French Island Marine National Park

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French Island Marine National Park

French Island Marine National Park is part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape in the traditional Sea Country of the Bunurong Peoples. Parks Victoria respects the deep and continuing connection that Bunurong Traditional Owners have to these lands and waters, and we recognise their ongoing role in caring for Country.

French Island Marine National Park is one of the three Marine National Parks in Western Port, a wetland listed in the Ramsar convention. Other agreements protect migratory species including CAMBA and JAMBA. The park contains a range of significant habitats including seagrass beds, deep channels, mangroves and intertidal mudflats. The mudflats are particularly important for the migratory waders for feeding.

The seagrass beds are nursery habitats for fish species including King George Whiting, Bream and Mullet.

Barrallier Island is a significant high tide roosting site and highly sensitive to disturbance.

King George Whiting, Australian Fur Seals, and Nudibranchs are just some of the diverse species to swim amongst the seagrass. The mudflats support a wide variety of benthic animals, such as worms and bivalves, which are vital for converting the detritus of the bay into food for birds and fishes.

These habitats are important feeding and roosting grounds for migratory wader bird species, and a total of 295 bird species have been recorded in Western Port, including Black Swans, Pied Oystercatchers and Royal Spoonbills.

Things To Do

Seabirds sit on top of the remnants of an old pier near Fairhaven.

Kayaking and Canoeing

Kayaking and canoeing are popular ways to access the Marine National Park. The closest launching points for recreation users are at Warneet, 6km away, or Tooradin, 10km away. Please check the weather conditions and tides before heading out. The crossing to French Island is across a channel subject to strong tidal flow and quick condition changes.
A picturesque beach at French Island National Park

Snorkeling and Diving

Experience the biodiversity that exists under the surface of the water. Before venturing out, always ensure you check tide times, water visibility and weather conditions.
Swans on the water at French Island National Park

Birdwatching

This is a popular activity that can be conducted from a boat or kayak.
A boat on the water at sunset French Island National Park

French Island National Park

This island paradise situated in Western Port offers a haven of peace and serenity to visitors and a diverse range of wildlife, including rare birds and the most significant population of koalas in Victoria.

Wildlife and habitat

French Island Marine National Park is a unique ecosystem with a vast array of flora. The extensive seagrass beds, mangroves and saltmarsh communities are essential habitat for a range of animal species. French Island Marine National Park provides extensive, unique seagrass beds, mangroves and saltmarsh communities, critical habitat for many diverse species under the water and above.

This area is well known for its wildlife. Keep an eye out for:

Seals
Little Penguins
Dolphins

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

French Island Marine National Park

The Marine National Park is only accessible by boat, with the closest boat launching facilities located at Warneet and Tooradin.

When to go

In late summer, thousands of jellyfish can be seen drifting with the tide.

Need to know

French Island Marine National Park

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