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Old Aquarium

Reef Dive Reef Dive | Shore access Shore access

Abalone Dive Site Crayfish Dive Site Ideal For Snorkelling Night Dive Site Open Water Rated Reef Dive Site Spearfishing Site

Old Aquarium
Old Aquarium

Depth: 4 m (13 ft) to 14 m (46 ft)

Level: Open Water and beyond.

Old Aquarium (aka The Aquarium, Breakwater Rock or Breakwater Reefs) is an interesting shore diving and snorkelling site at Warrnambool on Vicoria's Shipwreck Coast. It's a dive with easy access, just to the east of the Merri Marine Sanctuary.

Merri Marine Sanctuary is a protected no-take zone just to the west of Old Aquarium. Meanwhile the rest of the area is renown as a great site for catching abalone and crayfish. See the Merri Marine Sanctuary map.

Old Aquarium and Merri Marine Sanctuary
Old Aquarium & Merri Marine Sanctuary | © The Scuba Doctor Australia

Diving and Snorkelling at Old Aquarium

Old Aquarium faces south into the Southern Ocean. The lights of the breakwater make it easy to navigate and orientate on night dives. The sea can be treacherous here, so close monitoring is required before entry.

Outside the breakwater and around the breakwater reefs the terrain is very rugged with lots of crevices, overhangs, swim throughs and kelp forests. The depth ranges from 3 metres to 6 metres until you get outside Middle Reef.

Marine life in this area includes Longsnout Boarfish, Port Jackson Shark, lots of Stingrays, Southern Rock Lobster (aka Crayfish) and Black-lipped Abalone.

Old Aquarium Parking
Old Aquarium Parking
© Google Street View

Location: Viaduct Road, Warrnambool, Victoria 3280

Parking: There is a car parking area off off Viaduct Road, Warrnambool, near the old Aquarium Domes. Before gearing up check out the water. If you see lots of white water, head on home.

Entry/Exit: Entry is over the rocks onto a reef platform and then into the sea. Reverse for exit.

Ideal Conditions: This dive site is prone to surge and swell and is best dived at low tide on a low swell with light northerly winds. See WillyWeather (Warrnambool Pier) as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.


See also, Park Note: Merri Marine Sanctuary — November 2012.

History: The domes on the shore mark the site of the old Warrnambool Aquarium which first opened in 1971 and operated as a public attraction until it closed in 1998. Deakin University then leased it until it became too costly to make keep it safe and useable.<.p>

Abalone Dive Site
Abalone Dive Site
© Mark Norman, Museum Victoria

Divers have the opportunity to catch Abalone at this dive site. Remember your catch bag, legal abalone tool, current Victorian Recreational Fishing Licence, and abalone measure. Please abide by all current fishing regulations if you intend to catch abalone.

See article-catching-abalone for practical abalone hunting advice from The Scuba Doctor, plus melbourne-abalone-dives for a list of other Abalone dive sites near Melbourne.

Crayfish Dive Site
Crayfish Dive Site | © Ian Scholey

Divers have the opportunity to catch Southern Rock Lobster (aka Crayfish) at this dive site. Remember your catch bag, current Victorian Recreational Fishing Licence, rock lobster measure, and cray tags. Once you get back to the dive boat, or shore, make sure you clip the tail and tag your Crayfish as per Fisheries requirements. Please abide by all current fishing regulations if you intend to catch crays. See article-catching-crayfish for practical cray hunting advice from The Scuba Doctor, plus melbourne-cray-dives for a list of other crayfish dive sites near Melbourne. For tips on cooking your Crays, please see article-cooking-crayfish.

Eastern Maar country
Eastern Maar country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Eastern Maar people of south-western Victoria between the Shaw and Eumerella Rivers and from Yambuk in the south to beyond Lake Linlithgow in the north. This truly ancient Country extends as far north as Ararat and encompasses the coastal townships of Port Fairy in the west, Warrnambool, Peterborough, Port Campbell, Apollo Bay, Lorne, and Airies Inlet in the east, including the Great Ocean Road area. It also stretches 100 metres out to sea from low tide and therefore includes the iconic Twelve Apostles. "Eastern Maar" is a name adopted by the people who identify as Maar, Eastern Gunditjmara, Tjap Wurrung, Peek Whurrong, Kirrae Whurrung, Kuurn Kopan Noot and/or Yarro waetch (Tooram Tribe) amongst others. We wish to acknowledge the Eastern Maar as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging.


Old Aquarium Location Map

Latitude: 38° 24.223′ S   (38.403719° S / 38° 24′ 13.39″ S)
Longitude: 142° 28.547′ E   (142.475775° E / 142° 28′ 32.79″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map | Get directions
Added: 2021-06-08 14:32:31 GMT, Last updated: 2022-05-24 05:52:34 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: Warrnambool Breakwater Inside, 151 m, bearing 10°, N
Warrnambool, Shipwreck Coast.
Depth: 4 to 14 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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