What are you not allowed to do in the Great Barrier Reef?

What are you not allowed to do in the Great Barrier Reef?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 03/09/2023

Reading time: 3 mins

The Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of marine life and is the largest coral reef system in the world.

To help maintain the reef and marine life of the Great Barrier Reef, it’s essential to follow these rules. When we all follow the rules, we keep marine life and the rest of the reef system in good condition.

Don’t feed the reef

It’s tempting, but please don’t feed the fish or other marine life. And if you’re on a boat, don’t throw your food overboard into the reef. You’ll find the boats have bins onboard so it’s best to put any food scraps into the bin.

Throwing food overboard will change the natural behaviour of fish in their environment.

Only view marine life, don’t touch it

It’s an exciting experience as you’re swimming in the water and a turtle or other marine life approaches you. We know it’s exciting but try to not touch the marine life as they swim by.

Be careful not to kick the coral

As you’re snorkelling and exploring the Great Barrier Reef, it’s important to remember to not kick the coral with your feet or to stand on it. We want to keep these living organisms beautiful and colourful! To avoid kicking the coral, you can try to swim a bit further above to ensure your feet don’t accidentally hit.

Now we’ve gone over the important rules, let’s talk about the exciting activities you can do when visiting the Great Barrier Reef!

Activities you are allowed to do and should do!


You’ll probably find yourself keen to jump into the water and go snorkelling. It’s one of the most popular activities you can do at the Great Barrier Reef. You’ll get a quick introductory lesson before going snorkelling on your own.


There are two different types of diving you can do at the Great Barrier Reef. The most common is scuba diving where you can do further in the water. Or you can do helmet diving which is where you get to walk in the water rather than swim!

For both dives, you will receive a quick introductory lesson before going on your own.

Glass bottom boat

A glass bottom boat is a great way for those who can’t or aren’t comfortable going in the water. There are two different types of boats you can go on.

One boat has glass on the bottom with seats surrounding the glass from above. The other boat is a mix between a boat and a submarine. Since it’s a bit like a submarine you go slightly further in the water, and you get to sit inside the glass cabin.

It’s important when doing these activities to remember the responsible reef practices and to be reef smart! If you’re looking to do one of these activities, you can do the Great Barrier Reef Cruise Deluxe tour.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.