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Enjoying Victoria's Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries

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Victoria's Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries are great places to explore, to spend some time out from the hustle and bustle of daily life, or learn about our unique and diverse marine creatures and their habitats. There is a lot see and enjoy both along the shores, as well as in, on, or under the water.

Life is a Beach

The beaches, shore platforms and rock pools along the coast - many of them easily accessible from Melbourne - present wonderful opportunities for relaxing family walks, swimming, sightseeing and nature study.

At many popular locations activity programs run by Parks Victoria Rangers, Coast Action, and a wide range of other providers, offer opportunities to get up close and personal with many of our great animals and plants.

For a touch of life on the wild side there is also Victoria's open coastline with great beaches such as those at the Point Addis Marine National Park, Bunerong Marine National Park, the stunning white sands of Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park, and those of the isolated Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Howe, and Point Hicks Marine National Parks.

Some of the worlds best surfing is also to be found along Victoria's coast at many locations. Point Addis Marine National Park includes the famous Bells Beach, home of one of the international pro-surfing events. Great surf can also be experienced at the Prom, Discovery Bay Marine National Park, Ninety Mile Beach Marine National Park, and within the Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean sections of the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park.

All aboard for discovery

Getting out and onto the water also provides a great way to explore Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries. Sailboats, powerboats, sea kayaks, sailboards, or canoes… are all welcome within Victoria's Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries. Watercraft provides an exciting and enjoyable way to explore these areas.

Within sheltered bays and inlets such as those in the Corner Inlet Marine National Park, or those in Western Ports Yaringa, Churchill, or French Island Marine National Parks sailing or seakayaking provides a great way to see some of the extensive sand and mud banks. These areas provide important habitat for many species of fish and invertebrates. Small craft also as provide great opportunities to observe the many of species of wader birds, some of which migrating from the northern hemisphere, that feed on the rich food supplies in these areas.

Out on the open coast there are also great opportunities to experience some of Victoria's Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries from on the water. Exploring the islands of Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park or the stunning rock formations at the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park provide excitement as well as a chance to see some spectacular coastal scenery and wildlife such as colonies of fur seals.

As Victoria's weather and sea conditions can be unpredictable appropriate experience and adequate preparation are essential for safe enjoyment of our offshore environments.

Snorkelling and Diving Magic

Victoria has an outstanding diversity of marine habitats along an accessible and relatively short section of coast, providing many opportunities for divers and snorkellers, and those wanting to learn more about our unique animals plants and their habitats.

Marine environments in Australia's southern waters have evolved over long periods of isolation from the rest of the world and this has resulted in a spectacular diversity of animals, plants, and marine communities. The State's coastal waters are home to well over 12,000 species of plants and animals from spectacular algal communities, unusual and colourful invertebrates, to large mammals such as playful fur seals and majestic whales. Many of Victoria's marine and animals and plants are found nowhere else apart from southern Australia and quite a number of species are only found in Victorian waters.

As well as protecting the environment, the Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries offer wonderful tourism and recreation opportunities including some of the best diving and snorkelling anywhere in the world.

Each of the individual Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries has been chosen to protect the plant and animal species found within them and their habitats. Some of these habitats include spectacular kelp forests, colourful sponge gardens, a diverse range of rocky reefs, extensive seagrass meadows, sandy plains, and stunning underwater canyons. These areas also include the resting place of several historic shipwrecks, providing divers and snorkellers with further opportunities to explore this fascinating and important part of our cultural heritage.

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