You are here

Home > Park management > Environment > Ecosystems > The coast

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

Middle Brighton Pier Click to view the news RSS feed.

Have your say on Middle Brighton Pier

23 Mar 2017

Parks Victoria is seeking public feedback on a draft concept plan to upgrade a section of Middle Brighton Pier after regular monitoring identified the middle section of the pier, which was built in 1938, will require replacement within the next few years. The concept plan will focus on the replacement…

View all latest news

What's on

Click to view RSS Feed

Herring Island Summer Arts Festival 2017

14 Jan 2017 - 17 Apr 2017

The Herring Island Summer Arts Festival 2017 presents a series of 4 exhibitions, by: Association of Sculptors of Victoria Basketmakers of Victoria Contemporary Art Society of Victoria A4 Art Australia The Gallery on Herring Island will be open every weekend from 14 January through 17 April, including Australia Day holiday…

Click to view RSS Feed

Wilsons Promontory Term One School Holiday Discovery Program

3 Apr 2017 - 16 Apr 2017

Parks Victoria’s Discovery program encourages children and adults to explore Victoria’s parks with a ranger. Programs include a range of interactive and fun activities. Highlights of the Term One School Holiday Program at the Prom include opportunities to: Meet a modern day lighthouse keeper to discover the history of Wilsons…

Click to view RSS Feed

Federal Cave Tour

3 Apr 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm

This historical tour provides a unique opportunity to view a cave that is rarely open to the public and is part of the same cave system as the Royal and the Fairy show caves. Lit only by solar-powered pathway lights, you are provided with a helmet and headlight to view…

Click to view RSS Feed

Lilly Pilly Cave Tour

4 Apr 2017 11:00am-12:30pm

A rare opportunity to visit spectacular caves located to the north of Buchan. Be prepared for something very special. The tour requires a 14 km drive north of Buchan and a reasonable level of fitness.