Mud Islands (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park)

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Mud Islands (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park)

Mud Islands are an exposed area of the Great Sands which is the most extensive sand bank in Port Phillip Bay. Located approximately 6km north east of Portsea, the islands are constantly changing shape due to storms and sand movement. The vegetation includes saltmarsh and dune shrubland, surrounded by dense seagrass beds and mud flats.
The habitats of Mud Islands are essential for the survival of many species. Within the sand lives a range of invertebrates including segmented worms and crabs. Many shark species use this area for basking and Bronze Whaler Sharks use the warm waters around the islands to give birth to their young.
Mud Islands are considered an area of international significance and as such, have been listed as a RAMSAR site. The fine sands and muddy sediments exposed between the tides provide excellent habitats for many birds, including endangered species and long distance migratory species.
The microfauna of the sands and mud within this and other areas of the bay are important in maintaining water quality within the whole of the Bays waters. Mud Islands are a great spot for birdwatching due to the huge variety of seabird species present. Snorkelling around the islands and observing animals within the seagrass meadows is also an enjoyable past time.
This is a spectacular place to visit and a walk around the islands to take in the scenery is a must.
The islands can only be reached by boat, the most convenient departure points being Queenscliff or Sorrento. Day visitors are permitted, but overnight camping is not. As the islands are surrounded by shallow waters, visitors need to be cautious when attempting a landing. Passengers must be ferried to shore by dinghy or else wade in. Visits need careful planning to avoid the boat being stranded at low tide.

How to get there

Mud Islands (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park)

Need to know

Mud Islands (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park)

Warnings & Restrictions

Dogs

Dogs are not allowed

Restrictions

  • No dogs, cats, pets allowed

Warnings

  • Water hazards
    • Rough Surf
    • Shallow water
    • Strong currents
  • Animals and pests
    • Sharks
    • Stingers

Be Prepared

Stay safe and get the most out of your park visit by preparing for natural hazards and other outdoor risks in Victoria’s parks. You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of those in your care. Find out more.

Change of Conditions

Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.

Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park Visitor Guide

Download the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park Visitor Guide for a map and more information about the park

Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park identification booklet

Download the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park Identification Booklet (revised edition May 2020) (PDF 16.3 MB) by the Friends of Beware Reef group.

Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park divers guide

Download the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park Divers Guide (PDF 7.72 MB) by the Friends of Beware Reef group.

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