Beagle Marine Park
Although named after a sailing ship (the Beagle, which brought Charles Darwin to Australian waters in 1836), the Beagle Marine Park was once dry land which made up part of a land bridge to Tasmania.
Indigenous people lived in this area and travelled along the land bridge.
As the last ice-age ended (about 10,000 years ago), glaciers melted and sea levels rose, isolating Tasmania.
Higher parts of the land bridge are now Bass Strait islands, including:
Many of these places continue to be culturally significant for Aboriginal communities.
Beagle Marine Park protects rocky reefs and diverse, colourful sponge gardens, and is an important foraging area for seabirds that breed on the islands.
The marine park covers 2928 square kilometres. Waters in the park are quite shallow (around 50 metres to 70 metres), not surprising given its past as a land bridge.
It is designated as a Multiple Use zone.
Today, the main way to visit Beagle Marine Park is by private vessel.
Beagle Marine Park surrounds Hogan and Kent island groups, and the Kent Group Marine Reserve, a Tasmanian marine park that offers spectacular diving and underwater photography with its clear waters and high diversity of marine life.
Parks Australia supports research to improve our understanding of marine parks. We love finding out what researchers have discovered, especially when it’s as exciting as a huge group of Port Jackson sharks.
In July 2017 a research team studying rocky reefs in Beagle Marine Park filmed hundreds of Port Jackson sharks resting on the seafloor among the sponges.
Researcher Neville Barrett from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies described this as the largest gathering of these sharks he had ever seen.
You can read more about this exciting discovery and see a film of the research on the Integrated Marine Observing System website.
Click on the map below to see what you can do in the Beagle Marine Park.
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