Nerang River Catchment

Nerang River Catchment aerial image of waterfall

Catchment facts

  • The Nerang River Catchment is the largest and most significant river system on the Gold Coast.
  • Total catchment area is 493.3 square kilometres
  • The total length of the waterway networks within the Nerang River Catchment is 928 kilometres.
  • Catchment Management Groups = Numinbah Valley Landcare, Springbrook Landcare, Nerang River Keepers, Austinville Landcare, Friends of Crane Creek and Hinterland Regional Park Bushcare Group.
  • Major tributaries = Mudgeeraba Creek, Bonogin Creek, Wyangan Creek, Worongary Creek, Gin House Creek, Little Nerang Creek, Crane Creek and Mooyumbin Creek.
  • Other tributaries = Gardiners Creek, Small Creek, Nixon Creek, Boobegan Creek, Bridge Creek and Reedy Creek.
  • Springbrook National Park provides a significant proportion of the Nerang River Catchment water supply as well as for the Gold Coast.
  • The Springbrook National Park is divided into four sections, with three sections within the Nerang River Catchment - Springbrook Plateau, Natural Bridge and Numinbah. It is also part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.

About the Catchment

View a map of the Nerang River catchment area on the Southern Gold Coast Catchment Story, a map journal developed by the Queensland Wetlands Program in the Department of Environment and Science, in partnership with local councils, Healthy Land and Water and Gold Coast Waterways.

The Nerang River's upper reaches begin in the McPherson Range and Springbrook Plateau. Here, it delivers flows through significant rural areas and also feeds into two dams (Hinze Dam and Little Nerang Dam). These provide a large percentage of the Gold Coast's drinking water supply.

The Nerang River continues its course from the Hinze Dam wall flowing approximately 36 kilometres through rural residential and agricultural land use areas reaching its tidal limit just upstream from Weedons Crossing. The tidal estuary region of the system traverses through medium and high density urban residential areas. The region receives runoff from the Carrara/Merrimac floodplain area before joining the Broadwater system and flowing into the Pacific Ocean via the Gold Coast Seaway (GCCC 2002).

Multi-branched canal developments and a number of artificial tidal and freshwater lake systems have influenced and altered large areas of the floodplain. These canal developments provide a range of opportunities for many residents including boating and recreational fishing. The canals and lakes provide habitat to a range of aquatic, terrestrial and marine flora and fauna. The canal systems provide for drainage of stormwater and contribute to flood mitigation, but can periodically be subject to contamination via stormwater drainage (GCCC 2002).

A large number of tributaries discharge into the Nerang River system downstream from the Hinze Dam. These include Crane Creek, Bonogin Creek, Mudgeeraba Creek (via Clear Island Waters), Witt Avenue and Carrara drain, Benowa flood channel and Mooyumbin Creek. Each of these sub-catchments face pressures associated with varying land use activities and catchment characteristics, which has the potential to impact on water quality through stormwater run-off.

Projects within the Catchment

The City's initiatives to improve the Nerang River Catchment include:

  • Nerang River Estuary Health Study
  • Health Study of the Nerang River Lakes and Canals

Nerang River Integrated Catchment and Waterway Management Plan

The Nerang River Integrated Catchment and Waterway Management Plan was developed in 2006 for the Nerang River Catchment. It provides a framework for effective investment in catchment management actions that help achieve sustainability goals.

For further information and advice please contact us.


  • GCCC 2002, Health of the Gold Coast Waterways, Gold Coast City Council, Queensland

For information on the health of the Nerang River Catchment, view its report card at Healthy Land and Water.

To find out more about how you can become involved in caring for your catchment why not consider volunteering in your catchment? Visit the Watergum website to find out how you can get involved.