The Arches Marine Sanctuary
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- Established:November 2002
Just off the coast near Port Campbell, The Arches Marine Sanctuary protects 45ha of remarkable seascape. This area is known for the above water limestone landscape, however 19 to 25m below the waves there is a labyrinth of towering limestone canyons, caves, arches and walls. It is these structures which give the park its name. The area is characterised by high energy waves and cool water with flows from the Southern Ocean.
The complex structures beneath the waves provide a foundation for brilliantly coloured seaweeds and sponges to grow on. Due to the shaded underside of the underwater arches, habitats here are typical of those found in the deeper waters of Bass Strait.
There is a diverse array of life including gorgonians, sponges, bryozoans and hydroids. The upper side of these structures are covered in the thick, brown kelp Ecklonia radiata with an understory of delicate red alage. These habitats support schools of reef fish, seals and a range of invertebrates such as lobster, abalone and sea urchins.
This park is offshore and is only accessible by boat (launching point in Port Campbell or Peterborough).
Aboriginal Traditional Owners
Parks Victoria acknowledges the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Victoria - including its parks and reserves. Through their cultural traditions, Aboriginal people maintain their connection to their ancestral lands and waters.
Indigenous tradition indicates that this sanctuary is part of the Country of the Kirrae Whurrong and Gadubanud peoples.