The coast examined in detail
book is a guide for readers who are curious about what they see along the
coast. What are the animals and plants that live along the shore? How
were the rock layers in the cliffs formed? What
was this place like 150 years ago? Who used this decrepit jetty?
The core of the
book takes a journey around the coast, beginning on
Mornington Peninsula's ocean shore at Point Nepean then
heading east towards Flinders. It covers all of the Western Port
coast around to San Remo as Well as the shores of Phillip Island and French
Island. This 320 kilometre shoreline offers a variety of
scenery, from the magnificent cliffs
of Cape Schanck and Cape Woolamai to
the quiet backwaters at the top of Western Port.
Just seventy kilometres from Melbourne, French Island can feel almost as
remote as the outback, while nearby
Cowes on Phillip Island is abuzz in
introductory chapter gives a brief overview of early history
relating to the coast. There are traces of
thousands of years of Aboriginal occupation of the area. You can tread in the
footsteps of explorers like George Bass and early French navigators, and see
the site of Victoria's second prison
settlement at Corinella. You may be interested in remnants of early industries
including salt making and granite quarrying, and tourism hot spots of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
like Sorrento and Flinders.
Most of the
rock outcrops around Western Port are geologically young, but Cape Woolamai is
formed from Devonian granite around 370 million years old. The chapter on
landforms will point out these granites, as well as the
solidified lava of volcanoes and sedimentary rocks deposited by ancient rivers and seas.
Western Port is renowned for its wildlife and there
are wonderful places where nature thrives. Visitors come to Phillip Island especially to
see little penguins, seals and thousands of nesting short-tailed
shearwaters. Almost all of the waters of Western Port are protected for migratory wading birds which feed on its vast mud
flats. Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary, and French Island, Yaringa,
Churchill Island and Port Phillip Heads Marine National Parks protect
many kinds of sea and shore creatures. Belts of mangroves and wide saltmarshes
may seem unappealing at first,
but they will reward any efforts you make to appreciate them. The pictures
in the chapter on animals and plants will help you to identify the species you
are most likely to see.