Far North

The area from the tip of Cape York to just north of Lizard Island is the most biologically diverse region of the Marine Park. It is a remote natural area valued for its natural and undeveloped character.

When operating in the region there are some key arrangements you should check.

Check zoning requirements

Zoning is one of the primary management tools for the Marine Park and it is important that you understand the zoning for the area you intend to visit. You are responsible for knowing all the zoning provisions for the location you wish to visit.

Look up the colour of the reef, island or bay you wish to visit on the zoning maps, then check the Activities Guide for what you can and can't do in the zone.

Information about the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park can be found on the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) website.

Check the Remote Natural Area

Almost all of the far north region is a 'Remote Natural Area'.

Image showing overlay of Remote Natural Area

The idea is it is to be kept as much as possible in its natural state, free from structures and permanently moored facilities. Motorised water sports are not allowed.

Check Special Management Areas

There are Special Management Areas (SMA) throughout the Marine Park. They apply specific management arrangements to an area to improve conservation of the area or to manage use. They provide an overlay to zoning and are generally marked on the zoning maps.

When you operate in the far north, you must be aware of the Restricted Access Special Management Areas for MacLennan Cay Reef (11-070), Moulter Cay Reef (11-130) and Raine Island Reef (11-243). You cannot enter the waters surrounding the island and cays unless:

  • you have a Marine Parks permit from the GBRMPA and QPWS specifically allowing that access; or
  • you are accessing the island or cay and you have a QPWS permit to access that island or cay.

Read more about the site management arrangements for the Raine Island, Moulter Cay and MacLennan Cay. 

Check designated Shipping Areas

If you conduct a cruise ship operation, check the designated Shipping Areas. They are an overlay to zoning and allow the navigation of ships through zones where they would otherwise not be permitted. You can locate the Shipping Area boundaries on the zoning maps. This region is a compulsory pilotage area for cruise ships.

Check your permit

You must have a permit to operate in the Marine Park. Read your permit carefully for additional conditions about operating in the region.

Check Island National Parks

There are many island National Parks along the far north coast. There may be booking and permit requirements to visit these islands, please contact your nearest QPWS office.

Check Responsible Reef Practices

For each of the activities you undertake, consider how you and your clients can adopt responsible reef practices and further help protect the Reef.

Where can I get more information?

GBRMPA and QPWS can help you with any questions you may have.

Download Guide

Activities Guide An introduction to zoning in the Great Barrier Reef - 99.4 kb

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