The Dell in Clifton Springs has a rich natural history and cultural history and is a popular spot for picnics and swimming.

The Dell is also an environment under constant change. The natural amphitheatre was created by a series of landslips in the foreshore escarpment at Clifton Springs, helped by the natural movement of groundwater towards the coast. Circulating currents in the bay and changes in weather patterns alter the movement of sand and the shape of the coast over time.

The coastline supports native coastal vegetation including Drooping Sheoak, Silver Banksia, and Moonah which are well suited to the salt air. Coastal birds such as Pelicans, Gulls, and Terns are easy to find, while migratory shorebirds are rarer visitors. Wattlebirds and other honeyeaters can be found in the protection of low flowering shrubs.

Cultural history

Aboriginal people inhabitated the area up to 30,000 years ago and you may find traces of shell middens along this part of the coast.

New heritage signs provide visitors a glimpse into a more recent time. The Dell was the former entrance to a popular mineral springs and spa resort which operated between the early 1870s -1920s and gave Clifton Springs its name. The interpretive signs take visitors on a journey through the history of the spa bath house, Clifton Springs Hotel and bottling of mineral water.

Tips when visiting

The Dell remains a popular place for visitors to walk, swim, picnic and be close to the bay. Explore the new heritage sign trail. A car park is located at the top of the Dell and access is available via a stairway or walking path.

  • Due to the unstable nature of the area please keep a safe distance from the bottom of the cliffs – particularly during or after heavy rainfall.
  • High tide may restrict access to the beach.
  • Cultural heritage relics are protected, please leave them in place.
  • Please clean up after your dog.

Managing a sensitive coastal environment

The foreshore provides a buffer zone and protection from erosion caused by coastal waters. The Clifton Springs foreshore is particularly unstable and requires careful management.

We’re working to improve this coastal zone by controlling erosion, managing the safety of beach access and providing cliff top pathways.

A series of rock groynes have been built along the coast to trap naturally moving sand. This will help to build the beach up over time. Exposed slopes have been protected with erosion matting and re-vegetated with indigenous grasses, groundcovers, shrubs and trees. Improvements to stormwater drainage will also reduce erosion.

Special event bookings

If you would like to hold your wedding or special event at The Dell, please contact us.

View our dog walking map to find where you can walk your dog off leash.