Super-yachts less than or equal to 35 metres
Super-yachts less than or equal to 35 metres and not being used commercially are able to access most of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Some areas that experience high use or have high conservation values have additional management arrangements. These areas are:
- Offshore Cairns and Port Douglas (covered by the Cairns Planning Area)
- The Whitsundays
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.
- You can enter the Locations provided your group size (including crew) is within the following limits set for each Location:
- Low-Use Location - 15 people
- Moderate-Use Location - 60 people
- Intensive-Use Location - no limit
- Some Locations in the Cairns Area have been identified as having special values and are defined as Sensitive Locations. There are special requirements when accessing these Locations.
Hinchinbrook 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.
- Please use the Hinchinbrook transit lanes
- If your vessel is more than 20 metres in length, you must not operate the vessel in the Missionary Bay Location unless you are using the transit lanes
- If your vessel is equal to 35 metres in length additional rules apply
- 25 knots within transit lanes
- 10 knots (less than planing) outside the transit lanes over seagrass beds
- 10 knots when travelling near a large sea animal (for example, a dugong, dolphin or marine turtle)
- You must operate your tender at less than six knots within 100 metres of Mound (Portaboi) Island or 200 metres of any other significant bird site. The significant bird sites are mainly in the Brook Islands Group with some further south and one to the east of Hinchinbrook Island.
Please refer to the Hinchinbrook Plan of Management for more information.
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 all areas provided that your group size (including crew) and vessel length is correct for that area (see links below)
- Some additional rules apply in Setting 5 areas that limit vessel size to 20 metres
- You must operate your tender at less than six knots when within 200 metres of a significant bird site
- You must observe the seasonal and year round closures of significant bird sites (see the section titled Protecting Birds in the Whitsundays Plan of Management Guide).
Please refer to the Whitsundays Plan of Management Guide for more information.
Other special management areas
You may not access the following Restricted Access Special Management Areas:
- Raine Island (see zoning map MPZ2)
- Moulter Cay (see zoning map MPZ1)
- MacLennan Cay (see zoning map MPZ1)
- The area adjacent to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Bowling Green Bay (see zoning map MPZ8)
- One Tree Island (see zoning map MPZ17)
Refer to the Zoning Plan for further details.
If you're heading out on the water, don't forget your free Zoning Map so you know where you can go and what you can do.
The Great Barrier Reef is a hive of activity. If you're lucky enough to see a humpback whale from May to September, make sure you keep a safe distance.
We're delighted to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park's World Heritage listing.
Visit our Great Barrier Reef and discover its amazing plants, animals and habitats. There are a range of tourism experiences on offer.
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.