Lake Illawarra is one of the most picturesque spots on the coast. The lake has something for everyone, from parks and jetties along the foreshore to water-based activities like boating, fishing and snorkelling.
The lake provides a natural boundary between Wollongong and Shellharbour.
Care of Lake Illawarra is guided by a Coastal Management Program, or CMP. The CMP includes physical works, monitoring and investigation, and planning and education activities.
See our Lake Illawarra CMP Snapshot PDF, 1261.48 KB for an overview of the lake and what's planned for coming years.
You can also read the full CMP in the 'Planning for Lake Illawarra' section below.
We manage Lake Illawarra in partnership with Shellharbour City Council and the NSW Government.
Wollongong City Council looks after several open spaces, pathways and stormwater outlets around the lake. Shellharbour City Council looks after similar items on the southern side of the lake.
Other structures like jetties, wharves, boat ramps and the bridge are managed by the NSW Government.
Report a problem at Lake Illawarra
If you need to report a problem at Lake Illawarra, contact the relevant agency.
If you’re not sure who to contact, email or call us on (02) 4227 7111. We’ll help if we can, or point you in the right direction.
Estuaries are unique and important natural environments. They contain a wide range of habitats and ecosystems that support many different types of plants, animals, birds and fish.
The health of Lake Illawarra can be threatened by coastal development, human activity and natural weather events such as storms and floods. However, we can help to protect and manage the estuary through the Lake Illawarra Ecosystem Health and Water Quality Monitoring Program.
This program focuses on the estuary health and recreational health of Lake Illawarra.
- Estuary health refers to the ecological integrity of an estuary.
- Recreational health of an estuary relates to the safety of the water body for swimming or boating.
Council collects and analyses data on this complex ecosystem. The information we collect helps us to understand the health and condition of Lake Illawarra so we can manage it effectively.
- Technical reports analysing water quality and estuary health indicators are produced regularly, based on the NSW Government's Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER) protocols.
- A report card provides a 'snapshot' of the ecological health of Lake Illawarra.
- Recreational water quality is measured by the presence of enterococci, and tells us if the water meets primary and secondary recreational water quality guidelines.
You can read recent reports and report cards for Lake Illawarra below.
|PDF File||Lake-Illawarra-Estuary-Health-and-Water-Quality-Report-Card-2020-21.pdf||2.7 MB|
|PDF File||Lake-Illawarra-Water-Quality-and-Estuary-Health-Monitoring-Report-2021.pdf||4.5 MB|
|PDF File||Lake-Illawarra-Water-Quality-and-Estuary-Health-Monitoring-and-Reporting-February-2020.pdf||1.2 MB|
|PDF File||Lake-Illawarra-Estuary-Health-Monitoring-and-Reporting-June-2018.pdf||2.7 MB|
We have developed a Coastal Management Program (CMP) PDF, 11709.17 KB for the lake in partnership with Shellharbour City Council. The CMP is a strategic program that will guide us in taking care of the lake over the next 5 to 10 years.
The CMP is supported by a number of studies and reports including:
- a Synthesis Report PDF, 25351.98 KB that pulls together detailed research and background information about the lake, and
- a Community Uses, Values, Threats and Opportunities Report PDF, 14539.34 KB which was created by listening to our community and lake users to understand how Lake Illawarra is used, what you value about it, and what may threaten these values and uses.
In 2019 the draft CMP went on public exhibition and the document has been updated to address concerns and make appropriate changes. The final draft CMP was endorsed for submission to the Minister for certification by both councils in April 2020.
The draft CMP was certified by the Minister for Local Government, Shelly Hancock, on 9 November 2020. It will now go to both Wollongong City Council and Shellharbour City Council for endorsement before it is published in the NSW Gazette. We expect this to happen before the end of 2020.
Once the Plan is gazetted, we’ll start putting it into practice.
If you’d like to know more about opportunities for the community to be involved in planning for the lake, email or call us on (02) 4227 7111.
NSW Government Community Consultation on Lake Illawarra Jetties
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has reviewed feedback from the community on priority upgrade work to Lake Illawarra’s public jetties.
They have announced that five jetties will undergo repair work to ensure they can be safely enjoyed by the local community. Major repairs will be made at Tuggerah Bay Jetty, Purry Burry Point Jetty, Koonawarra Bay Jetty, King Street Jetty and Old Merinda Wharf.
For more information please visit the DPIE's website.
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