Superyachts more than 35 metres to less than 70 metres
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.
What does my permit allow?
The Marine Park is divided into zones that are described in the Zoning Plan. Generally, your permit will allow:
- Access for your super-yacht to the General Use (light blue) Zone and Shipping Areas. These areas are shown on zoning maps
- Ability to access other zones, except Preservation (pink) Zones, when transiting to and from or anchoring at a cruise ship anchorage. There is a comprehensive network of cruise ship anchorages throughout the Marine Park which you are able to access
- Ability to access other zones, except Preservation (pink) Zones, within the Planning Areas
- Operation always beyond 500 metres of a reef or coastline except when transiting to and from or anchoring at a cruise ship anchorage.
Generally, your tender will be able to access all of the following zones:
- General Use (light blue) Zone
- Habitat Protection (dark blue) Zone
- Conservation Park (yellow) Zone
- Buffer (olive green) Zone
- Marine National Park (green) Zone
Some areas that experience high use or have high conservation values have additional management provisions. These areas are:
- Offshore Cairns and Port Douglas (covered by the Cairns Planning Area)
- The Whitsundays
See Download Map for a map of the Great Barrier Reef boundaries and the Planning Areas.
Outside the Planning Areas, you may only visit a location (generally a reef, island or bay) for two days in any seven-day period. To help conserve and protect some important locations, and to provide a range of opportunities for private recreational users, there are some locations that you may not be permitted to visit. These areas will be listed as exclusions on your permit.
There is a comprehensive network of cruise ship anchorages, which you are able to access.
Please make sure you know your permit conditions, including any areas that you are not permitted to visit, especially because of your vessel size.
Accessing the Planning Areas
Generally, when you access the Planning Areas:
- You are able to access each Planning Area for up to 50 days per year with a booking:
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 super-yacht 35 to 70 metres in length must remain outside the Locations (see Related Links)
- 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 (see Related Links). You can find the exact location of these anchorages in Schedule 8 of the Cairns Area Plan of Management document.
- You are able to access cruise ship anchorages. Please make a booking
- You are generally able to anchor outside any Location and use your tender to access the Location, provided that the group size in the tender is correct for that Location (see Related Links). When accessing the Low Island Locality and Green Island Reef Localities 1, 2 and 3 your tender may only be used to transfer passengers to resorts, other vessels or reef pontoons
- Please check the management arrangements for Sensitive Locations in the Cairns 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 super-yacht must remain outside the Locations (see Related Links)
- You are able to access cruise ship anchorages. Please make a booking
- When using your vessel's tender:
- You may only transport passengers between the vessel and an island, the mainland, a tourist facility in the Planning Area (for example a jetty) or somewhere outside the Planning Area. Local tourism operators are available to conduct any additional tourist activities
- Please check the anchoring and mooring arrangements for the Hinchinbrook Planning Area
- Please use the voluntary transit lanes in the Hinchinbrook Planning Area
Whitsunday Planning Area
The Whitsunday Planning Area covers waters and islands from Cape Gloucester in the north to Repulse and Thomas Islands in the south. This Area represents about one per cent of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The boundary of a Setting in this Area is generally 1500 metres from the reef edge.
- You are able to access a Setting 1 area, subject to any permit requirements
- Generally, a super-yacht must remain outside the other Setting areas (see Related Links)
- Generally, you are able to anchor outside a Setting area and use your tender to access the area, provided that the group size in the tender is correct for that area, and subject to any permit requirements
- You are able to access cruise ship anchorages in other Setting areas. Please make a booking with the GBRMPA’s Tourism and Recreation Group
- Please check the arrangements for significant bird sites in the Whitsunday Planning Area
- You must observe the seasonal and year round closures of significant bird sites.
Other special management areas
You may not access the following Restricted Access Special Management Areas:
- Raine Island (see Far Northern Special Management Arrangements)
- Moulter Cay (see Far Northern Special Management Arrangements)
- Maclennan Cay (see Far Northern Special Management Arrangements)
- The area adjacent to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Bowling Green Bay (see Townsville Region Special Management Arrangements)
- One Tree Island (see Capricorn Coast Special Management Arrangements)
Refer to the Zoning Plan for further details.
Can I use my tender for tourism activities?
You can generally use your tender for additional tourist activities such as snorkelling and SCUBA diving if these activities are listed on your permit. Such a permit will also allow tender access to the other zones of Habitat Protection (dark blue), Conservation Park (yellow), Buffer (olive green), Marine National Park (green) and Scientific Research Zone (orange) within Setting Areas. Your tender must remain within three nautical miles of your super-yacht while conducting these additional activities. You must ensure that the group size on your tender is within the group size provided for at the location (refer to the specific Planning Areas above).
When operating in the Hinchinbrook Planning Areas, or at the Low Island Locality and Green Island Reef Localities 1, 2 and 3 of the Cairns Planning Area, tenders may only be used to transfer passengers to resorts, other vessels or reef pontoons.
Are there special rules for some activities?
For some of the activities that you are likely to conduct on your tour or charter, there are some special management arrangements. Please take the time to learn about these for
If you use helicopters or semi-submersibles please check your permit for any conditions.
What if I use a mooring?
If you are planning to undertake tours that include the use of a permitted private mooring, there are some important mooring requirements that you should understand.
Do I need to participate in the ReefVTS?
If your vessel has an overall length of 50 metres or greater you are required to participate in the Coastal 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.
If you're heading out on the water, download and use the free zoning app so you know where you can go and what you can do.
We're delighted to celebrate the 40 years of the managing the Great Barrier Reef.
Visit our Great Barrier Reef and discover its amazing animals, plants, and habitats.
Everyone has a role to play in protecting our Great Barrier Reef. Find out what you can do to help protect this great Australian icon.
If you see sick, dead or stranded marine animals please call RSPCA QLD 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
A Vulnerability Assessment: of the issues that could have far-reaching consequences for the Great Barrier Reef.
Current Conditions: Environmental and climatic forecasts for the Great Barrier Reef