Wetland Wanderings - Point Henry

Brochure 3 in the series covering information on Wetland Wanderings.

Perched in the middle of the industrial surroundings of Alcoa, Point Henry is a very interesting place to visit as it provides a real contrast between industry and the surrounding natural environment.  Interpretive signage throughout the wetlands tells the story of the various bird and frog species that call Point Henry home.


The Point Henry foreshore is located east of Geelong, adjacent to the entrance of Corio Bay.  Follow the Portarlington Road from Geelong, turn left at Point Henry Road.

The Foreshore is close to the growing communities of Whittington, Moolap and Newcomb.

Site description

Point Henry is an important economic and industrial precinct with major landholders including Alcoa Australia and Cheetham Salt.  Point Henry is not only home to Alcoa, one of Australia’s biggest producers of alumina and aluminium but it is also home to an extensive and precious wetland environment.  Quietly nestled adjacent to the industrial zone the wetlands maintains a remote atmosphere with amazing views across Corio Bay to Geelong.

Point Henry Peninsula is an elevated ridge of sand clays fringed by shallow beaches on the north and east and protected by rock walls on the west.  It is elongated shelly spit and is built on a basement of eroded clays and silts.  North of the pier is of regional geological and geomorpholopical significance as it is the longest elongated cuspate spit in Port Phillip Bay.

Key values of the area includes seagrass and saltmarsh wetland communities, Cultural Heritage, location for the annual visit of ‘Henry’ the elephant seal; and other significant avifauna.

The area was originally inhabited by the Bengalat balug (Clan) of the Wadawurrung Tribe and was an important place to gather food.  Today, Point Henry foreshore is a popular location for beach walking and bird watching.

This site has international significance as habitat for migratory birds, including two internationally significant species, eight nationally significant and three state significant species.  These species include Little Terns, Curlew Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints.

Take a walk through the wetlands taking note of interpretative signage and the various bird hides throughout.

Map of the Point Henry area showing points of interest plus four images
Click to Enlarge Image

Biodiversity values

The foreshore and adjoining saltmarsh and wetland areas provide habitat for a wide range of waterbirds, many of international significance.  The remoteness of the site reinforces the conservation values of the site.

Some of the significant birds that visit Point Henry include:

  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
  • Greenshank
  • Latham’s Snipe
  • Red-necked Avocet
  • Fairy Tern
  • Orange-bellied Parrot
  • Marsh Sandpiper

Vegetation communities include high significant Coastal Dune Shrubland, Submerged Herbfields and a Coastal Saltmarch which is endangered in the region.

Coastal saltmarsh is of high significance to the community as it is endangered in the Otway Plains Bioregion.  The closed herfbields are dominated by Beaded Glasswort and Shrubby Glasswort.  A modified form of Coastal Saltmarsh exists on the eastern shoreline which is subjected to increased inputs of freshwater largely stormwater from Alcoa.

 Logos of sponsor organisations: action Salinity & Water Australia, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Geelong Region Wetlands Project and Parks Victoria

A project sponsored by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality program. A joint Initiative of the Victorian and Australian Governments.

This site is part of the Wetland Wanderings Ecotour. Each wetland site has its own brochure highlighting the features of the site in more detail. Some sites may be drive by only and some are close to a parking bay so you can stop, read the site information from the selected brochure and go for a wander around the wetland.

Happy Wetland Wandering.

Page last updated: Monday, 9 December 2019