Wetland Wanderings - Lake Connewarre

Brochure 9 in the series covering information on Wetland Wanderings.

Welcome to Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve, one of Victoria’s most significant wetlands areas, one of the largest estuaries in the state.

Lake Connewarre has a variety of swamps, marches, lakes and river areas providing a wide range of habitat for fauna. Take in the amazing surroundings, masses of birds and see why this area is so important.


Lake Connewarre is situated on the Bellarine Peninsula approximately 8 kilometres south-east of Geelong. It is in close proximity to Ocean Grove, Leopold and Barwon Heads. A great spot to visit is directly off the Barwon Heads Road.

When heading east, take Stacey’s Road left before you reach the Barwon Heads airport. Follow the road down to the end and you will find the perfect spot to stop!

Site Description

Lake Connewarre is the largest area of remnant indigenous vegetation on the Bellarine Peninsula and is of particular importance for maintaining the ecological diversity of the region.

Lake Connewarre is a large, shallow, estuarine lagoon linked to the sea by the mangrove-fringed channel of the Lower Barwon River.

The Reserve contains good examples of a diverse range of wetlands and their associated communities particularly mangrove and saltmarsh communities.

The lower two thirds of the estuary are essentially unmodified and form an important link in the chain of swamps utilised by migratory waders and waterfowl.

Map of the Lake  Connewarre area showing points of interest
Click to Enlarge Image

Biodiversity values

A number of plant associations, whilst extensive in Lake Connewarre, are rare elsewhere in Victoria. These include Australian Salt-grass grassland along the Barwon River and an extensive area of Silky wilsonia herbland.

The lake itself harbours extensive seagrass meadows which provide important spawning and nursery sites for fish.

The combination of dry climate, estuarine influence and large area has contributed to the development of diverse, species-rich salt marsh and sub-saline marsh vegetation.

Much of the land surrounding and adjacent Lake Connewarre is freehold land which has been cleared for agricultural purposes.

Poa grassland and Melaleuca scrub add scenic qualities and floristic diversity to the reserve.

The Barwon River and associated lakes, swamps and floodplains have estuarine fauna not found elsewhere along the Victorian coast. It includes species specially adapted to fluctuations in salinity from full saltwater to full freshwater conditions.

Lake Connewarre has been considered to be a significant waterbird breeding site and feeding ground, supporting large numbers of migratory waders and waterfowl as well as numerous resident species.

149 avian species have been recorded in the reserve which regularly supports 10,000 ducks and swans and 1% of the Australian population of the Chestnut Teal.

Straw-necked Ibis and Yellow-billed Spoonbills utilise breeding sites in the area and extensive stands of saltmarsh provide critical habitat for the endangered Orange-bellied Parrot in winter.

The lower reaches of the Barwon River attract flocks which commonly include Grenshank, Eastern Golden Plover, Curlew Sandpiper and Red-necked Stint.

Large numbers of Black Swans congregate most of the year on Lake Connewarre, while Pelicans, Caspian Terns and three species of cormorant can be found feeding on open water. During the winter, Coot gather in unusually large numbers.

View more information about Lake Connewarre on the Parks Victoria website.

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