Western Port Bay - Victoria's Other Bay

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The Western Port Bay area consists of rocky platforms, sandy beaches and unique marine habitats.

From mudflats, mangrove swamps, tidal channels and salt marshes to huge sand dunes and dune scrub areas, the 680 sq km region is well worth the visit.

It is a large tidal bay in southern Victoria, Australia, that opens out into Bass Strait. It is also the second largest bay in the state.

The bay is mainly used for recreation, swimming and fishing. There is also a military base, the HMAS Cerebus situated down Flinders way. Large oil production and shipping also are situated near Hastings.

To reach the Western Port Bay holiday villages such as Grantville, Corinella and San Remo it takes around 1 to 1 and 1/2 hrs from Melbourne.

At the eastern entrance to the bay on the mainland, lies the pretty little seaside town of San Remo. Here you will find safe swimming waters with generous stretches of soft sandy beaches line the coast.

A popular event that takes place most days of the week is the daily feeding of the pelicans on the shoreline at the base of the pier.

It is not guaranteed that they will show up every day due to changing weather conditions and the fact that they are a wild bird, feeding time can be a bit of a hit or miss. However most days you will find that they arrive for their tasty treats.

Mangroves in Westernport Bay at Hastings in Victoria, Australia compliments of https://flic.kr/p/98fSsrMangroves in Westernport Bay at Hastings in Victoria, Australia
westernport bay map

Map Of Western Port Bay
Victoria - Australia

Within Western Port Bay there are the Islands of...

  • Phillip Island
  • French Island
  • Churchill Island

All offer the public great opportunities to learn about the unique fauna and flora that are specific to this area of Victoria, Western Port Bay.

Sometimes there is the added bonus of seeing and feeding a school of stingrays.

Depending on the tides and the time of day, the weather conditions and the seasons, there is the possibility that you may also get to view the many stingrays that come into the bay.

These swim into shore through the pier's pylons and come right up to the shoreline. Feeding them is quite an exciting sight. The time we witnessed this I was amazed how close the feeder can get with their hand. They hold the food out in the flat of their palm and feed the stingray as it glides over their hand. Not something for the feint hearted to do.

If you want to get up close and personal then check out Out There Outdoor Activities, let them know that Family Getaways melbourne sent you

From San Remo you then head on over Western Port Bay by the bridge onto Phillip Island where there is so much to see and do such as ...

  • watching the nightly ritual of the the fairy penguins
  • visiting some of the koalas and kangaroos on the island
  • sampling some delicious chocolates
  • driving a racing track
  • survive a paintball attack
  • kayak the open Westernport waters
  • cruise on out to see the seals
  • get lost in a maze

Phillip Island

Phillip Island is a popular destination for day trips, holiday makers and tourists

On this wonderful Western Port Bay Island you will find sheltered swimming coves, clear waters to explore the shallow rock pools that surround the island and an amazing marine underwater wonderland.

The north, east and western shores of the island are great for a relaxing time with the family.

For seaside Picnics and BBQ's and playground fun and games, the beautiful township of Cowes is fantastic.

Cowes Jetty Phillip IslandCowes Jetty Phillip Island,Victoria

The southern shores of the island are great for Ocean fishing, Surfing the wild waves and long beachcoming walks.

Climb the huge sand dunes and take in the breathtaking beauty of Bass Straight.

There are unique animal sanctuaries in, on and around the island:

  • Fairy Penguins
  • Fur Seal colonies
  • Mutton bird roosts
  • A Koala Sanctuary
  • Unique migratory bird colonies provide a great up close and personal experience for all the family.

Approximately 120 kms from Melbourne off the Bass Highway you can access this Island from the mainland at San Remo and by ferry from Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsular.

Churchill Island

The other island on Western Port Bay is Churchill Island and this small piece of land is connected by bridge to Phillip Island. It is the site for the 1st European Settlement in Victoria and of great significance to Victorian Heritage. It's shoreline is an interesting place to visit as the Churchill Island Marine National Park surrounds the island.

On the island you will discover some of Victoria's early history along with ...

  • restored farmhouses
  • cottages with fragrant cottager gardens and lawns
  • a working farm with outhouse
  • world class wetlands
  • Visitors' centre
  • Venue for corporate functions and weddings
  • Licenced Cafe
Blacksmith's Forge on Churchill Island Westernport Bay Victoria Australia compliments of http://www.flickr.com/photos/glittercake/4982551540/Blacksmith's Forge on Churchill Island Westernport Bay Victoria Australia

The Farm on the island is open to the public where you are able to interact with the animals and learn all about the area.

