The Arches Marine Sanctuary


The Arches Marine Sanctuary

The Arches Marine Sanctuary (48ha) is located  offshore in 20m of water to the south of Port Campbell township. This area is characterised by high energy waves and cool water from the Southern Ocean that have also shaped the nearby Twelve Apostles.

Reefs within the Marine Sanctuary consists  of  spectacular  dune limestone formations such as canyons, tunnels, arches, caverns, ledges and vertical sink holes in 19-25m of water which support a diverse range of algae, sponges, bryozoans, hydroids, gorgonians and sea stars characteristic of deeper Bass Strait waters.

The upper surfaces of the arches are covered with kelp and an understorey of red seaweeds while the  undersides and canyon walls provide habitat for sessile invertebrates making this a spectacular dive site when conditions allow.

The walls are covered with arrangements of colourful creatures including large red and orange sea-fans that emerge vertically from the rock, stinging hydroids that form feather-like colonies, and delicate lace corals, sponges, and gelatinous tunicates of a variety of shapes and colours cover many surfaces. 

Fish species seen here are typical of those found in western Victoria at places like the nearby Twelve Apostles Marine National Park, however The Arches Marine Sanctuary is also notable as an important site for Port Jackson Sharks that are frequently seen during the day sleeping under ledges within the park.  


Things To Do


Diving at The Arches

When sea conditions allow, this park is a spectacular dive site that can be accessed from Port Campbell. Large limestone arches and swim through characterise this special place that often feels like an underwater cathedral.

Gibson Steps and Beach Walk

Take the stairs down the rock face, 86 steps down to the beach and enjoy a 2.6km walk to the end of the beach and back. A great spot to watch the local surfers, or see the rock formations closer and the birds that rest on them. At low tide, the Gog and Magog rockstacks can be seen upclose.

Twelve Apostles Overlook Trail

A 1.1km trail that takes you to overlook the Twelve Apostles. A popular site for observing the apostles from all angles and bird watching. Some of the islands are used as breeding habitats for sea birds. It’s also a fantastic location to watch the sunset. Takes around 20 mins to complete.


Weedy Seadragon
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 all the 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

The Arches Marine Sanctuary

The Arches Marine Sanctuary is only accessible by boat and is located offshore from Port Campbell which is around three hours west of Melbourne via the Princes Highway. 

Need to know

The Arches Marine Sanctuary

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