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Coolart Wetlands & Homestead (Somers)

Coolart is a magnificent late Victorian mansion situated on the shores of Westernport. In the superb grounds are ever-changing wetlands that you can view from the observatory, and a lagoon where thousands of Australian white ibis nest every year.

Things to Do
  • Take a woodland walk and look for koalas.
  • Go birdwatching. Birds can be seen everywhere at Coolart with different species found in each of the distinct habitats. Winter and spring are the most spectacular seasons when over 1000 Australian white ibis and other waterbirds congregate on the lagoon to breed.
  • Picnic on the lawns or use the wood or electric barbeques. If the weather is cold or wet please enquire about the Stables picnic area.
  • Explore the old out buildings and imagine what life was like when you had to make your own butter.
  • Stroll through the beautiful gardens and discover unusual exotic plants or to the beach for views of Phillip Island and Westernport.
  • Junior Ranger Certificate activities are available - these are parent-guided activities for children - just ask at the Visitor Centre for 'Let�s Go Around The Farm' and 'Let's Go Beachcombing'.

  • There is a visitors centre where you may hire binoculars or borrow a wheelchair.
  • A slide show, 'Introducing Coolart', is shown each day in the Wetlands Observatory (1:30 PM weekdays and 2:00 PM weekends)
  • Wood and electric barbeques, picnic tables and hot water are provided for your convenience.
  • Baby changing facilities.

The original inhabitants of Coolart were the Bunurong tribe of Aborigines and it is from the word "Colourt" or "Callert" - their name for nearby Sandy Point - that the present name of Coolart is derived.

In 1895, Frederick Sheppard Grimwade bought the estate and built the imposing homestead as the family's country retreat. Between 1907 and 1937 Coolart was held at different times by Thomas Armstrong, James Balmain and John Sylvester Feehan. The late Tom Luxton purchased the property in 1937 and immediately had the property declared a sanctuary for native wildlife and embarked upon a program of habitat development. The 87 hectare nucleus of the Coolart area was purchased by the Victorian State Government in 1977 and it was proclaimed as a reserve for "Conservation and Education Purposes".

Coolart has a large diversity of wildlife despite its relatively small size. It has nine species of frog, including the increasingly rare Growling Grass Frog. Thirteen species of mammal ranging in size from the tiny, mouse-sized Agile Antechinus to the large Swamp Wallaby. There are eleven species of reptile including the Common Long-necked Tortoise, Blue-tongue Lizard, Copperhead, White-lipped Snake and several species of skinks. Birds are the most numerous of the larger wildlife and 177 species have been recorded. Eight species of fish and four crustaceans have been found in the waterways.

The varied vegetation is the key to the wildlife diversity at Coolart. The property consists of different plant communities including manna gum/banksia woodland, grassland, paperbark swamps and wetlands of sedges, reeds and rushes.

Opening Hours:

Coolart is open 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily except Christmas Day, New Years Day and Good Friday.
Access is via Lord Somers Road, Somers.




The lower level of the homestead has olden day furniture and decoration and the upper level has some nice views.

Around the main part of the wetlands area are a number of hides of different sizes. The main one (Wetlands Observatory) near the homestead has large windows and information panels while the others are a little more cosier. If you follow all the tracks, especially the outer loop, through the areas of gum trees there is some chance of seeing a wild koala (we managed to see one high up in a tree). There are tracks cut through the grass but the long grass at the side of many tracks could easily hide snakes in summer. The area is quite extensive and has plenty of seats scattered about for rests.

Near the homestead and entrance is an area with lots of shaded tables and BBQ with water taps and toilets. The Information Centre has a number of displays which are quite interesting.


Address | Contact

119 Lord Somers Road,  Somers 3927, Victoria, Australia. View Map Map opens in new browser window
Map: 193 Ref: J9

Web Links

Link Coolart Wetlands & Homestead (Parks Victoria)

Link Coolart Wetlands & Homestead Visitors Guide (PDF)

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