Estuary name Barham River Estuary
CMA Corangamite CMA

The Barham enters the sea between Apollo Bay and Marengo after meandering across a broad tidal waterway, an uncommon river style within the region. The Barham River Estuary is 2.980km in length, with a catchment area of 192.1Ha that contains several geologically significant sites.

Estuary Values
  • significant birds species found on the Barham River estuary are the Eastern Great Egret (Ardea modesta) Status: Vulnerable (Adv List) , Whiskered Tern (Childonias hybrida) Status: Near Threatened (Adv List) , Fairy Tern (Stemula nereis nereis) Status: Vulnerable (EPBC), Endangered (Adv List) and the Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis) Status: Vulnerable (Adv List and EPBC)
  • a significant fish species found on the Barham River estuary is the Australian Grayling.
  • the Barham River supplies water to Apollo Bay
  • canoeing
  • picnics
  • walking
  • camping
  • recreational fishing.
Estuary Threats
  •  degraded riparian vegetation
  • stock access
  • bank erosion
  • invasive flora and fauna
  • reduced connectivity
  •  poor water quality


Data Site observations
Status Active
Monitor group Barham EstuaryWatchers
Document Barham River Estuary Fact Sheet



Site details Options

BmGB Barham River Water Level Gauge Board

Active Gauge Board
The water level gauge board is located on the eastern river bank beside the Great Ocean Road bridge.

BmMC Barham River Observation Site

Active Mouth Condition 23-05-2008 - 20-04-2017
Fence corner 17th hole.
Observations 113

BmP1 Barham River P1- Golf Course

Retired Photopoint 02-04-2010 - 06-12-2012

Fence corner 17th hole.

Photos 67

BmP2 Barham River P2- Ocean Road

Active Photopoint 29-08-2010 - 20-04-2017
Fishing platform
Photos 81

BmP3 Barham River P3- Golf Course

Active Photopoint 01-01-2013 - 20-04-2017
Enter via walking track from the carpark at the corner of Gambier and Trafalgar Street. Follow the track to the 6th hole of the golf course.
Photos 105

Recent Events

Event Details
03-04-2017 Estuary Entrance Opening

Barham River estuary was artificially opened to the sea.  Water level was 1.96m AHD.



22-03-2017 Estuary Entrance Opening

On 15/03/2017 at 09:00 the Barham river mouth is closed and the estuary height is1.03m AHD. Seas are slight and there is a fresh Northerly.

On 19/03/2017 at 11:45 the estuary height is 1.295m AHD ,the river mouth is closed with a berm clearance of 0.18m. The Paradise river gauge is at 0.17m AHD, the lowest I've seen it this season.

On 21/03/2017 at 17:45 the estuary height is 1.48m AHD, the river mouth is closed the sea is rough and the SE wind is fresh. There has been significant rain, 32mm at Marengo by 14.10 and another 12mm by 06.00. However the river flow is still only moderate, the runoff into the river has been low.

On 22/03/2017 at 08:45 the river mouth is open, the seas are moderate and the wind is a fresh SE. The estuary height is 1.0m AHD. There has been another 20mm of rain overnight [64mm in 24hours] and the Paradise river gauge is at 0.52m AHD. The river flow likely peaked at 0.55m AHD and sediment is moderate in the strong flow.

By 15:30 on the 22nd the strong river flow has scoured out sand inside the river mouth and the estuary height is below 0.5m AHD. At or near the minimum height achievable  with the rock shelf inside the river mouth.

11-03-2017 Estuary Entrance Opening

On 02/03/2017 at 09.00 the Barham river mouth is closed and the estuary height is 0.92m AHD.

The estuary height had not fallen below 0.84m AHD since the last river mouth closure.

On 06/03/2017 at 10.30 the estuary height is 1.22m AHD and the berm clearance is 0.25m AHD.

There has been dominant easterly weather and the rocks outside the River mouth are heavily exposed.

On 09/03/2017 at 14.15 the estuary height is 1.365m AHD.

On 11/03/2017 at 09.00 the river mouth has naturally opened and the estuary height is 0.84m AHD. The next day the height is 0.76m AHD.

20-02-2017 Estuary Entrance Opening

12/02/2017 at 16.45. The Barham River mouth has closed, the estuary height is 0.92m. The sea condition is slight but there is a strong West wind.

13/02/2017 the sea condition is moderate to rough.

15/02/2017 at 15.45. The sea is smooth and the estuary height is1.38m. The Paradise river gauge is at 0.21m.

18/02/2017 at 17.00. Sea conditions are moderate, waves are crossing the berm into the estuary and building up the berm.

19/02/2017 at 10.50. There has been overnight rain and the estuary height is 1.60m and the berm clearance is 0.1m.

