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Permit requirements for protected areas, recreation areas and forests
You need to apply and be approved for a Commercial Activity Permit (CAP) to conduct activities for commercial gain in a national park or other protected area in Queensland.
You need to apply for a CAP if your activity is designed to make a profit, gain or benefit. This includes some fundraising activities by not-for-profit organisations.
A CAP can be offered for a minimum of 3 months or less, up to a maximum of 3 years. You can apply to have it reissued.
Activities requiring a CAP
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) uses the following criteria to assess whether you need a permit. You will need a CAP if the:
- primary purpose of the activity is to make a profit
- activity, tour, course or transport is provided free of charge, but in conjunction with another commercial product or service
- service is being provided by someone who is being compensated or paid a fee (e.g. a tour guide or group leader)
- activity is ongoing or regular
- entry or participation fee is being collected over and above those costs associated with conducting the activity
- activity is open to the general public as well as a specific membership group.
Examples of activities requiring a CAP include:
- guided tours
- filming and photography
- canoeing, rafting or kayaking
- fundraising and charitable events
- hang-gliding or paragliding
- scenic flights
- vending (e.g. mobile food vending)
- scuba diving
- motorised activities.
Learn more about applying for a CAP in national parks and protected areas.
State plantation forests
If you only want to operate in a state plantation forest, you should apply to HQPlantations for a permit.
If you want to operate in a state plantation forest and a national park, state forest or recreation area, you only need to apply to QPWS.
Public transport services
A CAP is not required for a public transport service, with regular routes and timetables or where passengers pay individual fares, that travels through a national park or other protected area.
Private groups and individuals involved in recreational or educational activities, other than for commercial purposes, do not require a CAP. Examples include bushwalking or nature study, group activities, recreational hang-gliding, weddings, public meetings or research activities. However, you may require an organised event permit.
Learn more about recreational activities in national parks and protected areas.
Education groups - no daily site fees
Commercial tour operators taking an approved educational group, including school groups, on a commercial tour are exempt from paying daily per person fees for their educational group clients.
The following laws and regulations apply to commercial activities in protected areas.
- Nature Conservation (Protected Areas Management) Regulation 2017
- Recreation Areas Management Act 2006
- Forestry Act 1959
- Learn more about marine park permits.
- Find permit details for commercial filming and photography in national parks, conservation parks, recreation areas and forests.