Green Island National Park Tropical North Queensland

A small rainforest-clad coral cay, Green Island is one of the most popular destinations on the Great Barrier Reef. Photo credit: © Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises

About Green Island

    Park features

    Green Island is one of the most popular destinations on the Great Barrier Reef. This 12ha island is a true coral cay formed over thousands of years by the build-up of sand and coral rubble deposited on the calm side of a platform reef. The island is covered in tropical vine forest which supports an array of birds and insects. The surrounding coral reef is home to many kinds of corals, clams, fish, stingrays and other reef life. Green and hawksbill turtles may be seen offshore.

    The island and reef are part of the traditional sea country of the Guru-Gulu Gungandji Aboriginal people. They know the island as Wunyami. Today the Guru-Gulu Gungandji people maintain a close connection with the island.

    Green Island has been a popular tourist destination for more than a century. The island became a national park in 1937, a marine park in 1974 and part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in 1981. The surrounding waters form part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and are within in the Scientific Research (Orange) or Marine National Park (Green) zones. Today the island, reef and beaches are managed together as a recreation area. Green Island is predominantly national park but has other leases for tourism, research and management purposes.

    Read more about the nature, culture and history of Green Island National Park.

    Ranger interview

    Meet Ranger Karlina and hear about her experiences as a Park Ranger looking after Green Island.

    • Meet Ranger Karlina and hear about her experiences as a Park Ranger looking after Green Island.

      Meet Ranger Karlina and hear about her experiences as a Park Ranger looking after Green Island.

    Looking after the park

    Many people visit Green Island each year so it is important to minimise your impact. Terrestrial and marine plants and animals depend on us to keep land, ocean and beach areas clean.

    • Do not feed fish or birds, as they can become aggressive towards people.
    • Do not collect shells or coral as they are protected.
    • Do not litter—plastic litter can harm wildlife if eaten or if they become entangled.
    • Do not leave cigarette butts in the sand—they can kill wildlife if swallowed and they do not break down.
    • Anchor only in sand—anchoring on coral is prohibited. Use the marine park mooring buoys if possible.
    • Avoid touching, kicking or standing on coral as it is easily damaged. When snorkelling, rest only on sand.
    • Do not disturb buoys or other markers placed by researchers—they are vital to scientific research.

    Be pest-free!

    Our precious Great Barrier Reef World Heritage islands are among the most pest-free islands in the world. They need your help to stay this way. Please Be pest-free! (PDF, 573.6KB) before your visit.

    Before you visit, please check that your boat, clothing, footwear and gear are free of soil, seeds, parts of plants, eggs, ants and insects (and their eggs), spiders, lizards, toads, rats and mice.

    Be sure to:

    • Unpack your camping gear and equipment and check it carefully as pests love to hide in stored camping gear.
    • Clean soil from footwear and gear as invisible killers such as viruses, bacteria and fungi are carried in soil.
    • Check for seeds in pockets, cuffs and hook and loop fastening strips, such as Velcro.

    While you are on the islands, remove soil, weeds, seeds and pests from your boat, gear and clothes before moving to a new site. Wrap seeds and plant material, and place them in your rubbish.

    Everyone in Queensland has a General Biosecurity Obligation to minimise the biosecurity risk posed by their activities. This includes the risk of introducing and spreading weeds and pests to island national parks.

    See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

    Park management

    The flora, fauna, landscape and seascape of Green Island and the reef are protected for the enjoyment of visitors and the conservation of nature. Green Island, including the foreshore and reef within one mile of the low water mark, was gazetted as national park in Queensland in 1937. The rest of the surrounding reef was declared a marine park in 1974. This area was included in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 1975 and, in 1981, the extraordinary value of the Great Barrier Reef was further recognised with the listing of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

    The public areas of Green Island and reef were declared a recreation area in 1990. The recreation area includes the national park, the public esplanade (managed by the Cairns Regional Council), and the surrounding marine park to a distance of 1.6km beyond the reef edge. The jetty and navigation channel are managed by the Far North Queensland Port Authority

    QPWS administers the recreation area under the Recreation Areas Management Act 2006 for the purposes of nature conservation and nature-based recreation.

    The Green Island Recreation Area and Green Island National Park Management plans (PDF, 906.5KB) guide the management of the island. QPWS staff are assisted by Guru-Gulu Gungandji Traditional Owners to ensure that cultural heritage and native title policies and guidelines are met.

    Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement (TUMRA)

    The Gunggandji Traditional land and sea country estate includes the costal land and waters immediately to the east of Cairns.

    Under the Gunggandji Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement no hunting of turtle or dugong will be allowed around Green Island.

    The Commonwealth and State governments accredited the Gunggandji Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement on 28 June 2016 for a five-year period.

    For further information contact the Gunggandji PBC Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC.

    View map of Gunggandji Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement region.

    Tourism information links

    For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.