20/02/2017 at 10.40. The river mouth is open and the estuary height is 0.96m.

At 1.60m depth the channels in the estuary backwaters are inundated.

03-02-2017 Estuary Entrance Opening

01-02-2017 10:00 is the first observed river mouth closure since May 2016. Since that time there has been good rainfall but no flood events were the Barham River has broken its banks.

Good river flows have kept the river mouth open.

01-02-2017 at 11.15 the estuary height is 1.12m, the river mouth is closed and sea conditions are slight.

02-02-2017 at13.20 the estuary height is 1.20m, the river mouth is closed, sea conditions are slight and the berm clearance is 0.15m. This day at 12.45 the Paradise River Gauge is at o.18m. On the 17-01-2017 it was at 0.20m.

03-02-2017 at 10.15 the river mouth is open, sea conditions are smooth and the estuary height is 1.24m. The main contributing factor causing the river mouth closure was clearly the high predicted tides following the New Moon.


12-05-2016 Weather Event
At 09.55 on the 12/05/2016 the estuary water height is at 1.19m. The river mouth is open, the flow is out and there is moderate sea conditions.
At 15.15 waves are entering the river mouth. The wind is a strong Westerly and the estuary height is 1.45m.
The high tide at 16.10 in the Harbour is at 1.36mAHD.
At 16.21 the estuary height is 1.57m and at !6.44 it is at 1.60m.
A similar pattern but with a lower high tide and smaller seas occurred on the 12/05/2016 and the estuary water height peaked at 1.56m at 17.20.
A pattern I have noticed in past years with Westerly winds, moderate sea conditions and an open river mouth. The estuary water height will be raised approximately 0.2metres above the high tide peak in the Harbour.
Wednesday 11/05/2016 at 16.00
Thursday 12/05/2016 at 15.15
Thursday 12/05/2016 at 09.55
11-05-2016 Weather Event
AT 13.20 on the 11/05/2016 the estuary water height is 1.22m. The rver mouth is open and there are moderate seas entering the estuary.
At 15.05 the estuary is at 1.66m. At 15.10 the tide level in the Harbour is 1.55mAHD. The wind is a strong Westerly.
At 15.40 the high tide level in the Harbour is 1.67m AHD.
At 16.40 the estuary water height is 1.81m.
At 16.43 the estuary water height is a 1.76m and dropping.
River mouth at 15.20 on 11/05/2016
10-05-2016 Weather Event
On Monday 09/05/2016 the Barham river mouth is closed, the estuary water height is 1.30m. The berm clearance is 0.2m and the seas are slight.
At 07.50 on Tuesday 10/05/2016 the river mouth is just open and the estuary height is 1.66m. the seas are slight and the tide is low. The paradise river gauge is at 0.406 and the flow has very light sediment.
At 14.45 the estuary height is 1.58m; waves are coming in the open river mouth and the seas have become moderaate.
At 14.50 the tide height in the Harbour is1.57mAHD [2.51m CD].
At 15.47 the tide is receding and the estuary height is 1.66m.
The estuary height was recorded as only 0.1 of a metre higher than the tide peak.
River mouth at 15.05 10/05/2016
Seal colony at 16.00 on 10/05/2016
River mouth at 15.00 on 10/05/2016
05-05-2016 Weather Event
For 2 days leading to the 05/05/2016 rough seas had been having a dynamic affect at the Barham river mouth. The river mouth was closing and opening with swell and tides. The estuary water height ranged between 1.2m and 1.41m.
The largest swell I observed during that weather event was at 9.40 on the 05/05/2016. The estuary water height was 1.31m, the river mouth was open and the flow was both in and out with the swell entering the estuary.
9.10 on the 05/05/2015 at the Barham river mouth
30-04-2016 Estuary Entrance Opening
Artificial estuary opening. 1.81m AHD.
30/04/2016 at 9.10, Barham river mouth opening
View all events

Mouth Condition Snapshots

20-04-2017 #11094

Photopoint BmP2-1

16-03-2017 #10911

Photopoint BmP2-1

16-02-2017 #10813

Photopoint BmP2-1

27-01-2017 #10762

Photopoint BmP2-1

20-12-2016 #10638

Photopoint BmP2-1

16-11-2016 #10556

Photopoint BmP2-2

18-10-2016 #10555

Photopoint BmP2-1

23-09-2016 #10554

Photopoint BmP2-1

16-08-2016 #10552

Photopoint BmP2-1

22-07-2016 #10550

Photopoint BmP2-1

22-06-2016 #10389

Photopoint BmP2-1

25-05-2016 #10333

Photopoint BmP2-

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