Whitsundays Planning Area

Whitsunday Planning Area

The Whitsunday Planning Area (the Planning Area) includes the marine area around the Whitsunday Island Group and the offshore Hardy Reef Unit within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (see map). The Planning Area is geographically described in Schedule 1 of the Whitsundays Plan of Management 1998. This area represents about 1 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

There are special management arrangements in place to protect the values of the Planning Area and support a diverse tourism industry.

Can I operate in the Whitsunday Planning Area?

Your permit will tell you if you can operate in the Planning Area. If you are able to operate there:

  • check the permit for any conditions of operation
  • check whether you are required to make a booking to operate in the Planning Area
  • check for additional endorsements.

If you are not permitted to operate in the Planning Area but wish to, there is a range of permits available and you can apply through Permits Online.

Please note: The permit holder must comply with the enforcement provisions contained in Part 2 of the Whitsundays Plan of Management 1998 unless written endorsement to the contrary appears in the permit.

Are there special requirements?

Within the Planning Area, settings have been assigned to each reef, bay and coastal area. Settings define the size of the group that can visit the area and the overall vessel length.

Depending on your style of operation, you may need to be aware of some special rules for the activities of anchoring and mooring, motorised water sports and whale watching in the Planning Area.

For significant bird sites there are specific requirements about how frequently you may access the site and the activities you undertake. Where nesting species are most easily disturbed by noise, a ‘boat-free zone’ and ‘go-slow zone’ applies during a stated period.

To help you plan your visit to the popular Blue Pearl Bay (Hayman Island), Bauer Bay (South Molle Island) and Tongue Bay/Hill Inlet/Whitehaven Beach (Whitsunday Island) you can view the site management arrangements on this website.

Download Maps