Discovery Bay Marine National Park

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Discovery Bay Marine National Park

Discovery Bay Marine National Park (2,770 ha) is Victoria's marine gateway to the Great Australian Bight and the immense expanse of the Southern Ocean.  The cliffs of Cape Bridgewater to the south and the white sand dunes of Discovery Bay to the north frame the Discovery Bay Marine National Park.   

The coastline is formed from the remains of a massive volcano that has spewed forth lava over the last million years, cooling into hard basalt rock. The Marine National Park is part of the largest coastal basalt formation in western Victoria and experiences one of the highest wave energy environments in the State. It has rocky habitats of complex forms interspersed by plains of sand winnowed into symmetrical ridges by the endless movement of the water. 

The seafloor of the area reflects this dynamic history.  Intertidal and near-shore reefs formed from basalt border the park.  In deep water (30-60 metres) within the park, there are low profile reefs formed from ancient shorelines or dunes when the sea levels were much lower than today sometimes capped by volcanic basalt.  These reefs are covered in rich sponge 'gardens', composed of thick growths of sessile invertebrates including sponges, ascidians, bryozoans and gorgonians.   

The rich sea-life is derived in part from cold nutrient-rich water associated with the Bonney Upwelling sucked up towards the surface by offshore winds and currents during summer.  This water encourages the growth of microscopic plants and animals, providing a feast for fish, whales, penguins, and seafloor life such as sea-fans, sea-mosses and hydroids, sponges, and sea-squirts. 

The connection to the Great Australian Bight and the Southern Ocean is highlighted by the regular visits of Southern Right and Humpback Whales that migrate north from Antarctic waters in winter to breed, and Australian Fur Seals foraging from the nearby colony on Cape Bridgewater. Blue whales, the largest of all creatures to have ever lived, also regularly visit these waters during summer.  

Things To Do

 

Explore rockpools in Discovery Bay

Discover local marine life in the rockpools and on the intertidal reef at Whites Beach, the most accessible part of Discovery Bay Marine National Park.

Walking in Discovery Bay

View Discovery Bay Marine National Park from headlands and cliffs long the Great Southwest Walk track and keep your eye out for passing whales including Blue Whales, frolicking Australian Fur Seals and the many seabirds such as Australasian Gannets that forage in this area.

Wildlife

Seals
Dolphins
Fish
Little Penguins

Tours and adventure experiences in parks

One of the best ways you can get into nature is with a Licensed Tour Operator.

There are more than 400 Licensed Tour Operators across Victoria who are ready and waiting to help you experience and connect with Victoria’s spectacular parks and waterways.

Discover more than 60 different types of nature-based experiences including hiking, mountain biking, boating, four-wheel driving, indigenous culture tours, birdwatching, surfing, diving and so much more. 

Licensed Tour Operators know the all best places to go and will plan and prepare your visit to ensure you are safe and can enjoy your nature-based adventure to the fullest.

Find a Licensed Tour Operator

How to get there

Discovery Bay Marine National Park

Discovery Bay Marine National Park is in south-west Victoria between Portland and Nelson adjoining the South Australian border, about 420kms from Melbourne and 490kms from Adelaide. The major access roads into the park are The Blowholes Road, Scenic Drive and the Portland - Nelson Road. 

When to go

This remote section of coast is very popular for beach goers, surfers, and snorkellers during the summer months. During late August to March the Hooded Plover, one of Victoria’s most threatened bird species, breeds on the beaches of the Discovery Bay Marine National Park so please give them space when using the beach. 

Between October and March also keep an eye out for Blue Whales that can sometimes be seen from cliffs and headlands along this coast.  

Need to know

Discovery Bay Marine National Park

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