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Great Barrier Reef islands

You can camp on several islands in the Great Barrier Reef. Most are national parks and part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Seasonal closures apply to some islands and some activities are restricted or not allowed.

The islands are fragile and easily damaged by careless visitors. They are also a refuge for marine wildlife.

Protect the islands and reefs when you visit.

  • Check the zoning information for restrictions on fishing and collecting shells. Spearfishing using scuba gear and collecting coral are prohibited.
  • Anchor in sand or mud to avoid coral damage. Preferably use a lightweight reef pick with plastic tubing over the anchor chain to protect the coral.
  • Protect the wildlife. Leave your pets at home.
  • Never get too close to nesting seabirds. If disturbed, seabirds leave their nests and their chicks can die of exposure or be taken by predators.
  • Stay on any walking tracks. You can injure yourself if you collapse a shearwater's nesting tunnel. You can also trap the baby bird. Please dig out the tunnel so the chick can escape.
  • Be very careful using lights on beaches during turtle breeding season (November to March). Use only fuel stoves for cooking. Fires can attract and kill turtle hatchlings.
  • If you go reef walking, disturb the animals as little as possible. Always replace any overturned rocks and don't touch any reef animals.
  • Feed yourself, not the seagulls! Seagull numbers are increasing on many reef islands and threaten the survival of other birds.
  • Use a fuel stove. Open fires are rarely allowed. Collect no firewood.
  • Don't throw it, stow it. Dumping plastic and other rubbish at sea is illegal and can harm or even kill aquatic animals and seabirds. Take all your rubbish back to the mainland.
  • If there are no toilets, bury human waste below high tide level. Never bury rubbish.

Protect yourself when you visit.

  • Be self-sufficient. Few islands have water or facilities. Take everything you need. Allow five litres of water a day for each person in your group.
  • Take extra supplies in case you get stranded by sudden changes in the weather.
  • Be aware of tidal variations and strong currents. Anchor boats securely.
  • Carry a marine band radio transceiver. Most sites are out of range for mobile phones.
  • Be alert for sudden weather changes, particularly storms and cyclones. Be prepared to evacuate if necessary.
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen.
Last updated
5 October 2012