Tower Hill

Photo essay on a volcanic wildlife haven

The volcanic plains of southwestern Victoria sweep down from the craggy Grampians and Victoria Ranges in the north to the Bass Strait coast, where they are abruptly truncated at sandstone and limestone cliffs or hemmed by soft dunes and marshy lagoons.

From east to west, the Newer Volcanics Province extends 400 kilometres from Melbourne to the South Australian border. It contains over 400 volcanoes, of which Tower Hill is one of the newest, having erupted as recently as 5,000 years ago. Tower Hill is one of the world’s largest maar (cinder cone) volcanoes.

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Lake Connewarre

Sketch of a hidden gem

The Bellarine Peninsula juts between Port Phillip Bay and wild Bass Strait like the knobbly head of a monstrous sperm whale, toothy jaws agape.

Our northern shores are nibbled by the choppy waves of Corio Bay and Outer Harbour; our southern beaches are thrashed by the big surf. In the jaws of the whale lies quiet Swan Bay. The chain of sand islands which almost close the mouth are the whale’s teeth.

Under the whale’s chin lies the fearsome Rip. All vessels that enter and leave Port Phillip Bay must run this gauntlet.

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