Nature conservation

Native animals

Port Stephens bottlenose dolphins

If you visit Nelson Bay north of Newcastle you will most likely be treated to a privileged view inside the world of the bottlenose dolphin. Around 90-120 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins live permanently in the waters of Port Stephens within the Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park, making it one of the most popular places in the world for dolphin watching. The rocky coastal headlands and long white beaches of Port Stephens provide an ideal vantage point for watching dolphins from the shore.

Port Stephens is part of the traditional country of the Worimi Aboriginal people, who have lived in the area for thousands of years, and have a special connection with the landscape, plants and animals. Worimi people are spiritually connected to dolphins, or guparr, as they are called in the Gathang language. Traditionally elders would speak with dolphins about food resources and looking after each other. Some elders still speak with dolphins today. (Steve Brereton, Worimi Elder)

This publication includes the following information:

  • What is a bottlenose dolphin?
  • What do bottlenose dolphins look like?
  • Spiritual connections
  • Do dolphins drink?
  • Do dolphins sleep?
  • How does a dolphin swim?
  • Eyesight
  • What do dolphins eat, and how?
  • Can dolphins smell?
  • Can dolphins hear?
  • The dolphin breeding cycle
  • How do dolphins breathe?
  • How long can dolphins live?
  • Getting to know the Port Stephens dolphins
  • How do we know Port Stephens bottlenose dolphins are special?
  • Port Stephens dolphins: a unique community
  • Port Stephens' most recognisable bottlenose dolphins
  • Flopper's story
  • Threats
  • Protection and caring for dolphins
  • What you can do to care for Port Stephens' dolphins

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The format and structure of this publication may have been adapted for web delivery.

Page last updated: 27 October 2011