Pambula River

Physical characteristics

Latitude (ºS)-36.95
Longitude (ºE)149.92
Catchment area (km2)1296.5
Estuary area (km2)1,24.7
Estuary volume (ML)39773.7
Average depth (m)42.2
Roy et al. (2001) classification5III/5/C
Entrance condition6O
  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:     1.2km from entrance on 4/10/79

Tide stateFlow
(106 m3
tidal range (m)
Sydney Harbour
tidal range (m)
Ebb flow2.510.911.35
Flood flow 3.411.161.58

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
Oct 1979Current metering at two lines, three tideboards and temp/salinity.-MHL330
Oct 2003Extensive data collection: water levels at one permanent sites and four temporary sites, velocities measured with ADCP at three sites and water quality profiles at twelve sites.1988-58.pdfMHL1290

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
55076s01.pdfIndex plan1:100001128.8kb
55076s02.pdfLegends, notes, tidal planes & datum diagramN/A198.1kb
55076s08.pdfPambula River entrance & Merimbula Bay1:2000740.2kb
55076s09.pdfPambula River upper estuary1:2000224.6kb
55076s10.pdfPambula River mid estuary1:2000571.8kb
55076s11.pdfYowaka River & Pambula River1:2000456.3kb
55076s12.pdfPambula Lake1:25001017.0kb
55076s13.pdfMerimbula Bay1:50001265.1kb
55076.txtMerimbula & Pambula Lakes xyz dataN/A1876.9kb
Page last updated: 27 April 2012