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Bells Beach

Reef Dive Reef Dive | Shore access Shore access

Ideal For Snorkelling Marine Park - No Fishing Open Water Rated Reef Dive Site

Bells Beach Overhang
Bells Beach Overhang
© Phil Watson

Depth: 8 m (26 ft) to 10 m (33 ft)

Level: Open Water and beyond.

Bells Beach is a shore diving and snorkelling site just 100 km south-west of Melbourne on Victoria's Surf Coast, between Anglesea and Torquay, within Point Addis Marine National Park, facing south-east into Bass Strait. Bells Beach is world famous for its incredible surf, attracting locals and visitors every year. The area is very swelly and rarely dived, but on the rare days when conditions are flat, calm, with no swell, and the surfers are having a bad day, it's fun for divers and snorkellers to explore the limestone reefs and gullies.

The excellent surf break at Bells Beach is due to a combination of clean waves, that have refracted around the Otways, and particularly a gently sloping limestone reef off the southern point. It can handle anything from 1.5 up to 7 metres high. Bells is serviced by a good road, a large car park, viewing areas and facilities. The walk to the beach is still, however, down the gully at the southern end of the beach. The beach is just 300 metres long and faces south-east, with prominent, 40 metre high, limestone headlands at each end. Waves average 1 to 1.5 metres and the beach is composed of coarse sand which, even under high waves, stays steep and barless. That's all very good for the surfers, but when everything is calm and placid, its time for the divers and snorkellers to take over.

Diving and Snorkelling at Bells Beach

At each end of Bells Beach there are rock platforms and flat limestone areas extending 50 metres offshore. The north-eastern end is know as The Button, with Winki Pop on the other side of the headland. The south-western end is Bell Headland with Southside Beach further south-west. Out from the bowl of Bells Beach the underwater terrain changes as the limestone breaks into smaller ledges and gullies. Even further offshore there are limestone reefs with shelves, overhangs and holes supporting a wide-array of marine life.

Weedy Seadragon and Blue Devil at Bells Beach | Source: Parks Victoria

Diving and snorkelling here is about exploring the underwater reef terrain and marine life. On a perfect day, with no wind, no swell, and no current, it's really worthwhile.

History: Bells Beach is named after William Bell, a Master Mariner, who owned much of the property there in the 1840s.

See also, Bell's Beach and Winkpop in "Shore Dives of Victoria" by Ian Lewis, 3rd edition pages 38–39.

Bells Beach Parking
Bells Beach Parking
© Google Street View

Location: Bells Boulevarde, Bells Beach, Victoria 3228

Parking: From Torquay to the east, take the Great Ocean Road (B100), turn left onto Bells Boulevarde (C132) and continue for another 3.6 km until you see signs for Bells Beach. Turnoff into the very long Bells Beach car park. You'll want to park at the far south-west end, close to the track down onto Bells Beach. Before gearing up check out the water. If you see lots of white water, head on home.

Warning: Weather conditions at Bells Beach vary considerably with very strong winds and squalls frequently occurring. When conditions aren't right, this can be a highly hazardous area with deep water, rocks and reefs, with a strong rip feeder current running out past the headland. Always go with a buddy and be extremely careful. Experienced divers and snorkellers only.

Entry/Exit: From the south-western end of Bells Beach where the main path from the car park reaches the beach.

Ideal Conditions: Bells Beach is a very exposed shore dive site, so it should only be dived when the seas are flat and calm with very little swell. Conditions are usually best with no wind, or after a few days of northerlies, as surface conditions remain calm.

See WillyWeather (Bells Beach) as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.

Bass Strait Warning: Always keep an eye on sea conditions throughout any shore or boat dive in Bass Strait on Victoria's coastline. Please read the warnings on the web page diving-in-bass-strait before diving or snorkelling this site.

Point Addis Marine National Park

Point Addis Marine National Park Location Map
Point Addis Marine National Park
Location Map | Source: Parks Victoria

Point Addis Marine National Park (4600 ha) is about 25 km south-west of Geelong. It extends offshore from high water mark along 10 km of coastline east of Anglesea, around Point Addis to the eastern end of, and including, Bells Beach, and offshore approximately three nautical miles to the limit of Victorian waters. The park includes all waters within these boundaries and extends 200 metres beneath the sea bed.

