For James Murphy, Sea All Dolphin Swims is more than just a business. He and his team provide authentic and exhilarating wildlife experiences and do their bit to help conserve the Bellarine's natural ecosystems.
Guests have the opportunity to come face to face with wild seals and dolphins, among other local wildlife. The business also aims to increase marine advocacy and awareness. 'I love where I live. I love the Bellarine and every one of its incredible beaches and marine ecosystems,' James says.
Discover James's top spots to explore, on and off the water, in the Bellarine region.
1. The rock pools at Point Lonsdale
These rock pools are wonderful to explore at low tide. James takes his kids to play here as often as he can, and he loves the pools as much as they do. In the right conditions, the area is well worth a snorkel or scuba dive.
2. Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park
This marine protected area sits between the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas. It's home to a diverse range of habitats and marine flora and fauna. A must-do for nature lovers, Pope's Eye is a bluestone structure a short boat ride from Queenscliff, and provides the perfect opportunity to see Australasian gannets and a vast array of fish species. 'This reef is known to hold up to 80 percent of Victoria's marine species, and it is more rich in biodiversity than the Great Barrier Reef.' Witness the diverse marine activity at Pope's Eye for yourself, as part of a Sea All Dolphin Swims tour.
3. Ocean Grove Main Beach
James reckons this family-friendly beach is the best on both the Bellarine and the Surf Coast for those wishing to dip their toes into the world of surfing. The gentle sloping sand of 'Mains' creates excellent beginner waves, making it safe for child and adult learners alike.
4. The Barwon River
This picturesque inlet is the perfect place to bring kids. James recommends heading to the Ocean Grove side of the river, which offers protection from the summer sea breezes. Bring a kayak or paddleboard and while away the hours on a summer's afternoon.
5. 360 Observational Tower in Queenscliff Harbour
If you're new to Queenscliff Harbour, this free-to-access tower is the place to start. Ascend for views across Port Phillip and Swan Bays, and peruse the tower's digital exhibits on the area's history. You might be lucky enough to spot dolphins or 2-metre-wide stingrays, hunting for scraps from fishers. 'Queenscliff Harbour also has some of the best restaurants on the Bellarine, including 360Q, and the freshest seafood available where you can buy it straight off the boat,' James says. 'All only a stone's throw from the Queenscliff ferry terminal.'