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 - 20-02-2019
Fence corner 17th hole.
Observations 133

BmP1 Barham River P1- Golf Course

Retired Photopoint 02-04-2010 - 20-03-2018

Fence corner 17th hole.

Photos 70

BmP2 Barham River P2- Ocean Road

Active Photopoint 29-08-2010 - 20-02-2019
Fishing platform
Photos 110

BmP3 Barham River P3- Golf Course

Active Photopoint 01-01-2013 - 20-02-2019
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 144

Recent Events

Event Details
03-12-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

At 13.00 the Barham river mouth is closed with minimal berm clearance. The seas are rough with gale force West winds. The estuary height is approximately 1.25 m.

The following day, the 04/12/2018 the river mouth is open and the estuary height is 1.12m.

Even against moderate river flow the strong Westerly weather has made this the 3rd short term river mouth closure for the new season.

The chances of a closure may have been increased by dune replenishment works. Sand from the harbour [NE of the river mouth] has been trucked to the SW of the river mouth to rebuild the dune supporting the Great Ocean Road. That area of the dune is vulnerable to SE storms especially.  Of note the sand from the harbour has tested as being 50% fine sand while the original dune in that area was 30% fine sand. There may be an increase in the amount of sand travelling past the river mouth, West to East.

23-11-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

At 09.45 the Barham river mouth is closed and the estuary height is 1.11m. The West wind is strong and the sea is moderate. The Paradise river gauge is at 0.29m. There has been 14mm of rain in the last 48 hours but there is no sediment in the river flow. At 14.00 the estuary height is approximately 1.2m.

The following day, 24/11/2018 the river mouth is open and the estuary height is 1.1m.

07-11-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

The Barham river mouth is closed with minimal berm clearance. The estuary height is approximately 1.2m. Days of strong West/NthWest winds with rough seas has pushed sand into the river mouth. The Paradise river gauge is at 0.24m.

On the 08/11/2018 the river mouth is open and the flow is out.

04-05-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

30/04/2018 at 11.00 the estuary level is at 0.84m. The river mouth is closed with rough seas with a smooth swell entering the estuary over the berm. The river flow gauge is at 0.163; quite low.

01/05/2018 at 13.45 the estuary height is 1.02m. Seas are moderate.

04/05/2018 at 8.30 the river mouth is just closed with the berm clearance zero. The estuary height has peaked at 1.21m. Seas are smooth.

This is the last river mouth closure for the season. There was a total of 5 river mouth closures for the season.

16-04-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

31/03/2018 at 16.00 the Barham river mouth has closed. The sea is smooth. The estuary height is 0.9m.

02/04/2018 at 17.40 the Paradise River Gauge is at 0.168m [fairly low]. The estuary height is 1.18m and the sea is smooth. The berm clearance is 0.23m.

07/04/2018 at 09.30 the estuary height is 1.42m. An artificial opening of the river mouth has failed; closed by the following high tide. The berm clearance is below 0.3m.

12/04/2018 at 10.00 the estuary height is 1.53m, there is a moderate sea and moderate west wind. The berm has not been topped by waves since 07/04/2018.

14/04/2018 at 10.00 the estuary height is 1.58m. Seas are slight but there is a strong West wind.

15/04/2018 at 11.15 the estuary height is 1.92m. Gales and the rough seas  are crossing the berm in all areas without established vegetation.

15/04/2018 at 15.40 the estuary height is 1.98m and the berm clearance is 0.1m. Weather conditions are calmer. The Paradise river gauge after rain is at 0.37m but with little sediment in the water.

16/04/2018 at 07.30 the estuary height is 1.7m, sea conditions are moderate to rough.The river mouth looks as if it has had an early morning natural opening. From fine debris lines it seems to have reached a peak estuary water height of 2.1m before the RM opening.        The Paradise river gauge is at 0.32m.   At 12.30 the estuary height is 1.2m.


23-03-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

04/03/2018 at 18.00 the River mouth is closed, the sea is smooth and the estuary water height is 1.04m. The river flow is very low, below 0.15 at the Paradise river gauge. The high tide and low river flow appear to be the main contributors to the river mouth closure.

13/03/2018 at 11.30 the estuary water height has reached 1.26m.

The 19th, 20th and  21st of March seas are rough.

22/03/12018 at 08.15 the estuary height is 1.64 and the berm clearance is just under 0.2m. At 1.6m the estuary water starts to spread out into the backwater.

23/03/2018 at 09.00 the estuary height is 1.642m. The overnight high tide had covered an approved attempt at an artificial opening. The berm clearance is 0.23m.

23/03/2018 at 10.00 An approved artificial opening is being dug out again to protect a couple of camp sites which were not needed or used on the weekend.

23/03/2018 at 03.15 the river mouth is open and the estuary height is 1.32m.The artificial river mouth openings are being approved at lower and lower estuary water heights.

View all events

Mouth Condition Snapshots

20-02-2019 #12709

Photopoint BmP2-1
Photopoint BmP3-1

16-01-2019 #12643

Photopoint BmP2-1
Photopoint BmP3-3

12-12-2018 #12589

Photopoint BmP2-1
Photopoint BmP3-3

11-11-2018 #12520

Photopoint BmP2-1
Photopoint BmP3-3

02-10-2018 #12431

Photopoint BmP2-1
Photopoint BmP3-3

31-08-2018 #12365

Photopoint BmP2-3

01-08-2018 #12301

Photopoint BmP2-1
Photopoint BmP3-3

04-07-2018 #12237

Photopoint BmP2-1
Photopoint BmP3-3

04-06-2018 #12111

Photopoint BmP2-1
Photopoint BmP3-3

03-05-2018 #12014

Photopoint BmP2-1
Photopoint BmP3-3

20-03-2018 #11904

Photopoint BmP2-1
Photopoint BmP3-1
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