Boat Tours

Explore and Learn all about the Bay!

With Bayplay, you can take your school group on a beautiful Port Phillip Bay cruise and learn all about the Bay's history and settlement, as well as about our local and rare Marine Life!

Bottlenose Dolphins, Weedy Sea Dragons, Australasian Fur Seals, Blue Devils, Nudibranchs... Port Phillip Bay offers a unique array of marine species you can discover on a cruise, a snorkel or even a scuba dive!

We can tailor the cruise and talks to suit your group's needs, budget and curriculum. From History to Biology, Geography, Outdoor Education or any Science Class, we can customize all our program to different curricula.

Heritage

Port Phillip's piers, jetties, islands and marine reserves have a rich history of settlement, recreation, fishing and defence for Victoria. Shipwrecks date from the early days of settlement and development. Long before the network of roads grew around the perimeter, people traversed the Bay by steam and sail. The Bay's piers and jetties, many of which have been extended and rebuilt since their construction in the 1860s to 1890s, have been integral for travel and trade. Piers, such as those at Queenscliff and Portarlington, were used by paddle steamers in the days of early recreation. The piers were also used to transport a range of materials, including timber and lime, from the Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne.

 

The quieter bayside beaches of this scenic township contain shallows and rockpools and tidal rock shelves for exploration while the ocean beach offers a majestic stretch of white sand to Barwon heads. Point Lonsdale's lookout provides dress circle seats for viewing vessels negotiating the notorious passage of water at Port Phillip Heads known as "the Rip". The Point Lonsdale Pier was built in the late 1890s to assist in the retrieval of people from ships wrecked coming through the Rip.

Founded in 1882, Queenscliff is the unchallenged "capital" of the Bellarine Peninsula and features the Queenscliff Harbour, built in 1934. The pier and lifeboat shed were an integral part of the infrastructure provided to improve the safety for ships entering or leaving Port Phillip Bay. Many lives were saved though the efforts of the crews that manned the lifeboat, which is now located in the Queenscliffe Maritime Museum.

The South Channel Fort is a reminder of Port Phillip Bay's early history as part of the defence lines for Melbourne. The artificial island was constructed in the 1880s to illuminate the channel at night and electronically explode mines under attacking ships coming through the Heads. A system of antiquated gun emplacements and tunnels are a feature of the island which is now a significant refuge for seabirds. The Popes Eye was initially proposed for defence purposed, however the partially constructed artificial island was never completed.

The South Channel Pile Light is one of the most recognisable features in the Bay. The 'cottage style' lighthouse was completed in 1874 and was occupied by lighthouse keepers until the early 1900s. The light was finally switched off in 1985, having operated as a navigational beacon for some 111 years.

Point Nepean is located 95km from Melbourne and 1km west of Portsea and makes up the eastern headland at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. Since the 1850s, Point Nepean has been off limits to the general public; first as a Quarantine Station for arriving immigrants, and later as a military fortification.

In Australia's Bicentennial year of 1988, 300 hectares of previous Commonwealth Land at Point Nepean was transferred to the State of Victoria to become part of Mornington Peninsula National Park. Point Nepean has since become a popular tourist destination, featuring Cheviot Beach, Point Nepean Bay and Fort Nepean which dates back to the 1880s. A Visitor Centre is located at the entrance to Point Nepean, about a kilometre west of the Portsea shopping centre.

 

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