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Onboard - Tourism Operator's Handbook for the Great Barrier Reef

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 (see map). This Area represents about 1% of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

So that the area can remain a spectacular natural destination supporting a diverse tourism industry, there are special management arrangements in place.

Can I operate in the Whitsunday Planning Area?

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

If you are not permitted to operate in the Whitsunday Planning Area but wish to, there is a range of permits available.

Are there special requirements?

Within the Whitsunday Planning Area, the overall setting of an area is managed by defining the size of group that can visit the area and the vessel length.

For Significant Bird Sites there are specific requirements about how frequently you may access the site and the activities you undertake.

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 Whitsunday Planning Area.

To help you plan your visits 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 the GBRMPA website (see Related Links near top right of page).

© Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority