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Home: National Parks: Marine Parks: Marmion MP

Park of the Month - December 2000

Marmion Marine Park

Photograph of a motor boat at the Marmion Marine Park

Marmion Marine Park has great natural beauty and limitless potential for aquatic recreation. The clear shallow lagoons, reefs and small islands provide habitats for seabirds, marine mammals and other remarkably diverse marine life. The reefs are a diver's paradise, forming ledges, caves and swimthroughs. They are inhabited by a wonderful array of fish species and colourful invertebrates. Marmion was the State's first marine park, declared on 13 May 1987.

One the park's jewels is undoubtedly Boyinaboat Reef, which lies at the southern end of a chain of inshore reefs. It is just 75 metres from the sea wall of Hillarys Boat Harbour, and its accessibility and beauty has made it one of the most popular dive sites in Perth. Caverns in the reef provide homes for many fish, including western blue devils, old wives, banded sweep, crested morwong, horseshoe leatherjackets, dusky morwong, truncate coralfish, bullseyes, wrasse and red-striped cardinalfish. The reef top often comes alive with the frantic feeding of large schools of buffalo bream. Blue and orange nudibranchs are common and add to the colour.

Photograph of rock lobstersOffshore from Little Island, sponges, gorgonians, hydroids, sea urchins and sea squirts crowd beneath ledges and into caves, and sea lions laze on the island's beach, sometimes joining divers in the water. The seagrass meadows that grow in sandy areas around the island support a huge range of animals such as bailer shells.

Little Island, North Lump, Wreck Rock, Cow Rocks and many other submerged reefs within the marine park also entice divers. A historic shipwreck lies in the waters of Marmion, as testimony to days when sailing vessels provided an important lifeline. The Centaur was wrecked on the southernmost section of Marmion Reef in 1874, while en route to Fremantle.

Photograph of a sea lion at the Marmion Marine ParkTwo species of marine mammal are common in the park. The bottlenose dolphin can be seen in all areas. Australian sea lions use Little Island as a resting place, and are regularly seen by snorkellers. Humpback whales swim past the park during their migration between breeding areas in the north and feeding areas in Antarctic waters and are sometimes seen in park waters. See our page on whale watching.

Seabirds abound through the park, but the best areas to view them are at Little Island, Burns Rocks, the Trigg Island area and Hillarys Boat Harbour. The beaches are also frequented by birds, including crested and Caspian terns and, of course, the ubiquitous silver gull. Little pied cormorants are often seen in the water or perched, holding their wings out to dry.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Where is it? Marmion Marine Park lies offshore from Perth's northern suburbs, between Trigg Island and Burns Beach.

Travelling time: It is just 20 to 40 minutes drive from the centre of Perth.

Access: Good access to the beach and adjacent parking is available all along West Coast Highway. Boat launching facilities are available at Hillarys Boat Harbour, Ocean Reef Boat Harbour and Mullaloo Point.

Facilities: The marina of Hillarys Boat Harbour has a range of services such as shops and food outlets, as well as fishing and diving supplies. Some beaches are managed by local shires, have picnic and change room facilities and are patrolled by lifeguards. Mettams Pool, a sheltered rock pool, has access for the disabled.

Best Season: Marmion provides good diving throughout the year, depending on daily weather. In summer, morning dives are best, before the afternoon sea breeze arrives, while calm winter days can offer enjoyable diving conditions. Water temperatures are moderate year round.

What to see and do: Boating, surfing, fishing (outside sanctuary zones), windsurfing and swimming are popular and there are numerous boat ramps. Spearfishing is prohibited within 1800 metres of the shore and for divers using underwater breathing equipment. Whale watching and fishing charters leave from the marina, in season. Diving charters operate for most of the year and diving instruction is available. See Dive & Snorkel Sites in Western Australia for mud maps and further information on suggested dive sites, including those below.

  • Boyinaboat Reef
    The stunning Boyinaboat Reef is just 75 metres from the sea wall of Hillarys Boat Harbour and is one of Perth's most popular dive sites. It is in about six metres of water.
  • Little Island
    An underwater nature trail has been provided at Little Island, in about five metres of water. The trail has 10 plaques that describe various aspects of marine ecology. It is suitable for both SCUBA divers and snorkellers.
  • Mettams Pool
    This sheltered pool is a good family spot ideal for the first time snorkeller or for introducing children to snorkelling. It is less than two metres deep inside the pool. There is access for the disabled.
  • North Lump
    This entirely submerged reef offers a rewarding dive within a small area. It has interesting arches, caves and tunnels and excellent invertebrate life.

Nearest CALM Office:
Swan Coastal District.


Home: National Parks: Marine Parks: Marmion MP

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