To make the most of the glorious weather why not take your family to explore the life between the tides! Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary in Beaumaris is a wonderful place for exploring with little people, offering both sandy beaches to ‘comb’ and delightful rockpools to ramble.
Gould League has been running excursions here for kindergarteners to VCE students for many years, and know the place like the back of our hands, so we thought we’d share our hot tips with Kindergym families.
Click here for Parks Victoria’s ‘Park Notes’ on this special place.
Finding a low tide – Just check the tide charts before you plan your visit and go on a low tide. You ideally want to be exploring at low tide, or at least within 1 hour either side of the low tide. Visit the tide chart for Sandringham.
You can either select a custom date range, or click the Next 7 Days arrow to advance the screen to your desired date. You can see there are 2 low tides and 2 high tides each day, the low tide times are identified in red with ‘Low’ next to them.
Parking – Park for free on a side-street like Burgess St or Tramway Parade off beach road in Beaumaris, crossing carefully (there are pedestrian lights south of Tramway Parade), coming down the tea-tree lined tracks to the stairs behind the Life Saving Club, or park adjacent to the rock-platform for a quick return to the car with tired and potentially wet toddlers. Be prepared to pay up to $15 for the convenience parking though, inspectors are vigilant.
Staying safe – Remember to be sunsmart, walk don’t run, wear sturdy footwear, keep one eye on the water, and ensure your hands and fingers are in sight at all times when exploring to avoid unknowingly tickling a dangerous blue-ring octopus! There are toilets just behind the Life Saving Club, as with any public toilet please accompany your children. If you are turning rocks over, then please ‘rock & roll’ them back gently – it’s important to keep the creatures, plants and habitat safe and intact, it’s the law! So that means no collecting shells either please!
What you might find – The most common sea creatures we find in the rockpools are a variety of sea-snails and limpets (little cone shaped shells firmly grasping the rocks), green and purple shore crabs, chitons (with overlapping plates of amor on the underside of rocks), slippery brown flatworms, a variety of seaweeds including the bright green slippery sea lettuce, and the bubbly neptune’s necklace, and if you get lucky you might spot an anemone or sea star! You’ll also spot some lovely seabirds, including the swans which are enjoying the seagrass. Speaking of which, please avoid walking on the sensitive seagrass habitat that will be exposed at very low tides – it’s home to lots of baby animals and is fragile.
Along the sand if you look carefully you’ll find some sea sponges, an array of seaweeds of the brown, red and green variety and maybe even some coral skeletons and a shark egg casing!
Print off a little Sea Search ID guide if you like, or the Explore Rocky Shores brochure to remind you of safety (including a picture of a blue ringed octopus)! If you’ve got school-aged children or are a fun fact enthusiast, try this great Junior Rangers Booklet made especially for Ricketts Point!
If you or anyone you know might be interested in a school or kindergarten excursion you can click here for more information about Gould League’s Rickett’s Point Marine Sanctuary excursions.