Group size limits in the Cairns Planning Area

To help maintain a diversity of experience for visitors to the area, every Location and Locality within the Cairns Planning Area has a maximum group size limit. This reflects the appropriate intensity of use for that Location.

Group size limits refer to the total number of people on board your vessel or aircraft, including crew and excluding children under four years of age.

A Location is generally the area within the 500 metre line of the edge of a reef and a Locality is a specified area around an island, bay, reef or cay.

What is the group size limit?

Before accessing a Location or Locality in the Cairns Planning Area check the setting maps (see Download maps) to ensure that the number of people in your group is within the nominated group size for that destination.

Group Size Can I access a Low Use Location? Can I access a Moderate Use Location? Can I access a Intensive Use Location?
15 people or less Yes Yes Yes
16-60 people No Yes Yes
Above 60 people No No Yes

Can I visit with larger groups?

You may access a Location with a larger group if:

  • you hold an individual exemption from the limit (check your permit for any endorsements or letters of authorisation);
  • your vessel or aircraft is in transit through the Location by the most direct route;
  • your vessel or aircraft operates to a permitted pontoon or a mooring at a pontoon site (other than at Low Island Locality);
  • you are taking a vessel into Blue Lagoon at Lizard Island, for protection against a northerly wind only;
  • you are mooring a vessel at Hastings Reef Locality 2;
  • you are providing charters to traditional inhabitants conducting non-commercial traditional activities other than hunting and collecting.

In addition, you may access the following Locations above the group size limit provided that your vessel is carrying no more than 100 people.

Mooring access Anchoring access to Reef anchorages Anchoring access* outside a reef anchorage at Locations for large vessels (35-70 metres)
Anderson Reef (15-090)
Breaking Patches Reef (16-042)
Channel Reef (16-075)
Escape Reef (15-094)
Flynn Reef (16-065)
Moore Reef Locality 2
Opal Reef (16-025)
Oyster Reef (16-043)
Pellowe Reef (16-070)
Ribbon Reef No 9 (14-154)
Ribbon Reef No 3 (15-150)
Saxon Reef (16-032)
Thetford Reef (16-068)
Unnamed Reef (14-153)
Unnamed Reef (16-011)
Unnamed Reef (16-016)
Unnamed Reef (16-018a)
Unnamed Reef (16-018b)
Upolu Cay Reef (16-046)
Moore Reef Locality 2
Ribbon Reef No 9 (14-154)
Ribbon Reef No 3 (15-150)
Thetford Reef (16-068)
Lizard Island Locality 4
Moore Reef Locality 2
Rachel Carson Reef# (15-092)
Ribbon Reef No 9 (14-154)
Ribbon Reef No 3 (15-150)
Thetford Reef (16-068)
Unnamed Reef (14-153)

* Only when seeking protection for a wind blowing generally from the north and as long as you are anchoring in accordance with an anchoring strategy approved by the GBRMPA.

# The group size limit of 100 people does not apply to Rachel Carson Reef, as it is an Intensive Use Location

 

Download Maps

Cairns Area Group Size and Sensitive Locations Map (Top) - 978.2 kb

Cairns Area Group Size and Sensitive Locations Map (Middle) - 1014.5 kb

Cairns Area Group Size and Sensitive Locations Map (Bottom) - 993.0 kb

 
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