Lake Illawarra is a shallow coastal lagoon located between the ocean and the cliffs of the Illawarra escarpment.

The elevated areas of the catchment area closer to the escarpment are mostly forest and rural areas. The lower areas closer to the lake are flatter and include a mix of residential, commercial and heavy industrial development. Two major transport links, the M1 freeway and the Illawarra railway line, cross the catchment.

Lake Illawarra has an area of approximately 35km2. Waterways of Lake Illawarra include Minnegang Creek, Budjong Creek, Hooka Creek, Mullet Creek, Brooks Creek, Yallah Creek, Duck Creek, Wollingurry Creek, Marshall Mt Creek, Macquarie Rivulet, Frazer Creek, Albion Creek, Horsley Creek, Oakey Gully. The Macquarie Rivulet and Mullet Creek catchments contribute approx 70% of the total catchment area.

In the past, flooding of the Lake Illawarra foreshore has caused property damage, restricted property access and has been a general inconvenience to residents and tourists. These flooding issues, combined with considerable development pressure along the lake foreshore, have prompted the Lake Illawarra Floodplain Management Committee to prepare a Floodplain Risk Management Plan for the Lake Illawarra foreshore area.

A Coastal Management Program (CMP) for Lake Illawarra has been prepared under the guidance of the Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee and can be found  here.

Program scheduleStatus
Data collectionCommenced 1998
Flood studyAdopted 2001
Floodplain Risk Management StudyAdopted January 2012
Floodplain Risk Management PlanAdopted January 2012
Development Control Plan matricesJanuary 2012
Implementation of plan



Expressions of interest for the Lake Illawarra CMP Implementation Group

Are you passionate about the current and future care of Lake Illawarra?

Wollongong and Shellharbour City Councils are working together to implement the Lake Illawarra Coastal Management Program (CMP) and we’re calling for volunteers to join the Lake Illawarra CMP Implementation Group.

Community representatives

We’re seeking two community representatives from each local government area. You will advocate and give a voice to the community by overseeing and providing advice on the implementation of actions within the Lake Illawarra CMP.

Scientific Advisor

As a Scientific Advisor you will provide sound expert advice on the implementation of actions within the Lake Illawarra CMP.

The Group will meet quarterly over a 12 month period with the possibility of extension. Meetings will be held online or in person at either Wollongong City Council’s Administration Building or Shellharbour Civic Centre.  

As membership of this Group is voluntary, there is no remuneration for members.

For more information visit or call our Environmental Project Officer – Lake Illawarra on (02) 4227 7111. Expressions of interest close Friday 18 March.

Last updated : Wed 8 Jun 2022