Cruise Ship Anchorages

Please note: The Whitsundays Plan of Management has been amended. Some of the information below may have changed. Please refer to the Whitsundays Plan of Management for further information.

There is a comprehensive network of 31 cruise ship anchorages along the length of the Great Barrier Reef. They are designed to offer your operation a range of opportunities in the Marine Park.

More anchorages can be added to the network if requested, after an assessment funded by the applicant. Assessment involves a thorough consideration of safety and environmental issues by the GBRMPA, based on advice from Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Queensland Parks and Wildlife, Queensland Department of Transport, Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Service and reef pilots.

If you wish to anchor somewhere other than these anchorages at a site that is not in a Shipping Area or the General Use (light blue) Zone, you should include your request with your permit application. Please provide supporting documentation about the proposed anchorage and its features.

Download the map

Cruise Ship Anchorages and Cruise Ship Transit Areas in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Detail of Cruise Ship Transit Areas Map A

Detail of Cruise Ship Transit Areas Map B

Detail of Cruise Ship Transit Areas Map C

Detail of Cruise Ship Transit Areas Map D

The exact locations of each anchorage can be found by clicking on the relevant region below. All geographic coordinates are expressed in terms of the Geocentric Datum of Australia, 1994.

Far North

There are 11 anchorages in the far north of the Marine Park. This is a remote area with no port facilities or support infrastructure. The anchorages cater for cruise ships that are 70-120 metres in length, carry 120-150 passengers and are able to provide their own tourism activities.

Cooktown and Cairns

There are seven anchorages in the Cairns Planning Area. Cruise ships can operate up to 50 days a year within the Cairns Planning Area with a booking.

Dunk Island

There is one anchorage to the east of Dunk Island. This anchorage is outside the Hinchinbrook Planning Area.

Hinchinbrook

There are two anchorages in the Hinchinbrook Planning Area. Cruise ships can operate up to 50 days a year within the Hinchinbrook Planning Area with a booking.

Whitsundays

There are eight anchorages in the Whitsunday Planning Area. Cruise ships can operate up to 50 days a year within the Whitsunday Planning area with a booking. Fitzalan Passage caters for cruise ships that are less than 200 metres in length. The prior approval of the Mackay Regional Harbour Master must be obtained before accessing this anchorage

Rockhampton

There are three anchorages off Rockhampton.

Far North

1. Boydong Cays South-easterly wind anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 11º 28.60' S, 143º 00.79' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 11º 28.49' S, 143º 00.90' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 11º 28.64' S, 143º 01.06' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 11º 28.76' S, 143º 00.94' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

2. Piper Islands South-easterly wind anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 12º 14.20' S, 143º 13.25' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 12º 14.09' S, 143º 13.36' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 12º 14.24' S, 143º 13.52' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 12º 14.36' S, 143º 13.40' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

3. Piper Islands North-westerly wind anchorage (weather alternative)

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 12º 14.96' S, 143º 12.84' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 12º 14.84' S, 143º 12.96' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 12º 15.00' S, 143º 13.11' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 12º 15.11' S, 143º 13.00' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

4. Night Island South-easterly wind anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 13° 10.27' S, 143° 33.98' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 13° 10.16' S, 143° 34.10' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 13° 10.31' S 143° 34.25' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 13° 10.42' S, 143° 34.14' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

5. Morris Island South-easterly wind anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 13º 29.30' S, 143º 42.89' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 13º 29.19' S, 143º 43.00' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 13º 29.34' S, 143º 43.16' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 13º 29.46' S, 143º 43.04' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

6. Creech Reef South-easterly wind anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 13º 37.36' S, 144º 04.64' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 13º 37.24' S, 144º 04.75' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 13º 37.40' S, 144º 04.90' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 13º 37.51' S, 144º 04.79' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

7. Pipon Island South-easterly wind anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 14º 06.80' S, 144º 30.19' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 14º 06.69' S, 144º 30.30' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 14º 06.84' S, 144º 30.46' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 14º 06.96' S, 144º 30.34' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

8. Flinders Island Group Wongal Beach anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 14º 08.30' S, 144º 14.99' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 14º 08.19' S, 144º 15.10' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 14º 08.34' S, 144º 15.26' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 14º 08.46' S, 144º 15.14' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

9. Flinders Island Group Stokes Bay anchorage (weather alternative)

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 14º 09.01' S, 144º 12.89' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 14º 08.89' S, 144º 13.00' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 14º 09.05' S, 144º 13.15' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 14º 09.16' S, 144º 13.04' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

10. Bathurst Bay/Cape Melville South-easterly wind anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 14º 10.70' S, 144º 25.89' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 14º 10.59' S, 144º 26.00' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 14º 10.74' S, 144º 26.16' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 14º 10.86' S, 144º 26.04' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

11. Ingram Island South-easterly wind anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 14º 24.50' S, 144º 52.29' E and running progressively:

  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 14º 24.39' S, 144º 52.40' E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 14º 24.54' S, 144º 52.56' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 14º 24.66' S, 144º 52.44' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

Cooktown and Cairns

12. Lizard Island (Locality 2 or 3)

Lizard Island Localities 2 and 3 are combined as one cruise ship anchorage. Only one ship at a time is allowed.

