Marriners Falls was a small but quaint 7m waterfall nestled in the forest lands in back of the coastal town of Apollo Bay. It was the last waterfall we were able to squeeze in on a day when we visited at least five others before darkness fell. Being on the Barham River East Branch, it seemed to have pretty reliable flow though we were also helped by a few consecutive days of a freak Antarctic storm that seemed to dump more rain in the Otways than anywhere else in Victoria. That said, our visit here in November 2006 was in the midst of a major drought in the southeast of Australia so the waterflow we witnessed here was definitely not the norm compared to our other waterfalling experiences throughout the state.
The thing about accessing this waterfall was that we had to earn it with a relatively long one-hour walk (roughly 3.4km round trip) involving several stream crossings (we counted about 5). We followed the signs and the track was pretty straightforward to follow so we knew exactly where we were supposed to cross the river each time. Fortunately, most of these crossings involved just a bit of nifty boulder hopping to keep our feet dry though we did come prepared with some trekking poles to make these stream crossings even more of a breeze.
Given the fairly primitive nature of the track and even the unsealed access roads to get here, we felt like we were in an area that wasn’t very well visited. The area was surrounded by a native growth rainforest more typical of the Otways and contrasted mightily with the beach town vibe of Apollo Bay. Then again, given its close proximity to the coastal town, I reckon it ought to be a very popular spot, and we just happened to be there towards the end of the day when it was rather quiet.
From the Great Ocean Road in Apollo Bay, we’ll describe the most straightforward route. First, we took Nelson St (just south of the main drag through town) inland for a few blocks (about 600m) to MacLachlan St. Turning left onto MacLachlan St, we then drove out of Apollo Bay as the road became the Barham River Rd. We pretty much continued on the Barham River Road to its end about 12km later. For the last 5-6km, the road was almost single-lane unsealed road so we had to be careful about blind turns and fast cars (usually locals who know these roads) going the other way.
This drive took us roughly about 20 minutes.
For geographical context, Apollo Bay was about 200km (over 2.5 hours drive) southwest of Melbourne along a more inland route, but it was about 189km (about 3 hours drive) southwest of Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road.
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