Estuary name Painkalac Creek Estuary
CMA Corangamite CMA

Painkalac Creek Estuary is approximately 3.5km in length and has a catchment area of 318.1Ha. It is a beautiful coastal lagoon system which attracts the spotted green frog and the eastern banjo frog (Pobblebonk).

Estuary Values
  • the Painkalac Creek estuary has been identified as an Important Bird Area
  • significant birds can be found on the Painkalac Creek estuary such as the Eastern Great Egret (Ardea modesta) Status: Vulnerable (Adv list), Nankeen Night Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus) Status: Near Threatened (Adv list), Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia) Status: Vulnerable (Adv List)
  • Riparian Forest Ecological Vegetation Class (Vulnerable)
  • Swampy Riparian Woodland Ecological Vegetation Class (Endangered)
  • Riparian Scrub/Swampy Riparian Woodland Complex Ecological Vegetation Class (Depleted)
  • Sedgy Riparian Woodland Ecological Vegetation Class (Depleted)
  • canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddling
  • picnics and barbecues
  • recreational fishing
  • sightseeing
  • swimming
Estuary Threats
  • Degraded estuarine vegetation
  • Disturbance of Acid Sulphate Soils
  • Artificial estuary openings
  • Flow deviation
  • Stock access
  • Bed instability
Data Site observations
Status Active
Monitor group Painkalac Creek EstuaryWatchers
Document Painkalac_Estuary_Management_Plan.pdf
Document Painkalac Creek Estuary Fact Sheet



Site details Options

P1 Estuary mouth area approximately 20m behind sand dune at estuary mouth

Retired Physico-Chemical 23-05-2007 - 23-05-2007

Estuary mouth area approximately 20m behind sand dune at estuary mouth

Observations 1

P2 Great Ocean Road Bridge at Aireys Inlet

Active Physico-Chemical 11-05-2007 - 15-12-2018

Great Ocean Road Bridge at Aireys Inlet - centre post

Observations 152

P3 Coastal Court Fishing Platform

Active Physico-Chemical 14-07-2007 - 12-08-2018
Fishing platform adjacent to Coastal Court
Observations 116

P4 The Bend

Active Physico-Chemical 19-10-2007 - 13-10-2018
Fishing platform at The Bend in the estuary
Observations 128

P5 Woods Property Fairhaven

Active Physico-Chemical 23-05-2007 - 10-11-2018
Fishing jetty at private property. Property owner consent required for access.
Observations 128

PGB Painkalac Creek Water Level Gauge Board

Active Gauge Board
The water level gauge board, used in the mouth condition monitoring process, is located under the Great Ocean bridge. It can be read from the western bank on the inland side of the bridge.

PMC Painkalac Creek Observation Site

Active Mouth Condition 23-05-2007 - 10-11-2018
Lookout platform on eastern side of estuary
Observations 221

Pp1 Painkalac Creek Photopoint

Active Photopoint 13-08-2010 - 10-11-2018
Lookout platform on eastern side of estuary
Photos 482

Recent Events

Event Details
20-06-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

Surf Coast Shire has artificially opened the estuary around 20th June. Water level (m AHD) at the bridge is still high at just on 2m AHD and Coastal Court and Butlers Bend monitoring sites are still underwater.

17-06-2018 Unusual/Extraordinary occurrence!

High tides 1.8m on Saturday and Sunday saw the sea go over the berm on both days. Photos are from Sunday 17th June at 2.40pm. Very windy day and a big sea following high rainfall. 1.9m AHD at the Bridge

20-06-2018 13:50
20-06-2018 13:50
20-06-2018 13:50
20-06-2018 13:50
21-05-2018 Unusual/Extraordinary occurrence!

High tide 1.8m Monday 21st

24-05-2018 07:30
24-05-2018 07:30
24-05-2018 07:30
24-05-2018 07:30
20-05-2018 Unusual/Extraordinary occurrence!

1.8m high tides again on Sunday 20th and Monday 21st May. Sea water over the berm both days. Water level at the Bridge was 1.45m

24-05-2018 07:30
24-05-2018 07:30
18-05-2018 Unusual/Extraordinary occurrence!

The high 1.8m tide at 2.08pm broke over the berm and sea water entered the estuary. Not a lot of sea water but it looked like it may have happened a few times this week as there was quite a lot of seaweed over the berm. Estuary height was 1.4m

18-04-2018 Tides

High tide of 1.6m today saw the sea water break the berm. Not very much sea water into the estuary but higher tides are expected for the rest of the week. The estuary water level was 1.3m

18-04-2018 14:50
18-04-2018 14:50
18-04-2018 14:50
18-04-2018 14:50
05-02-2018 Water level

On Monday February 5, Barwon Water increased releases from the Painkalac Reservoir into Painkalac Creek from 0.6-0.7 Mega Litres of water per day to  2 Mega Litres of water per day.  Releases will return to 0.6-0.7 Mega Litres of water per day on Thursday February 8.

This release of water is called a “Low Flow Fresh”.  A “Low Flow Fresh” is a small amount of water released over a short period of time (1-3 days).  This release of water mimics a localised rainfall event during a time when there is low freshwater flow (Dec-March).  The aim of the release is to maintain summer/autumn water quality, flush sediments from potential egg laying sites in the lead up to autumn fish breeding season and provide some depth variability on surfaces of large wood in the river channel.

If you would like to learn more about the water releases from the Painkalac Reservoir I suggest you  have a read of this report written in 2008


The Victorian Environmental Water Holder also has some fantastic videos on the topic




View all events

Estuary Snapshots

The EstuaryWatch snapshots provide a summary of estuary condition on a particular day. For all EstuaryWatch Snapshots, photopoint photos and a longitudinal water quality profile from the estuary mouth  to the inland extent is displayed. Read more

Full estuary snapshots below use dates where samples at every active monitoring site were recorded. View full and partial snapshots

Summer 2018

Spring 2018

Winter 2018

Autumn 2018

Summer 2018

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