Reef Dive | Shore access
Depth: 1 m (3.28 ft) to 10 m (33 ft)
Level: Open Water and beyond.
Parker Inlet, east of the Cape Otway Lighthouse, is a small and stunning cove with a sandy beach at the mouth of the Parker River on Victoria's Otway Coast. The diveable rock platforms can be seen from the lookout at the car park.
The Parker River flows through steep, forested slopes to enter the coast in a 200 metre deep bay, with just a 50 metre wide entrance between two 50 metre high headlands. The river and waves have built a 100 metre long beach inside the bay, with a small, low, sand barrier and estuary behind the beach. The bay is shallow, with a bar and permanent rip occupying the area between the beach and the entrance. Rock platforms line either side of the entrance.
The Parker River Beach sits between two large hills, facing south-easterly in the Great Otway National Park. The hill on the western side is Parker Hill, where there is the Parker Hill Campground and a car park with a track down to Parker Inlet.
Beach access is only a short walk from the campground. Follow the iconic Great Ocean Walk north toward Parker Inlet. A steep climb down 300 steps will lead you to a secluded beach at the mouth of Parker River. From there you can explore the intertidal rock pools or head out into the water for a dive or snorkel. There is plenty of challenging reef to explore to the south and north of Parker Inlet, and schools of ocean going fish.
How To Get There
Parker Hill Campground is near the southern tip of Cape Otway, approximately three hours from Melbourne and 15 minutes from the small town of Horden Vale.
From the east, approach Apollo Bay and Cape Otway along the Great Ocean Road (B100) by taking either Anglesea Road or Surf Coast Highway from Geelong.
From Colac, approach through Lavers Hill (inland route C155).
From the west, pick up the Great Ocean Road by approaching via Port Campbell (inland route C164).
From the Great Ocean Road, take Lighthouse Road and then Blanket Bay Road to reach Parker Hill Track, which is accessible by 2WD.
Weather Required: Diving here requires a day of exceptionally good weather. Conditions need to be calm, with no swell or rough weather coming in, which means the dive site is best in summer and autumn. Offshore north westerly winds will flatten out the sea.
Weak or average swimmers should not consider diving here. It's an exposed site and conditions can change quickly. Beware of waves and tides when visiting this site. See WillyWeather (Parker Inlet) 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.
See also, SLS BeachSafe: Parker River,
Parks Victoria: Parker Hill Campground,
Visitor Guide: Great Otway National Park - Apollo Bay, Cape Otway and surrounds, and
Parker Inlet in "Shore Dives of Victoria" by Ian Lewis, 3rd edition page 8.
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.
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.
Parker Inlet, Cape Otway Location Map
Latitude: 38° 50.743′ S (38.845714° S / 38° 50′ 44.57″ S)
Longitude: 143° 33.663′ E (143.561045° E / 143° 33′ 39.76″ E)
Datum: WGS84 | Google Map | Get directions
Added: 2022-03-04 17:08:34 GMT, Last updated: 2022-04-29 14:19:39 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: Point Franklin, Cape Otway, 1,313 m, bearing 222°, SW
Cape Otway National Park, Otway 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.