Port Phillip (also commonly referred to as Port Phillip Bay or [locally], just The Bay), is a large bay in southern Victoria, Australia; it is the location of Melbourne. Geographically, the bay covers 1,930 square kilometres and the shore stretches roughly 264 km. Although it is extremely shallow for its size, most of the bay is navigable. The deepest portion is only 24 metres, and half the region is shallower than 8 m. The volume of the water in the bay is around 25 cubic kilometres.
Prior to British settlement the area around Port Phillip was divided between the territories of the Wathaurong (to the west), Wurundjeri (north) and Boonwurrung (south and east) Nations. Its waters and coast are home to seals, whales, dolphins, corals and many kinds of seabirds and migratory waders. The first British to enter the bay were the crews of HMS Lady Nelson, commanded by John Murray and, ten weeks later, HMS Investigator commanded by Matthew Flinders, in 1802.
Subsequent expeditions into the bay took place in 1803 to establish the first settlement in Victoria, near Sorrento, but was abandoned in 1804. Thirty years later, settlers from Tasmania returned to establish Melbourne, now the state's capital city, at the mouth of the Yarra River in 1835 and Geelong at Corio Bay in 1838.
Today Port Phillip is the most densely populated catchment in Australia with an estimated 4.5 million people living around the bay; Melbourne's suburbs extend around much of the northern and eastern shorelines, and the city of Geelong sprawls around Corio Bay, in the bay's western arm. This view is taken from Southbank, looking towards the Southwest.