Visitors to the Mornington Peninsula are often entertained by large groups of dolphins frolicking in the waters of Port Phillip Bay. This can be the perfect outing if you are sharing your group accommodation with overseas visitors, whether they be distant relations gathering on the Peninsula for a family event, good friends from past travels, or even work associates from the overseas office attending your Corporate Retreat. Here we introduce you to these beautiful acquatic mammals, including information on dolphin swims, dolphin watching charters, and regulations.
Operating from Sorrento, The Polperro takes visitors out on the Bay to experience dolphins and seals up close. You can choose either to view from the deck, or don one of the provided wetsuits and get in amongst the dolphins. 3-4 hour tours operate from Sorrento pier at 8am and midday during the warmer months. Bookings are essential and tours are weather dependent. This is the longest running commercial dolphin swim operation on the Bay.
Also operating out of Sorrento, Moonraker operates dolphin and seal swims between November and April at 9am and 1pm. Dolphin and Seal sightseeing is offered year round, with a capacity of up to 30 on board their vessel. Once again bookings are essential, and if you don’t see a dolphin on your tour, you can make use of their dolphin guarantee: come back within the next 3 months for free!
Why not combine a crossing to Queenscliff and the Bellarine Peninsula with some incidental dolphin watching. The Port Phillip Bay Bottlenose Dolphins can often be spotted surfing the bow waves of the ferry that takes cars and passengers between Sorrento pier and Queenscliff. There are even options to combine the crossing with lunch either on board the ferry, or fish & chips at Roro Café in Queenscliff.
If you are feeling active, and want to experience the coves and tranquil coastline in a quiet eco-friendly vessel, then you must experience the beauty of the Point Nepean National Park from a kayak. Run by BayPlay Adventure Tours, you are likely to encounter dolphins, seals and penguins. The tours run for 3 hours from Portsea, with a 9am start.
It’s ok for a dolphin or whale to approach you, but not the other way around.
Observe the “no go” zones:
– recreational boats cannot get closer than 100m of a dolphin (200m of a whale)
– jet skis are not allowed closer than 300m of either dolphin or whale
For more information check out the information from the Dolphin Research Institute.
In 2011, PhD candidate Kate Charlton-Robb discovered a distinct species of bottlenose dolphin living in Port Phillip Bay. Named the Burunnan dolphin (Tursiops australis), there are approximately 150 individuals in two locations: Port Phillip Bay and the Gippsland Lakes.