About the Region

The Port Phillip and Western Port region is home to more than five million people (75% of Victoria’s population) and encompasses the densely populated urban Melbourne, sprawling outer city suburbs, growth centres on the urban fringe, and vast and diverse rural hinterlands.

Across five distinct catchment systems (Werribee, Maribyrnong, Yarra, Dandenong and Western Port), the region’s lands and waterways form a complex network of interconnected and interdependent catchments, rivers, wetlands and estuaries, which flow to Port Phillip Bay and Western Port.

However, the health of the region’s environment continually faces numerous challenges including
climate change, increasing urbanisation, pollution, rapid population growth and loss of biodiversity.


Key facts

  • Land area of 1.3 million hectares / 13,000 square kilometres
  • 40% retains native vegetation, including several areas of significant grasslands
  • 41% is rural farmland, with industries including horticulture, dairying, poultry farming, beef farming, horse management and viticulture
  • 25,000km of rivers and creeks
  • 600km of coastline
  • 14,000 natural wetlands, including 3 of international significance under the Ramsar Convention
  • Annual agricultural production of approximately $1.7 billion
  • Victoria’s faunal emblems – the Leadbeater’s Possum (state animal), the Helmeted Honeyeater (state bird) and the Weedy Seadragon (state marine animal) – all call the region home.

Parks and reserves

National parks

  1. Point Nepean
  2. Mornington Peninsula
  3. French Island
  4. Churchill
  5. Dandenong Ranges
  6. Brisbane Ranges
  7. Organ Pipes
  8. Yarra Ranges
  9. Kinglake

State parks/forests

  1. Bunyip
  2. Tarago
  3. Toolangi
  4. Lerderderg
  5. Wombat
  6. Kurth Kiln

Marine protected areas

  1. Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park
  2. Yaringa Marine National Park
  3. French Island Marine National Park
  4. Churchill Island Marine National Park
  5. Point Cook Marine Sanctuary
  6. Jawbone Marine Sanctuary
  7. Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary
  8. Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary

Sites of interest

  • City of Melbourne and surrounds
  • Dandenong Ranges, including Sherbrooke Forest and Puffing Billy
  • Wine districts of the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Macedon Ranges
  • Zoos Victoria’s Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Zoo
  • Port Phillip Bay and the Mornington Peninsula
  • Phillip Island Nature Park

Related information