The area (other than areas of drying reef) bounded by a notional line commencing at the intersection of the Lizard Island coastline at mean low water and the parallel 14º 40.136' S (at or about 14º 40.136' S, 145º 26.677' E) then running progressively:

  • North westerly along the geodesic to 14º 39.710' S, 145º 26.264' E
  • North easterly along the geodesic to the intersection of the Lizard Island coastline at mean low water and the parallel 14º 39.185' S (at or about 14º 39.185' S, 145º 27.041' E)
  • Southerly along the Lizard Island coastline at mean low water to the point of commencement

13. Ribbon Reef No.5 Location

The area enclosed within the 500 metre line around Ribbon Reef No.5 (15-038).

14. Ribbon Reef No.2 Location

The area enclosed within the 500 metre line around Ribbon Reef No.2 (15-075).

15. Agincourt Reef Cruise Ship Anchorage

At the point 15° 57.252'S, 145° 47.571' E.

16. Norman Reef South-easterly Wind Cruise Ship Anchorage

At the point 16° 24.828'S, 145° 58.779' E.

17. Norman Reef North-westerly Wind Cruise Ship Anchorage

At the point 16° 26.654'S, 146° 00.696' E.

18. Moore Reef Cruise Ship Anchorage

At the point 16° 50.984'S, 146° 10.601' E.

Dunk Island 

19.Dunk Island Cruise Ship Anchorage:

Within a 200 metre radius around the point 17° 56.00'S, 146° 07.50' E.

Hinchinbrook

20. Cape Richards Cruise Ship Anchorage:

Within a 250 metre radius around the point 18° 11.70'S, 146° 12.70' E.

21. Hecate Point Cruise Ship Anchorage:

Within a 500 metre radius around the point 18° 14.00'S, 146° 3.50'E.

Whitsundays

22. Hardy Reef Cruise Ship Anchorage

The point within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park at or about 19° 44.45´ S, 149° 08.40´ E, being approximately 1.10 nautical miles due west of the beacon depicted as No. 2 on Hydrographic Chart AUS254.

23. South Hayman Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 20° 04.20´ S, 148° 53.40´ E and running progressively:

  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 20° 04.70´ S, 148° 53.20´ E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to 20° 04.28´ S, 148° 52.27´ E
  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 20° 03.90´ S, 148° 52.51´ E
  • South-easterly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

24. Funnel Bay Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 20° 13.20´ S, 148° 44.75´ E and running progressively:

  • South along the meridian to 20° 14.60´ S, 148° 44.75´ E
  • West along the parallel to 20° 14.60´ S, 148° 43.00´ E
  • North along the meridian to 20° 13.20´ S, 148° 43.00´ E
  • East along the parallel to the point of commencement.

25. Cid Harbour Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 20° 14.30´ S, 148° 56.00´ E and running progressively:

  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 20° 15.00´ S, 148° 56.20´ E
  • South along the meridian to 20° 15.70´ S, 148° 56.20´ E
  • West along the parallel to 20° 15.70´ S, 148° 55.80´ E
  • North-easterly along the geodesic to 20° 14.30´ S, 148° 55.20´ E
  • East along the parallel to the point of commencement.

26. Port Molle Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 20° 19.00´ S, 148° 50.10´ E and running progressively:

  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 20° 19.80´ S, 148° 50.60´ E
  • West along the parallel to 20° 19.80´ S, 148° 50.00´ E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to 20° 19.00´ S, 148° 49.50´ E
  • East along the parallel to the point of commencement.

27. Fitzalan Passage Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 20º 18.89' S, 148º 56.52' E and running progressively:

  • South-easterly along the geodesic to 20º 19.31' S, 148º 56.80' E
  • South-westerly along the geodesic to 20º 19.50' S, 148º 56.47' E
  • North-westerly along the geodesic to 20º 19.09' S, 148º 56.19' E
  • North-easterly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

28. Turtle Bay Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park bounded by a notional line beginning at 20° 19.50´ S, 149° 01.00´ E and running progressively:

  • South along the meridian to 20° 20.00´ S, 149° 01.00´ E
  • West along the parallel to 20° 20.00´ S, 148° 59.50´ E
  • North along the meridian to 20° 19.50´ S, 148° 59.50´ E
  • East along the parallel to the point of commencement.

29. South East Hamilton Cruise Ship Anchorage

The point within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park at or about 20° 22.10´ S, 148° 59.25´ E.

Rockhampton

30. In the vicinity of Great Keppel Island

The area enclosed within the coastal 1000 metre line of Great Keppel Island.

31. In the vicinity of Wistari Reef

The area enclosed within the 1000 metre line of Wistari Reef.

32. In the vicinity of Lady Elliot Island

The area enclosed within the coastal 1000 metre line of Lady Elliot Island.

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