Wetland Wanderings - Breamlea

Brochure 10 in the series covering information on Wetland Wanderings.

Welcome to Breamlea, a very special place. Breamlea is a very unique spot with just 100 houses nestled in the shelter of spectacular sand dunes between the coast and the unique saltmash and estuarine environment of Thompsons Creek.

Get out, stretch your legs and take in both the amazing wetland and coastal environment that is Breamlea.


Breamlea is located halfway between Torquay and Barwon Heads on the Breamlea Road.

  • From Torquay follow the Black Gate Road and turn right onto the Breamlea Road.
  • From Barwon Heads or Geelong, follow the Barwon Heads Road and turn into Bluestone School Road, follow all signs to Breamlea.

Melways Ref: Map 495 6B

Site description

Breamlea has been a holiday destination for over 40,000 years. Before European settlement it is said that the local tribe, the Wadawurrung, migrated down Thompsons Creek (formally Bream Creek) during summer to harvest food from the sea.

The Breamlea Township is located behind a large open dune system that is vegetated with coastal grassland and shrubland vegetation, providing habitat for many birds including the threatened Hooded Plover.

There is a great deal of open space in Breamlea, primarily to protect areas of environmental significance, such as wetlands, sand dunes and saltmarsh. Areas such as the recreation reserve have been highlighted as an excellent place to undertake outdoor activities such as walking the dog and family cricket or utilise the picnic facilities for a barbeque lunch.

Bancoora Beach is the only patrolled and safe swimming beach in Breamlea, and the Bancoora Surf Life Saving Club is the main visitor destination point in the town, along with the Breamlea Caravan Park and shop.

The estuary of Thompsons Creek supports a fascinating saltmarsh community. Historically wetlands, in particular saline ones, were regarded as 'smelly old swamps' and 'only good for breeding mosquitoes'. Saltmarshes are actually highly productive areas and provide fish breeding habitat, shallow foraging areas for wading birds and water-filtering areas for stream-flow.

Map of the Breamlea area showing points of interest plus three photos for illustration
Click to Enlarge Image

Biodiversity values

The Breamlea Saltmarsh has significant environmental values and is a primary feeding ground for the threatened Orange-bellied Parrot. This small parrot migrates annually to winter in South Australia from Tasmania, passing through Victoria on-route.

Other bird species sighted in the Breamlea area include:

  • White-faced Heron
  • Masked Lapwing
  • Double-banded Plover
  • Red-capped Plover
  • Silver Gull
  • Grey Teal
  • Red-necked Stint
  • Greenshank
  • Crested Tern and
  • White-fronted Chat

The aquatic and emergent vegetation of the Breamlea wetland provides physical shelter for fish and other aquatic fauna. Thompsons Creek was locally known as Bream Creek, indicating its historical role as a Bream fishery.

Other fish know to inhabit the creek and wetland include:

  • Big-headed Gudgeon
  • Black Bream
  • Greenback Flounder
  • Long-snouted Flounder
  • Small-mouthed Hardyhead
  • Tommy Ruff
  • Yellow-eyed Mullet
  • Common Galaxias and
  • Australian Salmon

The regular appearance of pelicans on the estuary is a good indicator of the presence of fish.

Other fringing vegetation has a particular role as well. Chaffy Saw Sedge (Gahnia filum) is home to the threatened Skipper Butterfly. This butterfly specifically inhabits this species of sedge.

For further information contact:

Logos of sponsor organisations: action Salinity & Water Australia, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Geelong Region Wetlands Project and Parks Victoria

A project sponsored by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality program. A joint Initiative of the Victorian and Australian Governments.

This site is part of the Wetland Wanderings Ecotour. Each wetland site has its own brochure highlighting the features of the site in more detail. Some sites may be drive by only and some are close to a parking bay so you can stop, read the site information from the selected brochure and go for a wander around the wetland.

Happy Wetland Wandering.

Page last updated: Monday, 9 December 2019