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The Central Victoria Marine Bioregion*

This bioregion extends from Apollo Bay to Cape Liptrap (west of Wilsons Promontory).

What characteristics distinguish this bioregion?

  • Moderate wave height.
  • Relatively slow ocean currents.
  • Steep shorelines and cliffs.
  • As you move offshore, the seafloor gradient drops away relatively quickly.
  • Sea-surface water temperatures that are typical of Bass Strait.
  • The marine plant and animal communities are complex. Some plant and animal species typically found in waters to the west have their eastern distribution limit towards Wilsons Promontory. Other species common in New South Wales have their western distribution limit within this region. Others still are part of a ‘central' group that don't occur beyond the eastern or western limits of the region.

What are some of the significant natural values of the bioregion?

  • Seafloor meadows of rhodoliths, an unusual marine plant that resemble small rocks, occur in deeper water near Anglesea.
  • The very high diversity of seaweeds in the Bunurong area (near Inverloch).
  • Highly diverse sponge ‘gardens' in the deeper waters off Kennett River, Aireys Inlet, and Point Addis.
  • The nesting colony of Little Penguins at Phillip Island and breeding colony of Australian Fur Seals at nearby Seal Rocks.

Marine Protected Areas in the region

Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary
Point Addis Marine Sanctuary
Point Danger Marine Sanctuary
Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park
Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary
Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary
Bunurong Marine National Park
Bunurong Marine Park

* What is a marine bioregion?

A marine bioregion is a large area of the sea that, through the complex interaction of ocean currents, wave energy, seawater temperature, seafloor geology and geography, displays a distinct grouping or pattern of marine plant and animal communities and species.
For example, the plant and animal species and the habitats that dominate the warm waters of the Twofold bioregion in eastern Victoria are very different to those found in the cold, open waters of the Otway bioregion in the west.
The map on the home page suggests that marine bioregions appear to be divided into distinct areas with clearly defined boundaries, but the boundaries between them are dynamic and not hard lines.
The ocean waters on Australia's continental shelf have been classified into 60 marine bioregions. Victoria's coastal waters span 5 of these regions.