Zoning System

Wet Tropics Management Authority

The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is a diverse set of natural ecosystems with a variety of existing uses and tenures. Different parts of the Area need different levels of protection to ensure that the Area's integrity is conserved.

The Wet Tropics Management Plan 1998 creates a zoning system where various types of activities are allowed or prohibited. The management plan divides the entire World Heritage Area into four zones called A, B,C, and D. The zones have different degrees of integrity, different physical and social settings and different management purposes. The zoning scheme allows different types of activities in each zone, in accordance with the management intent and integrity of the zone.

The current zoning system is based on a 'distance from disturbance' model. A total of 32 zoning maps cover the whole World Heritage Area and available on the zoning maps pages. They are also available for inspection at the offices of the Wet Tropics Management Authority in Cairns.

You can view the zoning for the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area on the 1:250,000 maps below:

Or you can download one of the 32 zoning maps or boundary maps in our maps section.

NB: The zoning system is currently being reviewed as part of the Wet Tropics Plan Review process.


Wet Tropics Management AuthorityZone A

Land included in zone A has a high degree of integrity and is remote from the disturbances associated with modern technological society. It is in its natural ecological, physical and aesthetic condition and sustaining this condition is the intent of this zoning. Visitors may expect to find solitude and no obvious management presence. To qualify for inclusion in zone A, land must:

  • be at least 500 metres from all roads, cableways, powerlines, pipelines, towers, mines, quarries and other structures; and
  • be at least 700 metres from clearings; and
  • include a minimum area of 150 hectares of undisturbed habitat; and
  • have no obvious signs of disturbance in the last 40 years (such as logging, for example).

Example of zone A: Upper areas of Wooroonooran National Park.


Wet Tropics Management AuthorityZone B

Like land in zone A, zone B has a high degree of ecological integrity and is in a natural state but is not necessarily remote from disturbance. There is a reasonable expectation that it could be restored to a condition which would qualify for inclusion in Zone A. Visitors can expect solitude and limited evidence of a management presence (such as infrastructure). Lands in zone B must:

  • be less than 500 metres from all roads, cableways, powerlines, pipelines, towers, mines, quarries and other structure; or,
  • be less than 700 metres from clearings; or
  • include an area of up to 150 hectares of undisturbed habitat;
  • have some obvious signs of disturbance in the last 40 years; and
  • not overlap with Zones A, C and D.

Example of zone B: Around the lower edges of Wooroonooran National Park where it adjoins the World Heritage Area boundary.


Wet Tropics Management AuthorityZone C

Land in zone C already contains disturbances which are often associated with existing community infrastructure. Visitor facilities may be located in this zone. While there is some disturbance in this zone, the land is in a mostly natural state and will be managed to minimise any adverse impact of these facilities and associated activities, while protecting the integrity of the land.

Cleared areas which are associated with existing use rights have been included in zone C. It is intended that the majority of new and existing infrastructure and facilities will be accommodated in zone C and zone D. Zone C includes areas where there are clearings, roads, powerlines, pipelines, dams and cableways. It also includes quarries, gravel scrapes, paddocks, building or home sites, orchards and plantations, forestry camps, parking areas, cane fields, pine plantations, rifle ranges, forestry buildings, ranger stations, research plots, meteorological stations, airstrips, radio towers and Army camps. An example of zone C is the powerline corridor to Russell Heads.


Wet Tropics Management AuthorityZone D

Zone D contains lands where there are, or may be, visitor facilities of a well developed type. Visitors and visitor facilities will not be confined to this zone, but it is intended that the more intensive, organised visitor activities and associated facilities would be focused here. Facilities may include picnic shelters, barbecues, interpretive facilities and car parks. Lands in zone D will still be in a mostly natural state. A visitor can expect to enjoy nature here with minimal effort, some comforts and social interaction. 

It is intended that this zone will provide particular opportunities for presenting the area to visitors and enabling visitors to enjoy and understand what they see. The zone will be managed to minimise any adverse impacts of activities and facilities, and to protect and rehabilitate the land. An example of zone D is Kearney's Flat recreation area in the Goldsborough State Forest.

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