Point Addis Marine National Park features spectacular scenery with wide sandy beaches, crumbling limestone and sandstone cliffs and rocky platforms. Fascinating marine life unique to our coastline can be found in the 4,600 hectares protected by the park. The world renowned surfing reserve, Bells Beach, is just one feature along the 9 kilometres of rugged coastline between Torquay and Anglesea exposed to intense wave action from the Southern Ocean on Victoria's Surf Coast.

Diving and Snorkelling in Point Addis Marine National

In calm weather conditions, with slight offshore northerly winds, there are many excellent places to explore and discover the unique local marine life. Near shore, divers and snorkelers can enjoy Jarosite Reef, accessed via Southside or Addiscot Beaches. Generally, conditions are best at low tide.

There is an extensive series of offshore reefs in Point Addis Marine National Park, suitable for diving under ideal conditions. The shallower ones (8–10 metres) include Ingoldsby Reef and The Olives. Divers often visit the wreck of the Inverlochy at Ingoldsby reef. Then there are the very interesting deeper offshore reefs (15–35 metres) as well. If you have access to a dive boat you can use the sounder to find many interesting parts of the reef system and dive them.

Ingoldsby Reef, Point Addis Marine National Park Victoria from Allie Beckhurst on Vimeo.

Diving and snorkelling sites inside the Point Addis Marine National Park include two heritage listed shipwrecks. The Inverlochy was a steel sailing basque which ran aground on Ingoldsby Reef in 1902 and is visible from the surface on calm days. Years earlier, in 1881 a wooden cutter, The Naiad, was beached at Point Addis but there are no known relics remaining in the park.

Victoria's Unique Coastline

Point Addis Marine National Park Biota
Point Addis Marine National Park
Biota | Source: Parks Victoria

The southern coastline of Australia has been isolated for millions of years from other continents due to ocean currents. This has resulted in our marine life evolving in many different ways. Ninety percent (90%) of all marine life here is found nowhere else. Home to over 12,000 species of plants and animals, it is considered one of the most biodiverse and unique marine ecosystems in the world. For this reason, this significant marine environment is protected for the future. The Point Addis Marine National Park is part of the great-southern-reef.

How to Get to Point Addis Marine National Park

Point Addis Marine National Park is approximately 100 kilotmetres south of Melbourne via the M1 freeway and Great Ocean Road (B100). From the west, approach via Anglesea. The closest boat ramps are located at Point Roadknight and Torquay.

See also Parks Victoria: Point Addis Marine National Park,
Park Note: Point Addis Marine National Park,
Point Addis Marine National Park Map,
Point Addis Marine National Park, Point Danger Marine Sanctuary, Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary - Management Plan, and
Point Addis in "Shore Dives of Victoria" by Ian Lewis, 3rd edition pages 36–37.

Point Addis is named after Lieutenant Edward Brown Addis, an early Crown Lands Commissioner (Blake 1977).

You are not permitted to carry a spear gun while snorkelling or scuba diving in Point Addis Marine National Park.

Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) country
Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) people of the Kulin Nation. This truly ancient Country includes the coastline of Port Phillip, from the Werribee River in the north-east, the Bellarine Peninsula, and down to Cape Otway in the south-west. We wish to acknowledge the Wathaurong as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Bunjil the Creator Spirit of this beautiful land, who travels as an eagle, and Waarn, who protects the waterways and travels as a crow, and thank them for continuing to watch over this Country today and beyond.


Bells Beach Location Map

Latitude: 38° 22.193′ S   (38.369882° S / 38° 22′ 11.58″ S)
Longitude: 144° 16.905′ E   (144.281756° E / 144° 16′ 54.32″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map | Get directions
Added: 2022-04-08 21:14:26 GMT, Last updated: 2022-05-23 14:32:16 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: The Steps, Jan Juc, 2,034 m, bearing 40°, NE
Point Addis Marine National Park.
Bells Beach, Surf Coast.
Depth: 1 to 10 m.

DISCLAIMER: No claim is made by The Scuba Doctor as to the accuracy of the dive site coordinates listed here. Should anyone decide to use these GPS marks to locate and dive on a site, they do so entirely at their own risk. Always verify against other sources.

The marks come from numerous sources including commercial operators, independent dive clubs, reference works, and active divers. Some are known to be accurate, while others may not be. Some GPS marks may even have come from maps using the AGD66 datum, and thus may need be converted to the WGS84 datum. To distinguish between the possible accuracy of the dive site marks, we've tried to give each mark a source of GPS, Google Earth, or unknown.


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