Marine Parks

Marine Parks

South Australia is lucky to have some of the most spectacular coastline in the world and an even greater variety of marine life than the Great Barrier Reef.   Around 85% of the life found in southern Australian waters is found nowhere else on earth.

Marine parks are the national parks of the sea.  You can enjoy the beauty of the scenery and a variety of recreational activities such as boating, swimming, diving, snorkelling, surfing and paddling, but fishing is restricted in Sanctuary Zones.

City of Onkaparinga residents and visitors to our region can enjoy 31km of pristine coastline and the only Marine Parks on the Adelaide metro coast at Aldinga Reef, Port Noarlunga Reef and Onkaparinga Wetland. 

You can view maps of Marine Parks and zones, or download GPS data to help navigate your way through each park. The useful My Parx app shows you your location in the waters in relation to the zones.

The Aldinga Reef has been a protected area since 1972 and is recognised as one of Australia’s best dive sites. The marine life on the edge of the wall known as the ‘drop off’ has to be seen to be believed.  Large schools of Drummer, Trevally and Blue Devils as well as Leather Jackets, Old Wives, Cuttlefish, Magpie Perch and Harlequin Fish.

The Port Noarlunga Reef is fantastic for diving, snorkelling or simply viewing as the reef is literally a stones through from the jetty.   Over 200 species of marine plant and fish are found at the reef and include bryozoans, sponges, hydroids, ascidians and molluscs.  

Port Noarlunga’s Aquatic Trail is excellent for dive novices.  Consisting of 12 markers, it starts next to the seaward end of the jetty and travels south inside through the gap and then north along the reef.

The Encounter Marine Park Whale Trail follows the length of Onkaparinga’s coastline.  Southern Right Whales migrate from Antarctica from mid-May to September each year to SA’s coast to mate and give birth. The Trail continues around the Fleurieu Peninsula and ends at Encounter Bay.  For the latest whale sightings along SA’s coast visit

View detailed information on Marine Parks and zones. Discover how littering in our suburbs effects our marine environment.


Immerse yourself in Encounter Marine Park – Aldinga Reef

Video by Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources


Immerse yourself in Encounter Marine Park - Noarlunga

Video by Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources