Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park is Victoria’s largest Marine Protected Area at 15,550ha. It extends along 17km of mainland coastline and is located around the southern tip of Wilsons Promontory. The coastline here is absolutely stunning, with beautiful sandy beaches, granite mountains and cliffs with a backdrop of rugged picturesque offshore islands.
There is a huge diversity of marine life within the waters at the Prom. Brilliantly coloured fish are present such as the Red Velvetfish, Eastern Blue Groper and wrasse as well as Leafy Seadragons and schools of Barber Perch. Intertidal molluscs such as limpets and snails, as well as anemones, brittlestars and seastars, are also common within the waters.
Divers will experience fascinating sponge gardens which consist of a technicoloured assemblage of sponges, sea tulips, sea whips, lace corals and seafans. Octopus emerge at night whilst sharks and rays roam the sandy areas. The offshore islands support many colonies of fur seals and oceanic birds such as Little Penguins, Fairy Prions, Silver Gulls and Pacific Gulls.
The Prom is a diverse dive destination with different animals and plants found on either side.
There is also the chance to discover aspects of Victoria’s maritime history on dives to a number of shipwrecks such as the Cheviot, Lady Mildred (1909) and the SS Gulf of Carpentaria.
Some commercial operators provide access to some of the more remote dive locations.
In deeper areas under ledges or in caves are fascinating sponge 'gardens'. These are dominated by huge sponges, sea-fans, bright orange, blue or grey lace coral colonies, coloured sea tulips and beds of long, slender sea whips. With this deeper water, kelp forest fish species give way to schools of pink Barber Perch and then Butterfly Perch. Boarfish forage amongst the deep crevices and giant octopuses venture out of the rocks at night. A variety of rays and sharks occupy the sandy areas.
The offshore islands support several colonies of Australian Fur Seals and many oceanic birds, including little penguins, short tailed shearwaters, fairy prions, silver gulls and Pacific gulls. Kanowna Island is one of the four breeding colonies of Australian for seal in Victoria. Seals have pups in November and December and at this time Great White Sharks frequent waters adjacent to the pupping areas.
Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park is vital to the recovery of White Shark populations, decimated in most of the rest of the country and the world.