Coolart Wetlands and Homestead
Address: Lord Somers Rd, Somers, Victoria 3927
Freecall: 131 963
Coolart's historic mansion is set in a delightful garden with wetlands, woodlands and pasture nearby. Paths take you to the beach, lagoon and wetlands.
Things to do
- Take a woodland walk and look for koalas
- Go birdwatching. Birds can be seen everywhere at Coolart with different species found in each of the distinct habitats. Winter and spring are the most spectacular seasons when over 1000 Australian white ibis and other waterbirds congregate on the lagoon to breed
- Picnic on the lawns or use the wood or electric barbeques. If the weather is cold or wet please enquire about the Stables picnic area
- Explore the old out buildings and imagine what life was like when you had to make your own butter
- Stroll through the beautiful gardens and discover unusual exotic plants or to the beach for views of Phillip Island and Westernport
- A slide show, 'Introducing Coolart', is shown each day in the Wetlands Observatory (1:30 PM weekdays and 2:00 PM weekends)
- Junior Ranger Certificate activities are available - these are parent-guided activities for children - just ask at the Visitor Centre for 'Let's Go Around The Farm' and 'Let's Go Beachcombing'.
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
Coolart is open 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday. Access is via Lord Somers Road, Somers. Melways ref: 193 J9.
- Shaded Area
- Visitor Information Centre
Additional business information
Coolart has a large diversity of wildlife despite its relatively small size. It has nine species of frog, including the increasingly rare Growling Grass Frog. Thirteen species of mammal ranging in size from the tiny, mouse-sized Agile Antechinus to the large Swamp Wallaby. There are eleven species of reptile including the Common Long-necked Tortoise, Blue-tongue Lizard, Copperhead, White-lipped Snake and several species of skinks. Birds are the most numerous of the larger wildlife and 177 species have been recorded. Eight species of fish and four crustaceans have been found in the waterways.
The original inhabitants of Coolart were the Bunurong tribe of Aborigines and it is from the word "Colourt" or "Callert" - their name for nearby Sandy Point - that the present name of Coolart is derived. In 1895, Frederick Sheppard Grimwade bought the estate and built the imposing homestead as the family's country retreat. Between 1907 and 1937 Coolart was held at different times by Thomas Armstrong, James Balmain and John Sylvester Feehan. The late Tom Luxton purchased the property in 1937 and immediately had the property declared a sanctuary for native wildlife and embarked upon a program of habitat development. The 87 hectare nucleus of the Coolart area was purchased by the Victorian State Government in 1977 and it was proclaimed as a reserve for "Conservation and Education Purposes".
The varied vegetation is the key to the wildlife diversity at Coolart. The property consists of different plant communities including manna gum/banksia woodland, grassland, paperbark swamps and wetlands of sedges, reeds and rushes.
Activities and attractions