Explore old shipwrecks and reefs teeming with marine life, including colourful corals, seahorses, crustaceans and stingrays with a dive down in Port Phillip. Melbourne's most accessible dive spot, Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary is deservedly popular for snorkelling and diving, especially exploring the walls along the shoreline and the rubble at the edge of the reef for a wide variety of fish and invertebrate life. There is also a wheelchair friendly access ramp for the use of disabled divers. Named after its mushroom shaped reef, Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary protects 80ha of the open coast of Flinders on the Mornington Peninsula. Composed of sandstone rock platforms extending from the shore, the park includes sheltered rock pools, coves and a shallow reef on the ocean side. The reef is formed from ancient basalt which has weathered beautifully, allowing creatures to hide within crevices and cracks or under loose rocks.

Take a boat ride from Portsea or Queenscliff and dive the wreck of the HMAS Canberra. Explore the huge diversity of marine plant and animal life at Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary. Discover the intertidal and subtidal, basalt and sandstone reefs in Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary that provide habitats for many species. The rock platforms are covered in the iconic brown seaweed Neptune's Necklace which is unique to Australia and New Zealand. Travel further west along the Great Ocean Road to Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary. This sanctuary protects a reef system known as Little Henty Reef. Two sections of the reef, the inner and outer reef, are usually exposed and separated by a narrow channel known as 'The Gap'. Composed of sandstone they support wonderful intertidal and subtidal reefs which are packed with sea life.

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. Discover our underwater worlds, and some unexpected finds, and meet some of the marine life that these parks protect!
A school of silvery fish swim over a bed of kelp.

Marine protected areas

In 2002, Victoria established one of the world's first systems of marine protected areas. The system is comprised of 24 marine national parks and sanctuaries and protects rocky reefs, seagrass meadows, kelp forests and ocean beaches.
Half-underwater photo featuring Neptune's necklace and a rocky shore

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!
Snorkelling at Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary

Discover an underwater world

If you’re looking for the best places to see underwater ecosystems and encounter marine wildlife, look no further! We’ve rounded up some of the best ways to explore marine protected areas. So, pack your togs, wetsuit, a mask and snorkel and head to the coast!
A weedy seadragon swims along near the sea bed.

Meet some of our 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.
By using our site you accept that we use and share cookies and similar technologies with certain approved third parties. These tools enable us to improve your website experience and to provide content and ads tailored to your interests. By continuing to use our site you consent to this. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.