Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary

Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary

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Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary

Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary sits within an Aboriginal cultural landscape in the traditional Sea Country of the Bunurong People. 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.

Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary is situated on the sheltered rocky shores of north-western Port Phillip. Protecting 290ha of shoreline, it's the largest of Victoria's marine parks and sanctuaries.

The sandy beaches, rocky reefs and mudflats are home to a diversity of marine and coastal life. Off the coast, a series of basalt cliffs rise from the muddy seafloor — the remains of a lava flow that poured along the plains thousands of years ago.

Beneath the water, countless marine animals and plants can be found. Exposed sections of rock support a range of life including tube worms, anemones and many different colourful algae. Prickly sea urchins are abundant near crevices, while sponges grow plentifully in dark corners. Small sharks and skates patrol the surrounding eelgrass beds and muddy seafloor.

Pods of bottlenose dolphins visit the sanctuary and in late summer, swarms of jellyfish pulsate over the reef.

The area is also internationally significant for its importance to migratory wader birds. Many bird species feed here, including the Double-banded Plover and the Lesser Golden Plover.

Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary is popular for a range of activities such as beach walking, bird watching and sightseeing.

This is a great spot for scuba diving and snorkelling. Divers and snorkellers may be lucky enough to encounter an entertaining fish called the Southern Blennie or be able to spot a Pipefish hidden in the seagrass. On the right day, unsuspecting snorkellers may come across large aggregations of Southern fiddler rays, basking in the shallow sandy areas of the sanctuary. There are also two heritage-listed shipwrecks in the park, the Henrietta and the Diane, which can be explored by both divers and snorkellers.

Things To Do

 
The water's edge at Point Cook Marine Sanctuary

Beach walking

Good walking can be found along the beach at low tide. A narrow sandy beach separates the land from the sea, and off the coast, a series of low rocky reefs rise from the seafloor. This combination supports a fascinating range of marine life and makes it great for exploring.
A Parks Victoria ranger shows two female children a rockpool in Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary

Rockpooling

Explore the shoreline and try to spot the sea creatures that call these unique habitats home.

Snorkelling and diving

Discover the underwater world of the Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary. Head out from the homestead area to find seagrass beds interspersed with rocky reef. Brightly coloured algae and sponges provide important habitat for diverse fish populations and resident small shark and rays. Keep your eyes open for the Southern Blennie or Pipefish hidden in the seagrass.
Hooded Plovers on a rock

Photography and bird watching

Take your binoculars and your camera on a tranquil walk as you search for birds of prey, migratory birds and other waders as they feed in the sanctuary habitat. 

Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary

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

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

Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary

Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary is located 20kms southwest of Melbourne. Turn off the Princes Freeway (Westgate Freeway) at the Point Cook Road exit. The main entrance is approximately 6 kilometres along Point Cook Road, via Point Cook Coastal Park. Additional access is available via the Point Cooke Homestead Road, and then on foot through the Point Cook Coastal Park. Located in the north east corner of Port Phillip Bay, the sanctuary can also be accessed by boat (launching point in Williamstown or Werribee).

When to go

In late summer, swarms of jellyfish pulsate over the reef.

Need to know

Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary

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