Australian Snorkelling Sites - Victoria
Victoria - (click on the green links to see photos of the marine species)
Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park: Pope's Eye
Located about 5km north east of Portsea, Pope's Eye is an artificial structure protruding above the water surface. Composed of bluestone boulders laid in a semi-circular ring, this artificial man made structure was originally intended to become one of the fortresses guarding the entrance to Port Phillip. It is about 1.5m deep within the ring and drops off to about 10m around the outside. The tops of the rocks are covered by extensive beds of brown kelps including both giant kelp and leathery kelp. Pope's Eye supports a huge variety of species including colourful reef fish, octopus, featherstars, cuttlefish, seals and gorgonian corals. Pope's Eye is a favourite location of divers and snorkellers due to the protection it provides from tidal currents. This is a great site for beginners.
The made made structure known as Chinaman's Hat (pictured above) is one of four haul outs where seals can rest and loll about in the sun. There is a community of Australian Fur Seals who utilise this platfrom and it is a poular destination for divers and snorkellers. It is recommended that human keep their distance however as these seals have been known to behave in aggressive manner when approched. Other species you may encounter in the waters here are bottlenose dolphins, blue devil fish and a large variety of schooling fish.
Mornington Peninsula: Sorrento Back Beach
At a depth of 0-4m, Sorrento Back Beach is a fantastic location for the snorkelling enthusiast. Species you can expect to encounter here are Port Jackson Sharks, Cat Sharks, Eagle Rays all swimming amongst the large kelp forests. If you look under the ledges you are likely to find highly prized abalone and crayfish.
Mornington Peninsula: Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary
Snorkel this location when conditions are calm as choppy or large swell can make visibility poor and snorkelling conditions hazardous. In the shallow waters here you are likely to encounter marine algae species such as Sea Lettuce, Neptune's Necklace and Red Coralline. Venturing a little deeper(0-4m) you can expect to see Swell Sharks, Cat Sharks, Wobbegongs, violet-coloured Spiky Sea Urchins, Sea Stars in a rainbow of colours, Clingfish and Eagle Rays all meandering among the brown kelp. Among the small sections of seagrass you can expect to see Weed Whiting, Wrasse and Cowfish.
Mornington Peninsula: Flinders Pier
Located in Western Port Bay, Flinders Pier is an ideal location to spot Victoria's marine faunal emblem representative the Weedy Seadragon. You can also expect to sight Black Stingrays, large octopus, nudibanchs, fish and schooling Globefish.
Bellarine Peninsula: St Leonards Pier
The depth here is up to 4 metres so those capable of free diving will be best suited at this site. You are likely to encounter Seahorses, nudibranchs, Old Wives, Globefish, Wrasse, Leatherjackets, Rays, Stargazers and Sea Stars. Try a night snorkel to encounter Cardinal fish, Dumpling squid and Cuttlefish. You may also come face to face with a very large Conger Eel living in the area.