Guide to visiting the Cairns Area Plan of Management for recreational users
The area offshore from Cairns, Port Douglas and Cooktown is renowned for its beautiful coral cays and islands, and for the relatively close proximity of spectacular outer edge reefs. The reefs and islands support a range of wildlife including dugong, dwarf minke whales, seabirds and green turtles.
The Cairns Area is one of the most highly visited regions of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The Cairns Planning Area extends from the Ribbon Reefs in the north to the Frankland Islands in the south. It includes all offshore reefs and islands in the Cairns and Port Douglas area. Lizard Island is also part of the planning area.
Zoning applies to this area to help protect the animals, plants and habitats of the Cairns Area. In addition, the Cairns Area Plan of Management is in place to help manage human activities and minimise disturbance to the many unique plants and animals that live here.
A range of management tools are used in the Cairns Area so visitors can enjoy their favourite marine activities while protecting the natural environment. Rules relating to motorised water sports, anchoring, mooring and vessel/aircraft restrictions are in place to protect locations and species vulnerable to high levels of use.
Zoning is a way of ensuring that many different activities are able to co-exist in the Marine Park without conflict. This section answers your questions about zoning in the Cairns Area and provides useful zoning maps and activity guides for download.
Find out more about the variety of exciting recreational opportunities available in the Cairns Area, including boating, wildlife viewing, daytripping, fishing, spearfishing and camping on local islands.
Further information on islands managed by both the Queensland and Australian Governments is available here. Tips on how to look after our beautiful marine environment are also provided.
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.