The Basils Farm team are passionate about conservation and recognise the environmental sensitivity of Swan Bay’s RAMSAR protected wetlands.

Adopting sustainable farming practices and the rehabilitation of conservation areas with endemic plants, are a significant part of the future vision
for the Basils Farm.

Originally a meeting place and stock watering hole for local graziers and dairy farmers, the wetlands are normally full, but the lack of rainfall in recent years have seen it gradually retreat. Our future plans include rehabilitation of the wetlands to restore and integrate them into the natural habitat.

In the early 1990’s the areas surrounding the wetlands underwent an extensive weed eradication program. Over 56,000 indigenous trees and bushes were planted. The result is a magnificent ecosystem where birds and wildlife live in abundance.

Nearly 200 species of birds have been recorded in Swan Bay and the adjacent protected RAMSAR wetlands. The bay and its shore are renowned for being home to a number of birds of conservation significance including, the critically endangered Orange Bellied Parrot as well as the Little Tern, Fairy Tern, Eastern Curlew, Lewin’s Rail and White Bellied Sea Eagle. It also supports over 1% of the Australian population of four wader species: Grey Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Double Banded Plover and Eastern Curlew.

Other birds found in the region include the Australian pelican, silver gull, royal spoonbill, caspian and crested terns, white-fronted chat, sacred ibis, red-necked stint, little pied cormorant and pied oystercatcher. Some of these birds travel from as far away as Arctic Siberia and Alaska where they breed, to feed on the intertidal mudflats of Swan Bay.

We endeavour to keep a soft footprint, but ongoing weed and pest control and replantings ensure the long-term future of this pristine environment.

The foreshore area also provides an array of indigenous (edible) plants that are often included in dishes on the Basils Café menu. For those wanting to explore the surrounding wetlands and indigenous plants, Basils Farm offers foraging expeditions.

For more information about conservation in the area please visit the Swan Bay Environment Association or the Bellarine Landcare Group

Aerial view of basils farm
Preserved wetland of Basils Farm
A great egret in preserved wetland of Basils farm