Depth: 3 m (9.84 ft) to 12 m (39 ft)
This area is famous for its diversity of marine life and has attracted scientists for over 100 years. The intertidal soft-sediment is an important feeding and roosting habitat for many birds. When searching the rock pools one can find many crabs, multicoloured cushion seastars, numerous species of snails and delicate anemones.
The seafloor (2 to 3 metres) is covered with canopy-forming brown algae and patches of seagrass which attract many species of fish such as morwongs, wrasse, cowfish and Victoria's marine emblem, the Weedy Seadragon among the seagrass and kelp. If you're lucky you may be able to spot a Black and White Seastar. This amazing creature is one of only two seastars known to brood its young in its stomach.
The area supports ascidians, gorgonian fans, sponges and corals. Crayfish inhabit rocky crevices, and the subtidal reefs include abalone and sea urchin habitat.
Marine mammals that may pass through the sanctuary include Dolphins, Killer Whales and the threatened Australian Fur Seal, Humpback Whale and Southern Right Whale. All whales and dolphins are protected.
Mushroom Reef is popular with snorkellers at high tide. The sanctuary provides excellent opportunities for underwater diving around spectacular subtidal reefs which are easily accessed from the shore at low tide across the causeway. While there is a heap to see on this 65% subtidal reef, however, caution is needed as it's an unpatrolled ocean beach with strong currents. Basic safety precautions should always be practised.
Because diving and snorkelling equipment can be a vector for marine pests, it should be thoroughly cleaned and dried before being used in the sanctuary.
All forms of extraction, including recreational and commercial fishing and the collection of living or dead organisms and natural driftwood, are prohibited within the sanctuary. The feeding of animals, including fish and birds, is not permitted in the Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary.
Two limestone caves in the cliffs adjacent to the sanctuary in the Mornington Peninsula National Park are likely to contain evidence of the earliest phase of European settlement at Flinders, which was associated with sealing and whaling (Luebbers 1998). There is an oral history of the shipwreck of the Bismarck in 1901 on a subtidal reef now known as Bismarck Reef, adjacent to the sanctuary's southern boundary (E. Lucas pers. comm.).
Dive Type: Shore Dive
Imported from The Scuba Doctor