Insider pics: latest photos from Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park

Insider pics: latest photos from Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park

Remem­ber how Lake Eyre/Kati-Than­da looked back in July? These pics show how a few months can make a big difference.

One of the most-asked ques­tions the Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Aus­tralia receives is about con­di­tions at Kati-Than­da-Lake Eyre in the state’s far north.

Australia’s largest salt lake is an icon­ic site that sits dry most of the time, so any water in the area is a big event that attracts tourists from around Aus­tralia and the world.

Flinders Ranges and Out­back Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Man­ag­er Tony Magor recent­ly flew over the area and shared these pho­tos and insights as an update to his July adven­tures.

The last flight that we under­took over Lake Eyre was two months ago, so we flew over now in Sep­tem­ber and what a dif­fer­ence that two months has made,’ Tony said. 

The inflows stopped some time ago, but the lake still has a lot to offer for those vis­i­tors still trav­el­ling to the region.’

Locat­ed about 750 kilo­me­tres north of Ade­laide, the north lake itself mea­sures a whop­ping 114 km long by 77 km wide, and is the low­est point in Australia.

The best way to see the lake is from the air, and scenic flights are avail­able from Maree, William Creek and Wilpe­na Pound.

Tony’s flight revealed that the north lake sur­face cov­ered by water is now down from about 55 per cent two months ago to about 15 per cent.

The major­i­ty of the War­bur­ton Groove and the north lake is dry, which led to a bit of raised dust dur­ing the flight. 

Lake Eyre South has been dry all year and was cov­ered in a lay­er of raised dust as Tony flew up to the north lake.


Dusty Lake Eyre South

Peo­ple still vis­it­ing the region who have the time to fly over the whole lake will have a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to see two con­trasts of the lake con­cur­rent­ly – the south west sec­tion with a lot of water, and the rest of the lake dry and white,’ Tony said.

The water is still impres­sive as it is all con­gre­gat­ed in Belt Bay, Jack­boot Bay, around and just north of Dal­hunty Island. Birds were seen on Sil­crete and Dal­hunty Islands, but not in big numbers.

The water around Dal­hunty Island is very shal­low and will evap­o­rate quick­ly. Water in Jack­boot Bay will still per­sist for some time and a quite full Belt Bay is like­ly to have water in it until at least the end of the year.

There is a very small tongue’ of water in the top of the War­bur­ton Groove on the lake and it is here and at the low­er sec­tion of the War­bur­ton Creek that we saw large con­cen­tra­tions of ducks, as well as a few flocks of pel­i­cans and cormorants.’


Look­ing west along Dal­hunty Island, Lake Eyre North.


Look­ing north up dry War­bur­ton Groove and Hugh­es Island, Lake Eyre North.

Kati-Than­da-Lake Eyre’s 1.2 mil­lion-square-kilo­me­tre catch­ment area is one of the largest inte­ri­or drainage basins in the world and cov­ers a sixth of the Aus­tralian continent.

The area is com­prised of two lakes – the much larg­er north­ern lake and the small­er south­ern lake. The two lakes are con­nect­ed to each oth­er through a nar­row chan­nel known as the Goy­der Channel.

The harsh Aus­tralian desert envi­ron­ment means the lake sits dry most of the time. On aver­age every eight years or so flood waters from inland Queens­land flow down riv­er sys­tems such as the Dia­man­ti­na Riv­er, Coop­er Creek and War­bur­ton Creek and enter into Lake Eyre North. How­ev­er some lev­el of flood­ing has occurred every year since 2009.

Dry Hugh­es Island, Lake Eyre North.
Dry War­bur­ton Groove, half way up Lake Eyre North
Remain­ing water War­bur­ton Creek inlet, Lake Eyre North.
Dry sec­tion of Lake Eyre North.
Top of Jack­boot Bay, Lake Eyre North.
Bot­tom west­ern shore of Jack­boot Bay, Lake Eyre North.

Vis­it the
Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Aus­traliaweb­site to plan your vis­it. You might also like to vis­it thesedesert hotspotson the way.

(Main image:Sil­crete Island, Lake Eyre North.All images cap­tured on 17 Sep­tem­ber 2019)

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living