St Kilda Dolphins in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne
Melbourne’s most popular tourist destination is St Kilda Beach (outside Melbourne CBD) and St Kilda Melbourne is a playground like none-other.
We all know St Kilda for its iconic Luna Park, busy beachfront bars, buskers, beach volleyball, sunbathers, fire twirlers, the best St Kilda Restaurants and even the impromptu Djembe jam and dance sessions.
Nothing much surprises me along St Kilda Beach, there is always some entertaining things to see (and do) at Melbourne’s St Kilda Beach foreshore. Skaters dragged along by their dogs, carrying an old school stereo, circus displays on the sand by local artists, sand sculptures by professional artisans and more.
There are only a few things that remain a wonder to me about St Kilda Beach, one of those things are the dolphins that inhabit the Northern end of Port Phillip Bay.
There are many species of dolphins that visit St Kilda however, the Burrunan Dolphin is particularly special. It was discovered in 2011 and can only be found in Port Phillip Bay and the Gippsland Lakes and Republica is lucky enough at to have the best seat in the house when they come out to play in the shallows, a mere 20 meters from our beach bar!
It is very special to grab a beachside cocktail and watch the dolphins frolic in the shallows of St Kilda Beach.
The species was formally named Tursiops australis by Kate Charlton-Robb of Monash University, and colleagues, who named the species. The dolphin’s common name, Burrunan, is an Aboriginal name in the Boonwurrung, Woiwurrung and Taungurung languages, meaning “large sea fish of the porpoise kind”.
They are a type of bottle-nosed dolphins with some differences to make them their own St Kilda Dolphin species. How special is that!
Unfortunately, humans are the biggest threat to our dolphin populations for many reasons. Incidental capture by trawlers in nets, overfishing, damage by boats and litter are just a few. Whilst we can appreciate these creatures it is just as important to protect them. We all have a role to play to protect all creatures so let us work together to watch out for these and all special creatures, on land and in the ocean.
There are very strict restrictions for boats and water sports vessels when there are Pods of Dolphins in bayside Melbourne. Other than watching them from the St Kilda foreshore, you can gently and safely paddle along and watch them play using a Stand Up Paddle Board – you can hire a St Kilda SUP from Kite Republic and KR SUP Centre at St Kilda Sea Baths.
We love the St Kilda Dolphins and they are such an iconic aspect to St Kilda Beach. We need to respect that it is their home, not ours.
The St Kilda Dolphins breed during the springtime and Port Phillip bay is the perfect, safe nursery for new Dolphin babies.
The start of Springtime in Melbourne is the perfect time to pop down to see the Dolphins. You can grab a coffee and stroll down the St Kilda boardwalk or settle in at the beach bar for a beer or cocktail from Republica. Of course, there is no guarantee of spotting them everyday, but the silver lining is that you got to enjoy a stunning time by the water all the same. If you are feeling adventures, you can also find some information on boat tours on the St Kilda Tourism & Events website.