Hunter River

Physical characteristics

Latitude (ºS)-32.91
Longitude (ºE)151.80
Catchment area (km2)121367.0
Estuary area (km2)1,247.0
Estuary volume (ML)3137089.4
Average depth (m)43.3
Roy et al. (2001) classification5III/5/D
Entrance condition6O/T
  1. Derived from DECCW (2010) NSW estuaries and coastal catchments spatial database.
  2. Includes area mapped as open water (see note 1), mangrove and saltmarsh areas (Creese R. G., Glasby T. M., West G. and Gallen C. (2009) Mapping the habitats of NSW estuaries. Industry & Investment NSW Fisheries Final Report Series 113. Port Stephens, NSW, Australia.
  3. Based on areas at 0.6 m AHD (Roper T., Creese B., Scanes P., Stephens K., Williams R., Dela-Cruz J., Coade G. and Coates B. (2011) Assessing the condition of estuaries and coastal lake ecosystems in NSW. Office of Environment and Heritage, Sydney).
  4. Estimated by dividing the total volume at 0.6 m AHD by the total surface area of the estuary including mangrove areas but excluding saltmarsh (Roper et al., 2011)
  5. Estuary group: I = oceanic embayment, II = tide dominated estuary, III = wave dominated estuary, IV = intermittently closed estuary V = freshwater bodies
    Estuary type: 1 = ocean embayments, 3 = drowned valley estuary, 5 = barrier estuary, 6 = barrier lagoon, 7 = interbarrier estuary, 8 = saline coastal lagoon, 9 = small coastal creeks, 11 = brackish barrier lake. Evolution stage: A=youthful, B=intermediate, C=semi-mature, D=mature.
    (P. S. Roy, R. J. Williams, A. R. Jones, I. Yassini, P. J. Gibbs, B. Coates, R. J. West, P. R. Scanes, J. P. Hudson and S. Nichol (2001) Structure and Function of South-east Australian Estuaries. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 53, 351-384)
  6. Entrance conditions: O = open, T = trained, I = intermittent.

Tidal prism

The volume of water moving past a fixed cross section during each flood tide or ebb tide (i.e. slack water to slack water), is referred to as the tidal prism of an estuary.

The following table shows the measured tidal prism at the location specified, along with the tidal range for near the measurement site and at Sydney Harbour.

Location:     approximately 3.5km from the entrance on 9/10/95

Tide stateFlow
(106 m3
tidal range (m)
Sydney Harbour
tidal range (m)
Ebb flow29.21.421.36
Flood flow 26.81.411.37

Tidal survey

Tidal surveys measure the hydrodynamic behaviour of an estuary during a full tidal cycle. The parameters measured include velocity, water levels, salinity, temperature and pH.

The following tidal surveys have been undertaken on this estuary. A map shows the location and plots of the flows and water levels for the most comprehensive survey.

Copies of tidal survey reports are available from the Estuary Management Program

DateData collectedFigureReport
Sep 1966Littoral drift in the vicinity of the harbour entrance.-MHL115
Sep 1976Sediment movement in Newcastle Bight.-MHL206
Sep 1981Current metering on the lower reaches at seven lines, seven tideboards, temperature/salinity and suspended sediment - no discharge data available.-MHL325
Oct 1995Discharge measurements at nine sites, water levels at twenty-three sites, in situ velocities at two sites, in situ water quality measurements at sixteen sites and water quality profiles on low and high water slack on Hunter, Williams and Paterson Rivers.1988-29.pdfMHL750

Hydrographic survey

The hydrographic survey provides the depth and physical characteristics of the estuary.

The metadata associated with the survey can be found on the map sheets provided.

Map sheet number DescriptionScale    Size
56748s01.pdfCross section locations1:250001909kb
56748s02.pdfCross sections - Hunter River (Hexham)1:1000 H 1:200 V226kb
56748s03.pdfCross sections - Hunter River (Heatherbrae)1:1000 H 1:200 V234kb
56748s04.pdfCross sections - Hunter River (Raymond Terrace)1:1000 H 1:200 V239kb
56748s05.pdfCross sections - Hunter River & Paterson River1:1000 H 1:200 V239kb
56748s06.pdfCross sections - Paterson River1:1000 H 1:200 V177kb
56748s07.pdfCross sections - Paterson River & Williams River1:1000 H 1:200 V192kb
56748.txtCross sections xyz dataN/A53kb
Page last updated: 26 April 2012