Gannet Rookery and Seal Colony
Merged photo - accurately representing view from inside the enclosure
The ONLY mainland Gannet Rookery found in Australia is located on the tip of Point Danger
a short distance from the city of Portland. These birds are the
overflow from the nearby colony on Lawrence Rocks. During the breeding season their numbers can swell to many hundreds.
Keep an eye out for the gannets feeding. They are majestic in flight and are often seen gliding on air currents above the ocean and then suddenly go into and amazing high speed dive with enough momentum
to carry them several metres below the surface to catch their prey. Their diet consists of
the smaller bait fish that can gather in large schools.
These schools of fish are part of the chain from
tiny Krill right through to Blue Whales, that all feed in the nutrient rich
waters created by the local phenomenon known as the Bonney Upwelling.
The birds are protected from their main predator, the fox, by a fenced
enclosure. During the breeding season they also become victims of the Australian Raven (Crow) which destroys their eggs and can prey on
freshly hatched chicks.
The Fur Seal Colony
The mainland Fur Seal colony that has established at Cape Bridgewater is one of
only a few in Australia. The breeding colony is thought to number some 700
seals, however these numbers vary from day to day, times of the day and season
Viewing them from the cliff tops above can be a uplifting
experience. You will need to keep in mind however that you will be
observing from very near the location of Victoria's highest above sea level
cliffs. This will make the animals appear somewhat smaller than may
have been expected.
Some seals are likely to be in the water while others may be sunning themselves
on the rock ledges or inside the natural cave that is formed underneath the
viewing platform, and out of view.
Take some time to look as you may not
see anything at first glance. Look out further for whales and the
telltale sign of their 'water spout'. You will need to keep
scanning the area and remember that they are usually, but not always, much further out from the cliffs and will surface on average every 10 minutes.
Walking to the seals from the Bridgewater kiosk (see Map) is challenging particularly for
young children and the elderly. A much longer but possibly more scenic and easier
walk (more downhill at the end) is to do a car shuttle, leaving one car at the
kiosk area and drive a second to the Blowholes car park.
You can now begin
the 2.5 to 3 hour walk from the Blowholes via the Petrified Forest
and the Seals and back to where you have left your second car.
For a more close-up encounter Seals by Sea,
a private company, operates boat tours during the peak seasons.