Australian Marine Parks

Australian Marine Parks conserve and protect marine habitats while providing beautiful places to enjoy, support businesses and jobs, and contribute to Australia’s food and energy needs.

The 58 marine parks managed by Parks Australia cover 2.8 million square kilometres, or 31 per cent of Australia’s marine jurisdiction.

They typically start in Commonwealth waters, that is, no less than 3 nautical miles offshore.

Marine parks are spread across Australian waters, so if you are into boating, fishing, camping, flying, shipping or just about anything else you can do on the ocean, you may well come across an Australian Marine Park.

Where can I go?

Visitors can access all zones (except Sanctuary zones) in Australian Marine Parks for general use such as boating, nature watching and non-fishing activities, including

  • National Park zones
  • Habitat Protection zones
  • Multiple Use zones

Sanctuary Zones are closed to the public. Sanctuary zones are managed to minimise disturbance to the environment from human activities, so only scientific research is allowed.

For further information about the zones and rules in each marine park, check the factsheets on each network.

Do I need an approval?

You do need a permit to access Australian Marine Parks for some general use activities.

Camping and overnight stays

A permit is required for camping and overnight stays on islands above the high water mark in marine parks.

Overnight stays on vessels do not require a permit.


A permit is required if you wish to operate remote piloted aircraft, such as drones, in marine parks.

There are no fees for camping or drone use.

Recreational aviation

For recreational aviation, taking off and landing an aircraft is only allowed in specific areas. Contact us to have an area assessed for approval.

Commercial aviation

For commercial activities, such as charter flights, you will need a licence if you wish to take off and land an aircraft in an Australian Marine Park. Contact us to discuss your application.

Specific information on commercial aviation tours is located here.

What other general use activities can I do without a permit? 

Vessels can discharge and exchange ballast water in all zones except Sanctuary Zones provided it is compliant with Australian ballast water requirements.

Waste from normal operations of vessels may be disposed of in all zones except Sanctuary Zones provided it is compliant with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships.

How can I be involved in marine park management?

We currently work in partnership with a range of marine park users and stakeholders to manage, protect and better understand our marine parks.

If you’re interested in being involved in the management of Australian Marine Parks, please contact us via email.


Apply for a permit