The direct access point to the picturesque beach at ‘Observatory Point’ reveals the remains of historic Cattle Jetty together with long stretches of sandy beach on which it is perfect to stroll along and absorb the views across Port Phillip Bay, as well as the varying topography of sand dunes and cliff faces. Though the water is incredibly inviting, swimming is not recommended due to the close proximity of the beach to the treacherous and infamous ‘Rip’ – which often produces strong currents and unpredictable waves.
The waters along this shore are part of the ‘Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park’ and ‘Ticonderoga Bay Sanctuary’. Incidentally, the Sanctuary is named after the tragic ship ‘Ticonderoga’ which prompted the opening of the Quarantine Station some 1.5 km to the east.
The ‘Ticonderoga Bay Sanctuary’ is home to a unique species of dolphin known as the ‘Burrunan’ (Tursiops australis) dolphin, which have only recently been identified. These dolphins rarely, if ever, venture outside the sanctuary waters which make them rather vulnerable due to their small, and isolated, population.
‘Burrunan’ dolphins have been found in Port Phillip Bay, the Gippsland Lakes and Tasmania. A relatively recent discovery, science has found them to be genetically divergent from other dolphins, displaying little genetic mixing with others. Further analysis uncovered that the dolphins from the ‘Gippsland Lakes’ and Tasmania are genetically more similar that those in Port Phillip – making the Port Phillip dolphins quite unique. These wonderful dolphins must be jealously protected – boats are not permitted within 200 m of a dolphin in this zone.
So, whilst walking this beautiful beach, keep a sharp eye out for Port Phillip’s unique ‘Burrunan’ dolphin, which is known to often swim close to shore . . .
– Located approximately 3.9 km from the Portsea Town Centre – obtain Directions here
– Accessed from Coles Track
– Located within Point Nepean National Park
– Parking at Gunners Cottage Car Park
– Historic Cattle Jetty c 1879 nearby
– Facilities available at Portsea include:
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