In 2002, the very best samples of Victoria’s marine biodiversity including rocky reefs, seagrass meadows, and ocean beaches were hand-picked to be protected forever.

Victoria established one of the world’s first representative system of fully protected 13 large marine national parks and 11 smaller marine sanctuaries. Parks Victoria was appointed as the managers of these parks.

People often think about tropical coral and warm water when we talk about Australia’s marine life, but here in Victoria we have some of the rarest and most diverse habitats in the world. We work with partners and volunteers to manage Victoria’s marine protected areas not just because these places offer us a place to enjoy, or because they contribute to a healthy liveable environment, but because these places are important. They’re beautiful and rare and brimming with life.

Management of marine protected areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) span Victoria’s five marine bioregions and aim to conserve and protect ecological processes, habitats and associated flora and fauna. Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries are “no-take” areas, while the other Marine and Coastal Parks, Marine Parks and a Marine Reserve are managed or multiple uses.

Parks Victoria manages MPAs using an asset-led and objectives-based approach, which includes clear and measurable statements of desired condition of the natural assets they were established to conserve, and acceptable levels of threat to those assets. This asset-led approach to management sits within an Adaptive Management Framework, which is a structured way of learning by doing.

A small chick of a Hooded Plover sits on the nest, with its eyes barely open. It sits next to a speckled egg.

Shorebirds and Seabirds

Find out more about the shorebirds and seabirds that depend on these marine protected areas and the threats these birds face in a changing climate.
A diver exploring Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary

Marine programs

The marine research program provides information on natural values and threatening processes within Marine Protected Areas.
Two volunteer divers in the water holding up marine pests

Marine pests

Marine pests are highly invasive animals and plants from other parts of the world that have become established in Victoria and cause significant harm to the health of marine ecosystems.
A snorkeller jumps into the water from a boat, Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park

Marine partnerships

Parks Victoria is part of a large network of partners that work together to understand, manage and protect Victoria’s marine protected areas.

Explore Victoria’s 24 marine national parks and sanctuaries

Marine deep dive

Underwater close up of echinoderm and invertebrates

7 unexpected things found in our parks

When you think of Victoria’s parks, the first things that comes to mind are probably found on land – mountains, trees and grassy plains. However, did you know that Parks Victoria also manages 30 marine protected areas? What you’ll find there might surprise you!
Underwater close up view of a weedy sea dragon swimming above seaweed

Meet some of Victoria's unique marine life

Marine national parks and sanctuaries exist to protect Victoria’s unique and diverse marine ecosystem, and the many plants and animals that live in them. Meet some of the marine life that these parks protect.
Underwater view of a group of sea urchins on rocks

Kelp forests recovering after urchin culls

Parks Victoria dive crews returned to the sanctuary in April 2021 to revisit sites where Black Sea Urchins have been culled over the past two years. Preliminary results are very promising, with kelp forest regrowth observed and few urchins present in treated areas.
Two volunteer divers in the water holding up marine pests

Marine pests

Marine pests are highly invasive animals and plants from other parts of the world that have become established in Victoria and cause significant harm to the health of marine ecosystems.
Three people in a boat on the water, with a diver under the water.

Parks Victoria Technical Series

Publication series detailing the findings of research and monitoring into the natural values and ecology of terrestrial and marine protected areas.

Take a virtual dive

Still image of the Diving with Long-nosed Fur Seals at Gabo Island 360 video part 2 video, with play icon overlay.

360 video: Swim with the seals at Gabo Island

Home to the second-tallest lighthouse in Australia, Gabo Island is a place that not many people have had the pleasure of visiting. Even fewer have been lucky enough to get under the water here, and with this 360-degree video you can experience diving here with playful Long-nosed Fur Seals.
Wide view of the water and beach at Wilsons Promontory National Park with video play icon overlay

360 video: Fly over Wilsons Prom

In this 360-degree video you can experience the sunrise from the top of Mount Oberon, watch the waves rolling in at Tidal River and fly over some of the most beautiful nature areas in the state.
Underwater view of a diver next to a coral reef with video play icon overlay

A guided tour of Victorias Marine Protected Areas

Find out what’s beneath the waves in Victoria’s diverse and colourful Marine Protected Areas with Parks Victoria in this online webinar.
Waves crashing over rocks on the beach with video play icon overlay

Rockpool ramble at Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary

Shot and produced themselves, join Ranger Monique and Ranger Lachy as they take you on a journey through the rockpools of the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary.
Underwater view of spider crabs with video play icon overlay

360 video: Spider Crabs at Port Philip Bay

Become a virtual diver with this 360-degree footage, filmed by our marine experts, Steffan Howe and Mark Rodrigue.

Webinar series

Watch the recordings of our special 2022 webinar series in celebration of the twenty-year anniversary of Victoria’s Marine National Parks.

The webinars will take you on a journey beneath the waves to learn more about our local marine environments, find out what is being done to help look after these special places in the sea, and meet some of the wonderful people involved in caring for them.

The weird and wonderful life of underwater parks

Join Dr Mark Norman, Chief Conservation Scientist and internationally-renowned marine expert, and hear from marine rangers from across the state, sharing stories about Victoria’s weird and wonderful underwater species.

View recording on YouTube
Southern Pygmy Squid

From little things big things grow

This webinar will provide an overview of how Victoria's marine protected areas have evolved over time and what we now know about these special places in the sea.

View recording on YouTube

Searching for urchin

Over the past decade there has been a significant loss of these kelp forest through overgrazing by native sea urchins. This webinar will explore current issues and program underway to try and manage their impacts.

View recording on YouTube
Underwater view of a group of sea urchins on rocks

Victoria's marine biodiversity

As part of celebrating Biodiversity Month this webinar will provide an overview of the spectacular diversity of animals, plants and habitats found in Victoria’s Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries.

View recording on YouTube

Get on board volunteering for our marine national parks

Find out from some of our volunteer marine champions about how you can get involved and make a difference for our local marine life.

View recording on YouTube
Three people in a boat on the water, with a diver under the water.

20 years on - what have we learned

Meet some of the hard-working Parks Victoria Rangers that care for Victoria’s Marine National Park system and find out why they love these underwater parks.

View recording on YouTube

Get wet in Victoria's marine national parks

This webinar will introduce you to some of the amazing places on our coast to explore, while also learning how to keep yourself safe and comfortable in the water.

View recording on YouTube
Underwater view of a Butterfly Perch swimming with sponges and coral

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