Interesting migratory bird life can be found here, so many species roost, breed and feed in this very specific habitat. A great place for a picnic, a family excursion or just a simple relaxing experience.

French Island

In Western Port Bay this island only has a few inhabitants who live on it. They maintain the island's flora and fauna, species that are found in no other part of the world.

You are able to access the island by barge from Stoney Point and Cowes.

french island in western port bayMangroves flats on French Island in Western Port Bay, Victoria, Australia

Fishing in these waters is restricted and for more accurate information as to where, when and why visit this website

Close to 22,000ha and surrounded by the diverse and unique French Island National Marine Park, the island is home to some amazing wildlife not to mention very unique flora and fauna both in and out of the water.

A raw experience if you enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Explore Western Port Bay And Phillip Island The Easy Way

Western Port Bay along with Phillip Island is an amazing place to discover. If you are considering touring the island then you might like to take a look at these selected tours from my travel Affiliate Partner, Viator.

They offer excellent value for your money and quite a range of unique touring experiences. Sit back and relax while all the arrangements are made for you.

French Island & Phillip Island Wildlife Expedition

French-Island-and-Phillip-Island-Wildlife-ExpeditionFrench Island and Phillip Island Wildlife Expedition

Panoramic ocean views, wildlife encounters, ocean cruises, nature walks and journeys to regional Victorian towns are just a few of the highlights from this jam-packed day tour to French Island and Penguin Island.

Travelling from Melbourne, the first leg of the adventure will take you across Western Port Bay to French Island for a 4WD tour, lunch at a farm gate and the chance to observe koalas in their natural habitat.

Phillip Island is the second destination - home to the world famous Penguin Parade and stunning coastlines as far as the eye can see.

You’ll take an afternoon stroll along Nobbies Boardwalk to soak in the breathtaking ocean views and explore the town of Cowes before settling in for an unforgettable evening with the Penguins.

Expert commentary really brings this wildlife encounter to life with fascinating tales about these gorgeous animals and why they call Phillip Island home. Melbourne's island hopping adventure is available on weekdays and is an adventure you'll always remember with once in a lifetime wildlife encounters and beautiful sights all day long.

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Please note that some links on this page are to companies that I have an affiliation with. By that I mean that if you purchase a product through them I receive a very small commission. This way of earning income is termed Monetization and it is a way for me to keep my site out here for you to enjoy. I will only affiliate with companies that I feel offer value for money and excellent back up service. These are Companies that I personally have used to purchase products for myself, my family and my friends. To learn more please refer to my Disclaimer page

From the shores of the western side of Western Port Bay you can see French Island and Phillip Island.

The beaches along here are a delight to swim at as the waters are clear and clean. Some of these beaches are excellent for surfing such as Point Leo, Flinders and Somers. Less mangroves grow on this side of the bay.

Merricks creek inletMerricks creek inleton Westernport Bay in Victoria, Australia

The sands are soft and you can walk the long stretches of coastline for miles. Gentle high rolling hills, tall Norfolk Pines, high cliff faces and that unique Australian bushland, makes this side of the Bay a joy to explore.

The Township of Hastings on Western Port Bay makes for an interesting diversion for a perfect picnic. With large open parkland areas, great kids playgrounds, an indoor Aquatic Center and the unique experience of feeding the Pelicans, what a great way to enjoy the day.

flinders pier western port bayFlinders Pier situated on Western Port Bay

"I grew up as a teenager holidaying in the tidal inlet of WarneetFrom here we would take off in the boats to Cowes on Phillip Island.

We would pass by the huge Oil Refinery and Port at Hastings, past the Cerebus Naval Depot around French Island and all the time dodging the huge tankers and shallow mudflats. We needed to be conscious of the tides as the only way to get back home was on the incoming tide.

What was obvious to me was that when you were out on the Western Port Bay waters, you do get a true indication of how vast this area really is. From the mudflats with their millions of crabs, to some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets that nature can provide, experience the Western Port Bay and its Beaches. You will never be disappointed."
Family Getaways Melbourne

Great white shark- attribution Kurzon / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)Great white shark size comparison to man

One of my Tips on Beach Safety, is to remain alert when swimming, always a good thing as there are lots of different and sometimes dangerous marine creatures that you will find in this region.

Watch out for the sharks

Occasionally one of these incredible eating machines finds its way into the bay.

"When I was a teenager I personally watched my Mum pull a 4 foot shark into our fishing boat on one of our holiday trips.
Don't know what type it was but I do remember scrambling up the other end of the boat as it thrashed about on the deck."

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