Lake Macquarie

Physical characteristics

Latitude (ºS) -33.09
Longitude (ºE) 151.66
Catchment area (km2)1 604.4
Estuary area (km2)1,2 114.1
Estuary volume (ML)3 646274.3
Average depth (m)4 5.7
Roy et al. (2001) classification5 III/5/A
Entrance condition6 O/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 500m upstream from the entrance on 16/4/96

Tide state Flow
(106 m3
tidal range (m)
Sydney Harbour
tidal range (m)
Ebb flow 11.18 1.18 1.34
Flood flow  10.89 1.16 1.29

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

Date Data collected Figure Report
1973 Lake Macquarie channel study. - MHL168
1974 Lake Macquarie channel study - includes some velocity data from 1969. - MHL185
Mar 1980 Current metering at six lines, nine tideboards, temp/salinity and suspended sediments. - MHL307
Nov 1983 Current metering at two lines, six tideboards, temperature/salinity readings, dissolved oxygen, suspended sediment sampling, anemometer and barograph. - MHL424
Dec 1986 Current metering at eight lines, three tideboards, temp/sal readings and drogue tracking - raw data only. - MHL491
Jun 1996 Extensive data collection: water levels at nine sites, velocities at four sites (16/4) and two sites (24/4), in situ water quality at four sites and 172 water quality profiles. 1988-30.pdf MHL770

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  Description Scale     Size
 56874s01.pdf  Index plan & notes (survey date 2010 - 2012)  1:30000  4177kb
 56874s02.pdf  Cockle, Brush and Hat Creeks  1:5000  675kb
 56874s03.pdf  Cockle, Warners & Awaba Bays, Cockle, North & South Creeks  1:5000  1492kb
 56874s04.pdf  Fennell, Edmunds, Kooroora, Toronto & Kilaben Bays, Stony & Stockyard Creeks  1:5000  1219kb
 56874s05.pdf  Toronto, Kilaben & Secret Bays, Stony Creek  1:5000  1737kb
 56874s06.pdf  Belmont & Village Bays  1:5000  1785kb
 56874s07.pdf  Jigadee, Dora & Stockton Creeks  1:5000  497kb
 56874s08.pdf  Lake Erraring, Whiteheads Lagoon, Myuna & Bonnells Bays, Dora Creek  1:5000  1317kb
 56874s09.pdf  Myuna Bay, Boat Harbour & Wangi Wangi Bay  1:5000  2440kb
 56874s10.pdf  Margarets Bay, Galgabba Point, Galgabree Ck, Wang Wangi Point, Fishing Station Point  1:5000  2590kb
 56874s11.pdf  Pourmalong Creek, Wyee, Bardens & Sugar Bays, Lake Petite  1:5000  1452kb
 56874s12.pdf  Fishery Point, Frying Pan & Crangan Bays  1:5000  1665kb
 56874s13.pdf  Wyee Creek, Wyee, Mannering & Chain Valley Bays  1:5000  766kb
 56874s14.pdf  Karignan Creek, Chain Valley & Crangan Bays  1:5000  793kb
 56874.txt  Lake Macquarie xyz data  N/A  1903kb
53077SH1.pdf Index plan & tidal planes (survey date 1996) 1:10000 551.2kb
53077SH2.pdf Lake Macquarie (Marks Point) 1:2000 309.3kb
53077SH3.pdf Lake Macquarie (Spectacle Island) 1:2000 383.8kb
53077SH4.pdf Swansea Channel & Swan Bay 1:2000 473.5kb
53077SH5.pdf Swansea Channel - Lake Macquarie entrance 1:2000 285.7kb
53077SH6.pdf Swansea Channel - Lake Macquarie entrance (Coon Island) 1:2000 226.3kb
53077SH7.pdf Swansea Channel - Lake Macquarie entrance (Swansea) 1:2000 388.5kb
53077SH8.pdf Swansea Channel - Lake Macquarie entrance (Swansea) 1:2000 322.8kb
53077SH9.pdf Swansea Channel - Lake Macquarie entrance (Black Neds Bay) 1:2000 285.4kb
53077.txt Lake Macquarie xyz data N/A 437.7kb
55536s01.pdf Black Neds Bay (survey date 2006) 1:2000 1225.1kb
55536.txt Black Neds Bay xyz data N/A 84.9kb
Page last updated: 16 January 2013