Ocean Grove is a lively seaside resort town on the Bellarine Peninsula in the South West Coast region of Victoria. This guide also covers the smaller town of Barwon Heads, located just across the river from Ocean Grove.
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Home of the ABC television 'Seachange' program with a children-friendly safe estuary beach and rugged ocean beaches such as 13th Beach for the more intrepid. Barwon Heads has long been a summer holiday destination for Victorian families. Barwon Heads sits on the lower Barwon River Estuary where it enters Bass Strait. This estuary and the extensive Lake Connewarre wetlands to the north form a wetland of international significance and is part of the Port Phillip (Western Shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar site because of its importance to both migratory and resident wetland and shorebird species. Where the river meets the sea is one of the coasts most dominant features, the calcarenite Barwon Bluff, also known as Mt. Colite, an important place for local Indigenous Victorians for thousands of years, and a beacon for the nearby entrance to Port Phillip Bay for navigators. The Bluff has been actively restored and revegetated from a degraded site, including a gravel car park, into a haven for nature by many volunteers, local managers, and school students. Beneath the Bluff lies the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary, a 17 hectare reserve which aims to protect the rich intertidal reefs and the diversity of life they support, both above and below the water. Rich kelp forests cover the much of the sub-tidal reefs that have been carved and weathered by the surging southern swells. Large schools of reef fish are often found amongst the kelp while a rich diversity of invertebrates can be found on the reef. The site is a popular destination for students investigating local marine life and the local Marine Discovery Centre in Queenscliff (52583344) also conduct holiday activity programs here. The Marine Sanctuary is one of 11 Marine Sanctuaries and 13 Marine National Parks in Victoria set aside to provide protection of representative and significant areas of the sates rich and diverse temperate marine environments. These areas are managed by Parks Victoria / and like National Parks are fully protected from all forms of extractive or harmful activities. Fishing is not permitted in the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary or any other Marine National Parks or Marine Sanctuaries and penalties apply to offenders.