Measurements in the macro-tidal Daly Estuary show that the presence of an undular tidal bore contributed negligibly to the dissipation of tidal energy. No recirculation bubble was observed between a trough and the following wave crest in the lee waves following the undular bore. This differs to stationary undular bores in laboratory experiments at larger Froude numbers where a recirculation bubble exists. Secondary motions and the turbulence generated by the undular bore had no measurable influence on the sediment transport. This situation contrasts with the intense sediment resuspension observed in breaking tidal bores. The tidally averaged sediment budget in the Daly Estuary was controlled by the asymmetry of tidal currents. The undular bore may widen the river by breaking along the banks that it undercuts, leading to bank slippage. A patch of river-wide macro-turbulence of 3-min duration occurred about 20 min after the passage of the bore during accelerating tidal currents. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.