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National parks & reserves

Port Phillip

13 1963

Covering 1,950 square kilometres, Port Phillip is the entrance to Australia's busiest port and is one of Victoria's most popular recreational destinations. Although Port Phillip is commonly referred to as 'the Bay' or 'Port Phillip Bay', Port Phillip is actually not a bay at all. It's a local port area that is actually made up of over 16 bays.

Every year millions of people enjoy its vast coastline, world-class swimming beaches and coastal parks. An entirely different perspective however is available to those who explore Port Phillip by boat. Island, shipwrecks and marine reserves dot Port Phillip, while scuba diving and fishing reveal the colourful diversity of Port Phillip's marine life.

Over 3.2 million people live around its shore, making Port Phillip Australia's most densely populated catchment. Port Phillip is a large expanse of water that is surprisingly shallow in many places. Nearly half of Port Phillip is less than 8 metres deep. Its greatest depth is 24 metres.

Studies show that Port Phillip is a dynamic and self sustaining ecosystem which is healthier and cleaner than comparable bays near large cities. The shallowness of the water aids aeration and the many marine plants and organisms keep Port Phillip in good condition.

Before you go
Conditions can change in parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website.

Be bushfire ready in the great outdoors. Refer to the Bushfire Safety section on the Parks Victoria website for tips on how to stay safe.

Content: Parks Victoria

More info

Local directions:

Take the Princes Freeway from Melbourne to Geelong then the Bellarine Highway to reach Bellarine Peninsula piers, jetties and destinations. Take St Kilda Road/Nepean Highway or Princes Highway/Springvale Road from Melbourne to reach Mornington Peninsula destinations.

  • Car park
  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing - Beach
  • Seakayaking
  • Sailing
  • Snorkelling
  • Wind surfing
  • Swimming
  • Self guided