The Balcombe Estuary Reserves, declared in 1987, cover 44 hectares of bushland between the Nepean Highway and the coastline. Managed by Mornington Peninsula Shire, they protect the last unspoilt estuary on the eastern side of Port Phillip.
Balcombe Creek, which flows through the Reserves, arises at the back of Mt Eliza and flows through Baxter and the Moorooduc plain, before it is joined by Devilbend Creek and turns westwards towards Port Phillip. In its lower reaches, it flows through The Briars Historic Park, then the Balcombe Estuary Reserves, entering the Bay at Mt Martha.
The Reserves are a haven for local flora and fauna. Plants range from native orchids, tiny ground hugging herbs and flowering shrubs, to Swamp Paperbarks, She-oaks and stately Manna Gums.
Wetland birds which graze and roost about the estuary include Egrets, Spoonbills, Cormorants, Pelicans, Ducks, Water Fowl and Herons. Among the native fish species in the creek, is the nationally threatened Dwarf Galaxia.
Lizards, skinks and frogs find shelter among fallen logs and low plants. Woodland birds range from tiny Wrens, Thornbills, Honeyeaters, Mistletoe birds and Robins, which thrive in the dense undergrowth, to Rosellas, Kookaburras and Goshawks.
Mammals to be seen include echidnas, sugar gliders, swamp rats, several tiny bat species, possums and an occasional koala.