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Marriner's Falls, Apollo Bay
Swimming Hole Heaven in Victoria

The last 5 km of the route to Marriner’s Falls is a gravel road. From the car park it is a 1.7 km walk along the river. The walk is initially through a grassy track kept mown by a herd of cows, but as you get nearer to the falls, the track becomes quite muddy, even in summer. There are 8 creek crossings that you can rock hop if you can keep your balance, otherwise expect to get your feet wet up to your ankles. You may also notice the native fish darting in the water as you cross the stream. Swimming at Marriner's Falls Above: Marriners Falls (Order this image)

The falls are around 15 m wide and 2 m across with a continuous but not torrential stream of water that exits through a small cut gorge at one end. There are near vertical rock walls on all sides that create a cathedral-like atmosphere. The walls are covered in lush green ferns and moss. This is a beautiful little grotto with a relaxing pool that is up to 1 m deep and big enough to float in. It is very clean and there are lots of fallen logs and rocks to sit on. Direct sunlight into the alcove only occurs in the middle of the day. When the sun is shining there is no natural shade, so bring a sunhat.

The walk to the falls was closed by the managing authority in 2011 due to falling trees. One tourist was injured from a tree fall in 2008 and the managing authority has publicly stated that tree falls often occur along the track. The closure occurred after I last visited. I definitely do not want people to be injured while visiting swimming holes, but personally I do not see the risk being any different to walking through the bush, which is what you might have to do to reach this swimming hole in the future. A local woman with cancer walked the track in 2014 in spite of the closure, and managed to make the trek. Parks Victoria have now excised any references to Marriner's Falls in their online publications, so don't expect to find its location on their park maps anymore.

This swimming hole was de-listed from my top 50 in Victoria for the latest edition of the guide because of the closed access track. Two other swimming holes in or adjacent to the Great Otway National Park did make it into the top 50, so if you are looking for swimming holes in this area that you can access, grab a copy of the guide to Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria.
Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Barham River Road, 12 km inland from Apollo Bay and 190 km (approx. 2.5 hr drive) south west of the Melbourne CBD.
Latitude:-38.715992 Longitude:143.641047
Getting there: Follow the sometimes confusing signs from Apollo Bay. A map from the visitor centre in Apollo Bay is recommended. From the visitor centre, keep driving through town and turn right up Gambier St, then left onto Barham River Rd, which you follow to the very end to reach the car park for the start of the (now closed) walk to the falls. Apollo Bay is located along the Great Ocean Road.
Facilities: Car park
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Pebbles

Maximum water depth: Less than 1 metre
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No cats or dogs. Access track to the falls is closed.
Sun shade: Limited to no shade available
Opening times: The falls are always open but the access track is permanently closed
Wheelchair access: None
Managing authority: Parks Victoria
Nearby attractions: Apollo Bay surf beach
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the falls. If the map is not zoomed in locally, as can occur with some browsers, simply click or tap on "View Larger Map" below.
View Larger Map
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