Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre from the air

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre from the air

Get a bird’s‑eye view of how recent rain has breathed new life into a usu­al­ly arid landscape.

Imag­ine stand­ing at the edge of Kati Than­da-Lake Eyre, Australia’s largest salt lake, in the heart of South Aus­tralia. The lakebed is vast, and at 15.2 metres below sea lev­el, it is the low­est point in Australia.

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre from the air

While flood waters cov­er the lake once every eight years on aver­age, it has only filled to capac­i­ty three times in the last cen­tu­ry and a half.

Recent rains have again brought water and a flush of new life to the region. In late June, 55 per cent of the north lake was cov­ered with water, and about 20 per cent of the south lake was cov­ered – although some areas were pret­ty shallow.

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre from the air

When there’s water, water­birds descend in large num­bers on the lake or in the lake’s trib­u­taries, includ­ing pel­i­cans, sil­ver gulls, red-necked avo­cets, band­ed stilts and gull-billed terns.

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre from the air

It’s a spec­tac­u­lar sight and one best expe­ri­enced from the air. Char­ter flights are avail­able from sev­er­al places includ­ing William Creek, Mar­ree, and Wilpena.

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre from the air

If con­di­tions are right, you’ll enjoy the ever chang­ing fea­tures of this exten­sive salt sink, which has min­er­al­i­sa­tion from the evap­o­ra­tion of flood­wa­ters over thou­sands of years.

Not far back from the lake’s edge there are sandy dunes and smat­ter­ings of mul­ga, aca­cias and cane grass.

Get­ting there

Kati Than­da-Lake Eyre Nation­al Park is locat­ed 60 kilo­me­tres east of William Creek. Access is via the Ood­na­dat­ta Track and Hal­li­gan Bay Pub­lic Access Route.

The park is also 95km north-west of Mar­ree and can be accessed via Muloo­ri­na Sta­tion and Lev­el Post Bay Pub­lic Access Route.

You’ll need a four-wheel dri­ve vehi­cle, and in such a dynam­ic land­scape, it’s essen­tial to check that roads and tracks are open.

Where to camp

There is a camp­ground at Hal­li­gan Bay Point on the shores of the lake. It is an exposed, flat camp­ground with lim­it­ed facil­i­ties – two toi­lets and two pic­nic shelters.

There is also a pri­vate­ly run camp­ground at Muloo­ri­na Sta­tion, 51km north of Mar­ree. The site also has lim­it­ed facilities.

When to go

Kati Than­da-Lake Eyre Nation­al Park is open all year round, how­ev­er the Hal­li­gan Bay Pub­lic Access Route is closed from 1 Decem­ber to 15 March when tem­per­a­tures soar to more than 50 degrees Celsius.

Cul­tur­al sen­si­tiv­i­ties and safety

The Ara­bana peo­ple pre­fer that vis­i­tors do not walk on Kati Than­da-Lake Eyre. If vis­i­tors choose to walk on the lake they must stay with­in 100 metres of the shore­line and be care­ful not to dam­age the environment.

Vehi­cles are not allowed on the lake’s surface.

Kati Than­da-Lake Eyre Nation­al Park is part of a harsh, desert envi­ron­ment. The sum­mer heat can be dan­ger­ous, and rain can quick­ly change the envi­ron­ment mak­ing the ter­rain dif­fi­cult to navigate.

Check theKati Than­da-Lake Eyre web­pagefor maps and oth­er infor­ma­tion. Under the Safe­ty’tab, click on Know before you go’ to find infor­ma­tion about cur­rent con­di­tions, access and road con­di­tions in the lat­est Desert Parks Bulletin.

Main image: Madi­gan Gulf look­ing west towards Brooks Island

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living