The Swan Bay component of the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park incorporates Swan Bay to the eastern shoreline of Swan Island, Rabbit Island and Duck Island excluding the shipping channel to the Swan Bay Jetty.
The Swan Bay component of the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park contains the best representative sample of seagrass beds within the park. The expanse of subtidal seagrass beds is a nursery habitat for many species of fish. The intertidal mudflats and surrounding fringe of saltmarsh support waderbirds, many that migrate from the Northern Hemisphere during summer months.
The seagrass habitat is a feeding ground for black swans, and provides a resting and breeding ground for spoonbills, cormorants and egrets.
Mud Islands (Great Sands)
The Mud Islands component is located in the south eastern part of Port Phillip approximately 6 km NE of Portsea. The Mud Islands are an exposed section of the Great Sands, the most extensive sandbank in Port Phillip, which is continually changing in shape due to storms and sand movement.
The fine sand and muddy sediments exposed between tides provide excellent habitat for many birds, including endangered and long distance migratory species. Some 70 species of birds have been recorded on the islands. Vegetation on the low-lying islands consists of saltmarsh and dune shrubland surrounding a sheltered lagoon.
The Mud Islands support a distinctive community of invertebrates that live in the sand and provide a source of food for many fish and birds.
Located between Queenscliff and the western side of the Port Phillip entrance, Point Lonsdale includes spectacular deep water scenery comprising cliffs, caverns, rocky reef walls, sponge gardens and kelp beds.
The Rip side of Point Lonsdale contains an extensive intertidal rocky platform covered with algae such as Neptune's Necklace, and has a number of larger rockpools suitable for snorkelling. The Point Lonsdale intertidal platform has the highest recorded invertebrate diversity of any calcarenite reef in Victoria.
The reefs offshore from Point Lonsdale provide spectacular underwater terrain with ledges, rock outcrops and bommies, and beds of bull kelp (Durvillea potatorum) on sections exposed to large waves.
Extending around Point Nepean on the eastern side of the entrance to Port Phillip, this component contains extensive shallow reefs up to seven metres in depth covered in kelp and supports a variety of marine life including Victoria's marine state emblem the Weedy Seadragon, seahorses, cuttlefish and numerous algal and invertebrate species.
Portsea hole is a depression within the bed of the old Yarra River that has flowed through this area during periods of glaciation and lower sea levels. The area is popular with divers and reaches depths of up to 30 metres. Portsea Hole acts as a shelter for a variety of fish and other reef species and the stratification of marine life on the wall provides special qualities as a dive site. It is one of the most popular deeper dive sites in Port Phillip.
The Popes Eye, located approximately 5 km north east of Portsea, is an artificial environment made of bluestone boulders that have been laid in a semi-circular ring which rise approximately 2.5 metres above the surface at low tide. The structure was originally intended to become one of the fortresses guarding the entrance to Port Phillip but was never completed.
On the tops of the rocks are extensive beds of brown kelps including both Giant Kelp and also Leathery Kelp. These species create a forest like environment. Beneath the kelp a vast array of colourful encrusting algae and sedentary organisms such as molluscs of many types, seastars, feather stars, sea urchins, sponges, sea squirts and soft corals adorn the rocks, making it in some respects, an artificial microcosm of the Heads reef environment.
The site is an important breeding site for Australasian Gannets which nest on the platform and rocks above the water, one of the few known sites where Gannets breed on a human made structure in the world. Australian Fur Seals are often seen in the area.
Because of its unique shape and protection from tidal currents Popes Eye is one of the most accessible snorkelling and dive sites in Port Phillip.
07 Feb 2014
With severe and extreme fire conditions forecast across Victoria and a Total Fire Ban in place for the weekend, Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) are urging visitors to parks and forests to plan carefully, and take care in the heat. Parks Victoria’s Manager Fire…
12 Mar 2014
The Grey-headed Flying-fox is the largest flying-fox (also known as a fruit bat) species in Australia. Each month the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology conduct the monthly bat count at Yarra Bend Park at dusk on the Wednesday evening closest to the risen full moon. This data is critical…
15 Mar 2014 9:00am - 16 Mar 2014 5:00pm
The Back to Steiglitz community art group will have an exhibition in St Paul's church, Steiglitz. There will be 4 artists displaying their works in a variety of mediums and styles. Historic buildings will be open to the public. The Back to Steiglitz group will provide food and drinks for…
16 Mar 2014 2:00pm-4:00pm
To celebrate Cultural Diversity Week Mornington Peninsula Shire and Parks Victoria invites you to a screening of Alias Ruby Blade - A story of love and revolution The acclaimed documentary film follows Kirsty Sword Gusmao who aspired to be a filmmaker and instead became a revolutionary. Whilst working for the…
23 Mar 2014 9:00am-3:00pm
Help create koala habitat and learn about koalas. Enjoy a day helping Koalas in the wild. Search for koalas, monitor their behaviour, remove weeds from their habitat and take records of all other wildlife seen, all in the company of a highly experienced Koala Researcher. Part of the day is…
Happy International Women’s Day! Photo: Ranger Deb Cross at the Gil Groggin Fir...Happy International Women’s Day! Photo: Ranger Deb Cross at the Gil Groggin Fire north of Buchan.View post | Sat, 08 Mar 2014 09.42
The Mt Zero area in Grampians National Park has re-opened in time for the long w...The Mt Zero area in Grampians National Park has re-opened in time for the long weekend to provide visitors with a walking experience in the Northern Grampians. Many areas in the park are now open after the fire in January. Full details here http://ow.ly/ukBMTView post | Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17.11
Thanks to all our Facebook friends who have sent in their favourite park photos...Thanks to all our Facebook friends who have sent in their favourite park photos this week to help inspire your next park visit. Enjoy your local parks and beyond this long weekend to help celebrate the end of Parks Week.Friends Parks Week photosThanks to all our Facebook friends who have sent in their favourite park photos this week to help inspire your next park visit. Enjoy your local parks and beyond this long weekend to help celebrate the end of Parks Week.View post | Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13.45
Introducing the newest recruit to join the Werribee Park horticultural team, See...Introducing the newest recruit to join the Werribee Park horticultural team, See Me. He is from the Karen people of Burma and lived for 15 years in a refugee camp before coming to Australia. See Me is being sponsored by Matchworks and will be working with us for the next 11 months while he completes a Certificate Three in Horticulture. We’re celebrating the many park connections with Victoria’s rich multicultural community during Parks Week. http://ow.ly/ui2jQView post | Thu, 06 Mar 2014 16.14
Clean Up Australia Day events at Kalimna Park and Golden Point Reserve last week...Clean Up Australia Day events at Kalimna Park and Golden Point Reserve last weekend resulted in 4 cubic metres of rubbish being removed from the bush in and around Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. We would like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers for their efforts on the day. http://ow.ly/uhMnvView post | Thu, 06 Mar 2014 11.43