IN an era where government cost-cutting seems to be the norm, south-west Victorian holidaymakers can still enjoy free state-sponsored coastal and marine conservation programs.
Activities organised by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI), Parks Victoria, catchment management authorities, Coastcare and other local volunteers will run for almost two months from New Year’s Eve to February 23.
The south-west program starts with a rockpool ramble at Warrnambool’s Merri marine sanctuary from 4pm-5.30pm on December 31 followed by a similar ramble on January 2 at the Bay of Islands, Peterborough from 6pm-7.30pm and Killarney from 5.50pm-7pm with snorkelling at the Merri sanctuary from 1pm-3pm that day. Other events will run daily to January 31 at Port Fairy, Bridgewater, Port Campbell and Apollo Bay, tapering off through February.
Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine urged people to book early for limited places.
“Summer By The Sea is a great opportunity for our youngest residents and visitors to get outdoors and get better acquainted with our precious marine environments,” he said.
“These environments face many challenges, including population growth and coastal erosion and we all need to work together to help conserve it for generations to come.” The program and bookings are on the DEPI website.