Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park
The Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park, established in 2005, is the largest marine park in NSW, covering approximately 98,200 hectares of marine, estuarine and coastal habitats, and extends south from the Cape Hawke Surf Life Saving Club near Forster to Birubi Beach Surf Life Saving Club at the northern end of Stockton Beach.
The Marine Park includes all of Port Stephens and the Karuah River, the Myall River, Myall and Smiths Lakes and all of their creeks and tributaries to the limit of tidal influence.
The marine park has several unique features, including:
- the Port Stephens estuary, which is the largest drowned river valley in NSW and includes the largest areas of mangrove and saltmarsh in NSW;
- Myall Lakes, internationally recognized and the largest system of coastal brackish lakes in NSW;
- Smiths Lake, the largest intermittent coastal lagoon (ICOLL) in the State;
- Broughton Island, the second largest offshore island in NSW after Lord Howe;
- The only known breeding sites of the endangered Gould’s petrel (right), on Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah Islands; and
- Three major aggregation sites for the critically endangered grey nurse shark at Broughton Island, Big and Little Seal Rocks, and the Pinnacle.
Additionally, much of the marine park is adjacent to national park, providing protection from land-based impacts and a continuous land-sea protected area.
The warm East Australian Current (EAC) waters mix with the cooler southerly waters in the park allowing a diverse range of flora and fauna to exist in the marine park. Over 600 species of fish are supported here, including the endangered grey nurse shark, and the vulnerable great white shark and black cod. Both common and bottlenose dolphins are regularly seen throughout the marine park, as well as a number of whale species.
Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park Education Kit Downloads
Introduction 1.12 MB
Module 3: Estuaries 2.42 MB
Module 4: Sea Country 2.66 MB
Please contact us to request a copy of the education kit on CD-Rom or for further information about taking your students on a marine parks school excursion. The CD-Rom includes resources for all six marine parks.