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Robina Lakes

Robina Lakes Click to enlarge

The Robina Lakes were constructed between the years of 1983 and 1991 and comprise three lakes which include South Lake, West Lake and Clear Island Waters. South Lake, which is the oldest, has a total area of 65 hectares. West Lake comprises a total area of 20 hectares.

The lakes system is bounded by Markeri Street to the north, Bermuda Street to the east, Cottesloe Drive to the south and Robina Parkway to the west. The lakes are located within the suburb of Robina which is a high density urban area.

History of Robina Lakes

Construction of Robina Lakes commenced in the early 1980s and was completed in January 1991. It was the largest dredging and earthmoving project ever undertaken on the Gold Coast at a cost of $24 million. The lake was originally owned by the Robina Land Corporation until it was handed over to the Albert Shire Council (now City of Gold Coast) as a major public amenity.

The lake has a shoreline of 20 kilometres and a water depth ranging from three metres to 10 metres. Approximately six million cubic metres of soil was excavated to create the lake and utilised as fill for residential areas and roads surrounding the lake.

The artificial lake system was built to act as a retention basin designed to receive flood waters and stormwater runoff from Mudgeeraba and Worongary Creek catchments. Two concrete weir structures and a navigation lock at Boobegan separate the lakes from the tidal waters of Little Tallebudgera Creek and Boobegan Creek. These structures were constructed to regulate floodwaters into the central Gold Coast canal in response to events experienced during the 1974 floods. Floodwaters from the upstream catchments are stored in the lakes and subsequently released across the weirs, which have a dual role of controlling outflow rates as well as preventing tidal intrusion.

The lakes were constructed with the intention of becoming freshwater, providing habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Over 50 types of bird species and a diversity of vegetation inhabit the lakes and surrounds.

January 1991, Robina Review, Edition 17, page 7. Published by the Robina Land Corporation, Robina.
WBM 2009, Robina Lakes Management Plan, prepared for the Gold Coast City Council, Gold Coast, Queensland.

Pest plants and animals in Robina Lakes

Robina Lakes is historically known as a hotspot where free-floating native and invasive aquatic plants congregate, creating a mat-like appearance that some residents find visually unpleasant. Common pest aquatic plant species found in Robina Lakes include:

Currently, a number of pest aquatic fish species have been found in Robina Lakes. Unfortunately, pest fish species are introduced into the waterway through accidental and intentional release into the lakes system. For further information visit:

Native plants and animals in Robina Lakes

Robina Lakes is a freshwater aquatic ecosystem that has been artificially created during the establishment of residential development in Robina. The waterbodies provide a variety of freshwater habitats, ranging from shallow, vegetated and bare margins to deeper, generally unvegetated areas. Whilst the lakes provide a limited range of avian habitats for bird species, a list of 56 bird species has been recorded by the community.

Native aquatic vegetation is an important component of freshwater ecosystems such as that of Robina Lakes. Aquatic vegetation provides habitat and food for a wide variety of native fish, turtles, birds and other wildlife. Plant growth also allows removal of excessive nutrients washed into the lakes, not just through the growth of the plants themselves but as a result of the habitat they provide for algae, epiphytes and biofilms (colonies of microorganisms that adhere to plants and other surfaces), which filter out and consume nutrients in the water column.

Common native aquatic plant and animal species found in Robina Lakes include:

Water quality monitoring and management

The City conducts a number of water quality monitoring and management activities within Robina Lakes. For more information visit the following pages:

Jump to key information
  • What is City of Gold Coast doing to control the weed problem in Robina West and South Lakes?

    Further information in relation to weed control in Robina Lakes can be found on our Aquatic vegetation harvesting page.

  • What is City of Gold Coast doing to monitor water quality in Robina Lakes?

    Further information in relation to City of Gold Coast’s water quality monitoring program can be found on our Waterways monitoring page.

  • How can I help to improve Robina Lakes?

    The stormwater entering Robina Lakes is largely untreated, therefore the growth of aquatic plants is highly dependent on the condition of the catchment and the way in which residents use chemicals (e.g. fertilisers) and dispose of waste (e.g. grass clippings, dog faeces).

    It is vital that all residents ensure that fertilisers, detergents, pet droppings, lawn and garden clippings are not allowed to wash into the lakes. When washed into the lakes, these substances break down into a ready supply of plant-available nutrients, stimulating further aquatic plant and algal growth.

    For more information about stormwater and the impacts of stormwater pollution on our waterways, refer to the environmental links here.

  • I’m concerned about the behaviour of some boat users in the lakes. Who do I contact?

    The use of motorised vessels in Robina West and South Lakes is prohibited and is restricted to commercially-registered boats owned and operated by the City. Boating is allowed in Clear Island Waters but a six knot speed limit applies.

    The City currently has no authority to control boating within the Robina Lakes system. If you are concerned about the actions of irresponsible boat users, you can contact the Queensland Water Police on 07 5509 5700 or Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol on 07 5583 5500.

    Further information in relation to boating on the Gold Coast can be found on our Boating page.

    To report any damaged speed advisory signs within Robina Lakes, please phone the Gold Coast Office of Maritime Safety Queensland on 07 5539 7300.

  • Why are the Robina Lakes freshwater?

    The former Queensland Department of Primary Industries (DPI) regulated the tidal regime of the Nerang River system. The DPI determined that the Robina Lakes should not be tidal due to the potential for erosion from tidal flow in the Nerang River system further downstream from the lakes. Additionally, the Robina Land Corporation requested that the lakes be freshwater to maintain and encourage freshwater aquatic wildlife.

    In 1997, a number of options were investigated to convert the lakes from their present freshwater condition to a saline configuration through the construction of a salt water pumping system, drawing saline water from adjacent tidal waters. Several studies were conducted to determine the preference of the local community for either retention of the lakes in a freshwater condition, or conversion to salt water. Approximately 60 per cent of respondents preferred the retention of a freshwater system. Subsequently, Council decided that the lakes should remain freshwater (WBM 2003).  

    WBM 2003, Robina Lakes Management Plan, WBM Brisbane Queensland.

  • Who manages revetment walls within Robina Lakes?

    Further information in relation to revetment walls can be found at Revetment Walls.

  • Can I swim in Robina Lakes?

    Robina Lakes is not a designated area for swimming. It is more suited for secondary recreational activities such as canoeing and fishing. You can find further information here about City of Gold Coast swimming enclosures.

  • Who do I contact when I find injured wildlife?

    If you come across injured wildlife and can safely transport it, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary provides emergency veterinary care. Further information on injured wildlife can be found on the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation website.

    Alternatively, you can contact one of the Wildlife Rescue and Care organisations.


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