the park. Even dead branches are protected.
•    It is prohibited to feed native animals. Allow animals to find their own food – do not leave food scraps around your campsite.

The islands are not just great camping spots; they are the home of native animals. By taking the extra step, visitors can protect their home for the future.

•    Remove dirt, seeds, insects and vermin from camping gear before visiting the islands.
•    Avoid using strong lights making loud noises or moving suddenly near nesting seabirds.
•    Take all rubbish (such as food scraps, cigarette butts, plastic and paper) back to the mainland and dispose of it properly.
•    Stay on marked trails, do not trample vegetation or break branches from trees and shrubs.
•    If out on the water remember to "go slow for those below" and keep a look out for dugongs and turtles.

Go to the Zoning page for more information or call 1800 990 177.

For camping permits, phone 1300 130 372 or visit www.derm.qld.gov.au.

To report sick and injured animals, phone 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 47500846