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The coast

Pied Oyster Catcher (photo: Fiona Smith)

Pied Oyster Catcher (photo: Fiona Smith)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Coast Tea-tree (photo: Matt Hoskins)

Coast Tea-tree (photo: Matt Hoskins)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Moonah tree (Photo: Peter McConchie)

Moonah tree (Photo: Peter McConchie)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Ninety Mile Beach

Ninety Mile Beach

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Often lashed by the wind laden with salt spray, the coast is very dynamic and a difficult environment for living things, with some of its physical features such as dunes and cliffs subject to continual change. Exposure to the power of large waves generated in the Southern Ocean has produced the rugged, eroded landforms that characterise much of our western coastline. In more sheltered areas there are a wide range of other habitats.

Wind, salt, and unstable low nutrient soils made largely of sand that hold little water are the critical influences on the vegetation of the coast and plant communities growing in these areas have evolved a range of strategies to help them cope with this challenging environment.

Plant communities typically found along the coast are:

  • Coastal Dune Scrub –includes plants well suited to the most exposed section of the coast and include many pioneering dune binding plants such as Hairy Spinifex (Spinifex hirsutus)
  • Coastal Moonah Woodlands – often growing on calcareous dunes and cliffs on the coast dominated by the Coastal Moonah (Melaleuca lanceolata subsp. lanceolata)
  • Coastal Banksia Woodland – restricted to near coastal localities on secondary dunes behind Coastal Dune Scrub, these areas are dominated by a woodland over story of Banksia tees
  • Coastal Saltmarsh – in flatter areas of low energy coastlines some areas are dominated by succulent plants that can cope with high salinity soils and some inundation and exposure to salt water and poor drainage.

More about the coast

  • Hardy shrubs such as Coast Tea-tree, Coast Beard-heath, Seaberry Saltbush and Coast Wattle occur on secondary dunes or exposed rock headlands
  • Moonah, Boobialla, Drooping She-oak and Coast Banksia are found on the stabilised dunes and swales on the landward side
  • The most prominent group of large coast dwelling animals are birds such as Orange-bellied Parrot and Pied Oystercatcher which depend directly on saltmarsh plants or a wide range of invertebrates (animals without backbones) for food
  • The Little Penguin and Short-tailed Shearwaters (Muttonbirds) nest in burrows in the dunes.

Key Threats

  • Issues related to impacts from increasing visitor use, combined with edge effects from urban development are key threats to this ecosystem.
  • Rising sea levels and greater frequency of storm events due to climate change may impact on vegetation, estuaries as well as coastal assets.

Where to see the coast and intertidal shores

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Barefoot Cinema

27 Dec 2016 6:00pm - 28 Jan 2017 11:00pm

A unique outdoor cinema held over a number of nights in December and January set amongst the picturesque grounds adjacent to the historic Commanding Officer’s House. Offering stunning views, delicious food and great movies to enjoy in a relaxed and intimate open air setting, it’s a must do on the…

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Wilsons Promontory summer Discovery Program

28 Dec 2016 - 25 Jan 2017

Parks Victoria’s Discovery program encourages children and adults to explore Victoria’s parks with a ranger. Programs run every school holidays across the state and include a range of interactive and fun and interactive activities. Highlights of the Summer Discovery Program at the Prom include opportunities to: Uncover the secrets of…

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Croajingalong National Park Summer Discovery Program

28 Dec 2016 12:00am - 27 Jan 2017 12:00am

Come along and join in the fun in nature by becoming a junior ranger. Enjoy a rockpool ramble or a beachcombing walk with a ranger who will help you discover the wonders of the deep by uncovering what lies on the shore. Bookings essential.

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Cape Conran Coastal Park Summer Discovery Program

29 Dec 2016 12:00am - 24 Jan 2017 12:00am

Come along and be part of the fun in nature. There will be ranger guided activities for everyone, including fishing clinics, rock pool rambles, and beachcombing walks, where you will discover what lies beyond the breakers by uncovering what has washed up on the shore. Bookings are essential to guarantee…