Neptune Islands Conservation Park

  • Fishing
  • Bird Watching
PDF Park Brochure
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Neptune Islands SA location map

These rugged islands are a pristine water world that inhabit one of the planets most prehistoric survivors - the great white shark. Take the plunge and go diving with these often misunderstood creatures. The islands are full of other reptiles, birds and sea lions so be sure to take your camera and binoculars to spot these animals in there natural habitat.     

About

The Neptune Islands Group consist of two groups of islands located close to the entrance to Spencer Gulf and are best known as an exciting location to go cage diving with great white sharks.

This area is a world renowned hot spot for the vulnerable white sharks, that regularly forage in the area for seals. The rocky-cragged coves of the Neptune Islands are an important breeding sites for long nose fur seals. It is Australia's largest colony of long nose fur seals with half the Australian population breeding here. The area is influenced by the warm Leeuwin Current in winter and the cold Flinders Current in summer, ensuring there is a large temperature difference between the seasons. This has a large impact on the biodiversity of the area.

High up on the granite outcrops, you’ll  see White Breasted Sea Eagles hunting for supremacy with Ospreys, hear the conversational twitter of Rock Parrots and marvel at the fabled Albatross. It’s a bird-lover’s paradise.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, access onto the islands is restricted, with a permit required to enter.

Contact details

Port Lincoln Natural Resource Centre

Phone: (+61  8) 8688 3111

Port Lincoln Visitor Information Centre

Phone: (+61 8) 8683 3544 or 1300 788 378

When to visit

You can visit the islands all year round on a shark cage dive boat. Three tour operators are licenced to conduct shark cage diving tours in the park. 

In good weather you can access the islands on your own, large, seaworthy, boat capable of off-shore operation as the islands are a considerable way offshore.

Getting there

The islands are only accessible by large boats.

The City of Port Lincoln is located approximately 70km to the north of the Neptune Islands and is easily accessed by air from Adelaide International Airport. Or you can drive from Adelaide to Port Lincoln which is approximately a 7.5 hour drive.

Facilities

There are no facilities in the park. Please ensure you carry sufficient water, food and supplies for your entire visit. It is also a good idea to let a responsible person know of your intended movements and when you expect to return.

Pets in parks

Pets are not permitted within this park. There are however, a number of South Australian National Parks where you can take your dog on a lead. 

Useful information

  • All islands in the park are Prohibited Areas. No land access is allowed without permission.
  • Please note north Neptune Island is a sanctuary zone, no fishing allowed.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Traditional Owners

Aboriginal South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state. 

Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.

History

The Neptune Islands were named by English Explorer, Matthew Flinders in 1802. He named them this because they seemed so remote and inaccessible. Sailing by, he left their unique environment untouched. Over 200 years later, not much has changed.

See and do

Bushwalking

There are no specific bushwalking trails within this park.

Shark cave diving

Take the plunge and come face to face with a Great White Shark!

Male Great Whites (up to 5-metres/16-feet) inhabit the islands all year round. Long nose fur seal pups are born in summer (December to January), but don’t start entering the ocean until winter (April to August). That’s when the giant female Great Whites (up to 6-metres/19-feet) come to the Neptune's. That extra metre almost doubles their body-weight.

There are several tour companies which offer shark diving expeditions to the Islands:

Fishing

Fishing is allowed around the southern Neptune Islands. Fishing is prohibited within the Marine Park Sanctuary Zone surrounding the northern Neptune Islands.

Flora/habitats

Habitats represented:

• This Sanctuary Zone represents exposed, offshore island habitat with exposed cliffs and rocky shores..
• Although not mapped, the sheltered bay is known to contain seagrass beds and sandy bottom.
• On the more exposed sides, underwater slopes run steeply from the island down to rocky reef then deep sandy bottoms.
• The area also represents quite deep water (up to 50m deep) which creates significant variation in habitats and the species they support.

Fauna

High up on their granite outcrops, you’ll  see White Breasted Sea Eagles hunting for supremacy with Ospreys, hear the conversational twitter of Rock Parrots and marvel at the fabled Albatross. It’s a bird-lover’s paradise.

The area is a spawning site for southern rock lobster, Maori octopus, greenlip abalone, blacklip abalone, purple sea urchin, western blue groper and sea sweep.

The islands are full of wonderful species of mammals, reptiles and birds; some of them peculiar to the Neptunes. One of the many highlights is watching the rare and elusive Australian Sea Lions interacting on the beach. Every turn, every direction, there is something new and unique to observe –  baby fur seals learning to swim in rock pools set against the majestic Southern Ocean crashing into megalithic, granite outcrops.

And of course Great White Sharks!

Environmental considerations and important features:

• World renowned hot spot for the vulnerable white shark, who regularly forage in the area for seals.
• The Neptune Islands are the most important long nose fur seal pup production site in South Australia (half of the Australian population breed here – distributed evenly over both main islands).
• The area also has a small breeding colony of the vulnerable Australian sea lion which feed in the waters surrounding the islands.
• Seabirds whose habitats are required to be protected under international treaties roost and nest on the islands.
• The area also provides breeding habitat for the little penguin, rare rock parrot, rare sooty oystercatcher, rare Cape Barren goose, endangered white-bellied sea-eagle and endangered fairy tern.
• The North Neptune Islands Sanctuary Zone represents an entire offshore island and its associated intertidal and subtidal habitats. Offshore islands are not represented well in sanctuary zones throughout the marine parks network, due to their importance as fishing grounds.
• Habitat for the endangered coastal stingaree, which is endemic to South Australia.
• The area is influenced by the warm Leeuwin Current in winter and the cold Flinders Current in summer, ensuring there is a large temperature difference between the seasons. This has a large impact on the biodiversity of the area.
• Spawning for southern rock lobster, Maori octopus, greenlip abalone, blacklip abalone, purple sea urchin, western blue groper and sea sweep.
• Nursery habitat for all these species except western blue groper.

Safety

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

Please ensure that you:

  • leave your pets at home
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Fire

Wood fires, solid fuel fires and gas or liquid fires are prohibited throughout the year to the low water mark. 

Maps

Fees

Entry fees

An entry fee is payable to enter the park with the three licenced shark cage diving operators. This fee forms a part of the fee charged by each operator.

Parks pass

This park is not included in the park pass system. 

PDF Park Brochure