There are many reasons why the marine environment at Corner Inlet is special. Tucked into the northern part of Wilsons Promontory, Corner Inlet is a forgotten gem of the Victorian coast. Its sheltered waters are almost completely surrounded by the granite hills of ‘the Prom’, the yellow dunes of Yanakie, the green rolling Strzelecki hills, and the low-lying islands of Nooramunga.
What are the key natural values of the area?
- On a calm day the water develops an oily sheen, disturbed only by the occasional penguin, a diving cormorant, or a pod of dolphins.
- On shallow mud banks, attractive seagrass meadows beckon beneath the surface waters.
- It is the most easterly, and consequently the warmest, of Victoria’s large bays.
- It has a complex network of mangroves, saltmarsh, mud banks, seagrass beds, rocky islands and deeper channels.
- All four of Victoria’s embayment seagrasses form extensive beds here.
- Corner Inlet supports huge numbers of migratory water birds and healthy populations of seafloor animals and plants that are rare or absent elsewhere in Victoria.
- Corner Inlet is the only place in Victoria where the Broad-leaved seagrass (Posidonia) forms large meadows. Growing up to a metre in length, this seagrass is one of the world’s largest. Its beds are a very important habitat; stabilising the sediment and providing shelter and food for many other creatures including a range of large crabs, multicoloured seastars, sea snails, tiny iridescent squid and many fish from pipefish, stingarees, flathead, whiting and flounder.
- However, the broad-leaved seagrass is also one of the most vulnerable species of seagrass. Once common right around Corner Inlet, large beds are now restricted to three banks towards the south. Seedlings are rare; instead the plant spreads across the mud banks via sub-surface roots. Posidonia seagrass beds have the poorest recovery rates of any coastal habitats known. For example, tracks made by vehicles over beds in South Australia’s Spencer Gulf in the 1910s are still clearly visible today. Sand ‘blow-outs’ are a regular feature of Posidonia beds and may persist for decades.
Marine Protected Areas:
Corner Inlet Marine National Park
Corner Inlet Ramsar Site
Corner Inlet Marine and Coastal Park
Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park