Portarlington Harbour Upgrades

Community drop-ins @ the pier

Find out more about the Portarlington Pier upgrades

Date:   Saturday 22 May, 2021
Time:   12:30 – 3:30pm
Venue:   Portarlington Pier

Drop-in at the pier and chat with the project team to find out more about the project stages, view the draft designs for a new western groyne and Aboriginal artwork integrations for the all-weather walkway.  No bookings required.


Project duration & key dates *

Stage 1:  New pier head and low landing       April to November 2021      

Stage 2:  Removal of old pier May to June 2021   

Stage 3:  Construction of rock groyne (proposed)   Timing to be confirmed 

Stage 4:   Construction of covered walkway   June 2021 to June 2022      

Stage 5:   Landscape and other improvement works    July to September 2022   

Maintenance dredging:   April to May 2021 

*Timing of staged works estimates only and may be subject to change due to weather, approvals and other influences. 

Project funding 

Portarlington Pier work is part of the $24 million Victorian Government Better Piers and Waterside Facilities program.  The total project cost is $9.6 million. 

Project partner 

Department of Transport  

Key information 

Portarlington Harbour has undergone significant improvements in recent years to realise the long-term vision set out in the Portarlington Safe Harbour Plan 2009.  The work will create a state-of-the-art facility that is safer and more accessible for commercial operators, recreational boaters, anglers, the local community and visitors for years to come. 

The new Portarlington Pier was completed in 2017 and has been a popular fishing, boating and diving spot. It’s also home to Port Phillip Ferries and the Port Phillip mussel farming industry. 

The next stage of works will deliver vital improvements such as a covered walkway to the ferry terminal, a new strengthened pier head, widened deck to provide safer access, and an accessible low landing.  Upgrades to the pier will support local aquaculture fishers, the ferry service and other harbour visitors, as well as creating jobs during construction. 

Works being undertaken include:

Pier head and low landing replacement      April to November 2021       

Sections of the original northern pier head will be removed, along with the eastern low landing. The new pier head will be stronger, allowing for higher load capacities to better service the aquiculture industry. In addition, a new more accessible low landing will be built to the south of the existing landing. 

During these works there will be no access to the existing low landing.  Alternate berthing/unloading areas for the aquaculture industry who use the low landing will be arranged through Parks Victoria.  Temporary ramps from the new pier walkway to the new pier head section will be installed to enable continued access to recreational berths and groyne for walking and fishing.   

Removal of old pier   May to June 2021   

The old Portarlington Pier will be removed. The pier has been closed since 2018 due to structural failures which posed a risk to public safety.  

Construction of covered walkway   June 2021 to June 2022 

A purpose-built walkway will provide safer access from the foreshore to the ferry terminal, separating commercial vehicles and pedestrians. The covered walkway will provide shelter from wind, rain and wave spray. 

As is currently the case, pedestrians and authorised vehicles will continue to share access on the western side of the new pier while the covered walkway is being installed. 

Landscape and other improvement works    July 2022 to September 2022 

Improvement works on the pier and covered walkway entrance will enhance pedestrian access and existing services will be altered accordingly.  Minor improvements to the northern breakwater will enhance pedestrian access. 

Staged work may be subject to change due to weather, approvals and other influences. 

Proposed works pending approval: 

Construction of rock groyne    Timing to be confirmed 

Proposed construction of a new rock groyne on the western side of the harbour will help reduce wave height, protect the ferry berth and reduce sand migration into the harbour. The new groyne will connect to the existing fixed wave screen forming a complete barrier reducing wave action and keeping sand on the beach, not in the harbour.    These works are subject to consent under the Marine and Coastal Act 2018. Community engagement will be undertaken as part of the consent process. 


Artists impression of Portarlington Pier covered walkway entrance. 


Access to the harbour and pier during works 


Maintaining safe access for commercial operators, as well as fishers, boaters and pedestrians will be a priority during construction. Access may be limited or varied (but not fully restricted) to sections of the new pier and existing groyne at times to enable safe works and deliveries.  A full closure is not planned.   See onsite signage for more information.  

Ferry services will continue to operate throughout the works. Please see Port Phillip Ferries website for timetables. 

Licensed tour operator and commercial operator access will be maintained unless otherwise notified. 

The low landing will be closed to public access once work begins in this area. The old pier will remain closed until removed due to structural safety issues. 


Other disruptions during works


There may be some visual amenity impacts. A fenced work site will be established in the foreshore car park. 

It may be noise while works are underway.  Noise will be restricted to site working hours.  Heavy and oversized vehicles may require access to the pier for deliveries - directions from contractors and on site signage should be observed for safety.

Works will be suspended from 18 December 2021 to end of January 2022 to minimise impact on community, local business and visitors during the peak summer season. 

Alternative nearby locations for pier walking, angling and recreational boating during the works can be enjoyed at Queenscliff Pier and Harbour Precinct and St Leonards Pier. 



Other works - maintenance dredging


Maintenance dredging will be conducted in Portarlington Harbour during April and May 2021 to remove a build-up of sand.  These works are separate to the pier upgrade, but are important in ensuring safe access for commercial, recreational, and emergency vessels to the harbour precinct. 

Dredged material (predominately sand) will be removed from within the harbour including the recreational berthing and low landing areas.   The dredged material will be placed on Portarlington Beach and east of the harbour beach. 

Freshly dredged sand contains organic material, mostly seaweed, giving it a dark colour and sometimes a mild odour.  While the dredged sand may look and smell mildly unpleasant when it first comes out of the water, after a few days’ exposure to the air and sun, the sand will bleach to the normal colour and lose the odour.  The quality of water will not be affected during the dredging but may appear cloudy until the sand settles. 

Safe movement on the water 

The dredge will be restricted in its ability to manoeuvre during the dredging operations and all vessel operators are reminded to observe the marks on the dredge and pass safely on the side showing two black diamonds.   

Access to the harbour during dredging  

Signed sections of Portarlington Beach and the harbour beach will be temporarily closed to the public during the dredging. 

Once the dredging pipeline is in place, the beach will be reopened to the public, except a 50-metre exclusion area either side of the disposal site. The disposal sites will be gradually adjusted to assist with the accumulation and dispersal of the sand.  

Parks Victoria will work with affected owners of vessels berthed in the harbour to arrange temporary relocations during the dredging works where required. 

Vessel operators are advised to exercise caution during the dredging process and are also reminded to observe the 5-knot speed limit in the vicinity of the dredge.    

Other information 

Parks Victoria is the local port Manager for Port Phillip, Western Port and Port Campbell, with the three local ports combined receiving approximately 80 million visits a year, and include 263,000 hectares of waterway, marine protected areas, channels, piers and jetties, moorings and aids to navigation. 

For further information or queries about this project email info@parks.vic.gov.au or you can call us on 13 1963. 

Stay up to date 

For regular project updates, please subscribe to the Portarlington Harbour upgrades mailing list by emailing info@parks.vic.gov.au. 

Download the Portarlington Pier Community Update April 2021.

Related items


Places to see - Portarlington Harbour Anchoring Zone

Places to see – Portarlington Harbour Swimming Only Zone 

Places to see - Queenscliff Pier and Harbour Precinct 

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