Get to know James Murphy, director of Sea All Dolphin Swims as he shares his top spots in the Bellarine.
For James Murphy, Sea All Dolphin Swims is more than just a business. He and his team provide authentic and exhilarating wildlife experiences and do their bit to help conserve the Bellarine's natural ecosystems.
Guests have the opportunity to come face to face with wild seals and dolphins, among other local wildlife. The business also aims to increase marine advocacy and awareness.
'I love where I live, I love the Bellarine and every one of its incredible beaches and marine ecosystems,' James says.
Discover the best places to explore on and off the water, as he shares his top spots in the Bellarine region.
These rock pools are wonderful to explore at low tide. James takes his kids to play here every day he can and he loves the pools as much as they do. In the right conditions, the area is well worth a snorkel or scuba dive.
This marine protected area sits between the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas. It's home to a diverse range of habitats and marine flora and fauna. One spot James cites as a must-do for nature lovers is Pope Eye. This man-made bluestone structure is a short boat ride from the town of Queenscliff, and provides the perfect opportunity to see Australasian Gannets and a vast array of fish species below the water. 'This reef is known to hold up to 80% of Victoria's marine species and it is more rich in biodiversity than the Great Barrier Reef.' Witness the diverse marine activity at Pope Eye for yourself, as part of a Sea All Dolphin Swims tour.
James reckons this family-friendly beach is the best on both the Bellarine and the Surf Coast for those wishing to dip their toes into the world of surfing. The gentle sloping sand of 'Mains' creates excellent beginner waves, making it safe for child and adult learners alike.
This picturesque inlet is the perfect place to bring kids. James recommends heading to the Ocean Grove side of the river, which offers protection from the summer sea breezes. Bring a kayak or paddleboard and while away the hours on a lazy summer's afternoon.
If you're new to Queenscliff Harbour, this free-to-access tower is the place to start. Ascend for views across Port Phillip Bay and Swan Bay, and to peruse the tower's digital exhibits on the area's history. You might be lucky enough to spot dolphins or 2-metre-wide stingrays, hunting for scraps from fishermen. 'Queenscliff Harbour also has some of the best restaurants on the Bellarine, including 360Q, and the freshest seafood available where you can buy it straight of the boat,' James says. 'All only a stone's throw from the Queenscliff ferry terminal.'
"Our region has diversity, it has space and it is honest. It is a place where what you see is what you get — true people, real places and authentic experiences."
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