Cairns Area Plan of Management

Image of sea, Cairns, Australia. Image credit Johann Legaye

Cairns Planning Area

There are beautiful coral cays, islands and spectacular outer edge reefs offshore from Cairns, Port Douglas and Cooktown. The reefs and islands support a range of wildlife including dwarf minke whales, seabirds and green turtles.

What is the Cairns Area Plan of Management?

The Cairns Area Plan of Management 2008 (the Plan) helps protect and conserve the values of the Cairns Planning Area while allowing for a range of experiences and uses.

The Plan applies to everyone and complements Zoning (and other management strategies) by addressing area specific issues.

A range of management tools are used so visitors can enjoy their favourite marine activities while protecting the natural environment. Rules in the Plan relate to protecting wildlife, vessel length,  group  size, motorised water  sports, anchoring  and mooring, and other vessel/aircraft restrictions.

The Cairns Planning Area includes offshore Cairns and Port Douglas, the Ribbon Reefs and Lizard Island and is one of the most highly visited regions of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. View the Cairns Planning Area Map to see the full extent of the Planning Area.

To assist with understanding the boundaries of the Cairns Planning Area see the following maps:

What you need to know about the Cairns Area Plan of Management

It is important to be familiar with the different management tools used within the Marine Park as there are implications for non-compliance. Click on 'general access to the Cairns Planning Area' and the headings below to find out what rules apply.