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  • Welcome to the Patawalonga Lake

    On Kaurna Land

    You are standing at the south end of the Patawalonga Lake in Kaurna Country. The Kaurna People are the traditional owners of the Adelaide Plains and have carefully managed the land and its resources for thousands of years. The Kaurna People continue to have an important connection to the coastal plains today and have a unique cultural relationship to the land and waters. This includes a responsibility to look after the wellbeing of country. This area was originally a tidal estuary with dunes and wetlands. Fish, birds and other wildlife continue to rely on the sheltered waters of this managed lake system.

    The Patawalonga Lake System

    An artificial ribbon lake, the Pat runs 1.6km along the Glenelg North and West Beach coast and is used for paddling, fishing and other recreational opportunities. The Pat also hosts a marina accessible via a boat lock. The Pat plays a vital part in managing urban stormwater from a catchment of more than 230km2 and reduces the risk of flooding to the surrounding area. You are standing near the South Gates, also known as the Glenelg Gates. These are an automated set of lift gates that open on the rising tide allowing tidal circulation of fresh sea water. Every 3 to 4 days the lake’s total volume is replaced with fresh sea water to maintain a healthy marine environment. The Pat can hold up to 312 million litres of sea water, about the same volume as 120 Olympic swimming pools.

    Dolphins in the Patawalonga

    Dolphins regularly visit the Patawalonga. They can enter and exit when the South Gates open or when a boat uses the adjacent lock. There is no need to worry if you see dolphins in the Pat. They are able to make their way back out to sea when the gates or lock open. Look out for dolphins on both sides of the gates. They can sometimes be seen breaching (leaping out of the water) and tail slapping near the gates. They often dive in the deeper water and chase fish into the gate bays. Dolphins have many different fishing techniques including surface fishing, bottom fishing, kick fishing and fish throwing. Listen carefully and you may hear a splash or puff from a dolphin as it surfaces to take a breath.

    Please Help Our Dolphins

    Do not feed

    Dolphins are wild animals. Touching, feeding and approaching dolphins is illegal and can be very harmful to them.

    Reel in fishing lines

    Fishing line and debris can be dangerous for dolphins and other wildlife. • Please reel in lines if dolphins are close. • Do not throw fish scraps in the water. • Dispose of fishing lines and rubbish properly.

Welcome to the Patawalonga Lake

On Kaurna Land

You are standing at the south end of the Patawalonga Lake in Kaurna Country. The Kaurna People are the traditional owners of the Adelaide Plains and have carefully managed the land and its resources for thousands of years. The Kaurna People continue to have an important connection to the coastal plains today and have a unique cultural relationship to the land and waters. This includes a responsibility to look after the wellbeing of country. This area was originally a tidal estuary with dunes and wetlands. Fish, birds and other wildlife continue to rely on the sheltered waters of this managed lake system.

The Patawalonga Lake System

An artificial ribbon lake, the Pat runs 1.6km along the Glenelg North and West Beach coast and is used for paddling, fishing and other recreational opportunities. The Pat also hosts a marina accessible via a boat lock. The Pat plays a vital part in managing urban stormwater from a catchment of more than 230km2 and reduces the risk of flooding to the surrounding area. You are standing near the South Gates, also known as the Glenelg Gates. These are an automated set of lift gates that open on the rising tide allowing tidal circulation of fresh sea water. Every 3 to 4 days the lake’s total volume is replaced with fresh sea water to maintain a healthy marine environment. The Pat can hold up to 312 million litres of sea water, about the same volume as 120 Olympic swimming pools.

Dolphins in the Patawalonga

Dolphins regularly visit the Patawalonga. They can enter and exit when the South Gates open or when a boat uses the adjacent lock. There is no need to worry if you see dolphins in the Pat. They are able to make their way back out to sea when the gates or lock open. Look out for dolphins on both sides of the gates. They can sometimes be seen breaching (leaping out of the water) and tail slapping near the gates. They often dive in the deeper water and chase fish into the gate bays. Dolphins have many different fishing techniques including surface fishing, bottom fishing, kick fishing and fish throwing. Listen carefully and you may hear a splash or puff from a dolphin as it surfaces to take a breath.

Please Help Our Dolphins

Do not feed

Dolphins are wild animals. Touching, feeding and approaching dolphins is illegal and can be very harmful to them.

Reel in fishing lines

Fishing line and debris can be dangerous for dolphins and other wildlife. • Please reel in lines if dolphins are close. • Do not throw fish scraps in the water. • Dispose of fishing lines and rubbish properly.

Wigley Reserve

picnic shelter

Nearest picnic shelter

Please call the Marine Mammal Emergency number (0427 556 676) if you see:

    - ​people feeding or harassing dolphins 

    - a sick, injured or deceased dolphin

Educational resources

Fact sheet: Fish information

Activity: Bird Bingo

Activity: Patawalonga Dolphin Trail bookmarks

NPWSSA Respecting Marine Mammals safety sticker

NPWSSA Marine Mammal Strandings

Useful links

DEW Patawalonga Lake System

Feeding dolphins disrupts their natural feeding patterns

Boats pose risk of injury to dolphins

Pollution harms dolphins

Fishing line harms dolphins

Trail stations

along the South-East bank

2

Station 2

along the South-East bank

opposite the Patawilya Reserve

3

Station 3

opposite the Patawilya Reserve

at the Patawalonga boat ramp

4

Station 4

at the Patawalonga boat ramp

at the Diversion Basin

5

Station 5

at the Diversion Basin

at the West Beach entry

6

Station 6

at the West Beach entry

at the Stanley St beach

7

Station 7

at the Stanley St beach

Keep in mind when watching dolphins

Dolphin fishing techniques

Dolphins have many different fishing techniques including surface fishing, bottom fishing, kick fishing and fish throwing. Surface fishingSurface fishing is when dolphins race just beneath the surface of the water, often on their backs. Bottom fishingBottom fishing is when dolphins dive down deeper to catch fish that are spending time near the sea floor. Kick fishingKick fishing is when a dolphin slaps a school of fish with its tail, stunning the fish and making them easy to catch. Fish throwingDolphins will also often play with their food and can sometimes even be seen throwing fish and jellyfish in the air.

Station 1

at the South Gates

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