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.