Ninety Mile Beach, Victoria
Location of the Ninety Mile Beach in Victoria
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The Ninety Mile Beach is a sandy stretch of beach on the south-eastern coastline of the East Gippsland region of Victoria in Australia. The beach faces Bass Strait and backs the Gippsland Lakes. The beach is just over 151 kilometres (94 mi) in length, running north-eastward from a spit near Port Albert to the man-made channel at Lakes Entrance.
Features and location
The Ninety Mile Beach is located about 260 kilometres (160 mi) from Melbourne and can be reached from the South Gippsland Highway passing the coastal towns of McLoughlins Beach, Woodside, Seaspray, Golden Beach, and Loch Sport. The beach is located within the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, with the Ninety Mile Beach Marine National Park located off-shore. Behind the beach are long sandy dunes that separate various lakes and lagoons from the ocean. In the northern section, the beach runs along a sandbar on what amounts to a series of tidal islands. Behind this are several large lakes and numerous shallow littoral lagoons. The three main lakes are Lake King, Lake Victoria and Lake Wellington, partially contained within The Lakes National Park.
During mating season some species of shark, including the famous Great White Shark gather in the shallow waters along the beach to breed. Signs are put up to advise visitors of this. The beach's length ensures that the waves break too close to the beach for good surfing, and there are strong rip currents and cross-currents that make conditions rather hazardous. The local authorities recommend that anyone who wishes to swim should do so at Woodside, Seaspray and Lakes Entrance, which have life saving beach patrols during the summer season. The three lakes have different coloured water depending on their surrounding conditions. One has brown water from the tannins that leach from the trees and dead leaves that drop onto the water, another has crystal clear water with a blue tint and gets very dark as it becomes deeper in the middle. The lakes all have water that is very rich in natural minerals and is extremely clean as the banks and lake beds are pure sand. People who regularly visit the lakes exfoliate their skin by rubbing it with the fine golden sand then rinsing with the crystal clear water.
The beach has golden sand, with crashing waves and a natural bush environment that is habitat to wild dingoes, birds and other small burrowing mammals. It is part of the Ninety Mile Beach Marine National Park, which covers 2,750 hectares and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) of coastline, 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Sale. There are basic camping facilities within the park at Emu Bight, as well as accommodation at Seaspray and Lakes Entrance.
The beach is believed to be the fourth longest uninterrupted beach in the world, behind Praia do Cassino on the Brazilian southern coast, Padre Island on the US Gulf Coast and Eighty Mile Beach in Western Australia, which is actually 140 miles (230 km) long.
Wild horses were introduced to the park after the islands were explored to help eat and trample down small areas of bush so it could be more easily explored but they were left unchecked and their numbers quickly increased. Their large numbers grew and over time started to caused concern as environmental damage became an issue, but once the park was established as a national heritage the horses were rounded up and transported back across to the mainland.