Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, December 4, 2010

LAKE EYRE SOUTH, (South Australia- PART 3)

We continued on our journey through the desert from Marree to Lake Eyre South in our small 4WD coach. We detoured from the original itinerary but we were not told why. I had to erase the parts we didn't do and add the bits we did do on the map below.

Lake Eyre is the lowest point in Australia at 15m/49ft below sea level. It covers 9,500 sq km/3,668 sq m. It is mostly dry and covered in salt pan. When heavy monsoon rains fall in northern Queensland, the Diamentina and Cooper rivers flood, water spews into the desert through the channel country and finally finds its way into Lake Eyre months later. Mostly the water evaporates before it reaches the lake or it evaporates in the lake faster than it is filling. (Which is happening at the moment after heavy rains partially filled the lake this year). The lake is rarely full. It has occurred only 6 times since 1885. The last time was in 1974.  

I attached my polarising lens which makes the sky and earth look the real colour and not washed out. Sometimes there were hills and dunes and other times..... was flat as far as you could see. The recent rains had made the desert green.

Finally we arrived at Lake Eyre South which is a smaller lake connected to the main Lake Eyre by a channel. I was disappointed that we stopped at a lookout not far from the main road but didn't go down to the lake edge. "Look how far away it is, but you can see the salt and if you try hard you can see the water on the horizon." Photography is deceiving. I am actually standing on a high hill and it is miles to the edge of the lake.
Thank goodness for telephoto lenses. I could see the salt and the water but no birdlife. 

Disappointed, I turned to photographing the last of the wild flowers. We were a bit late for the flower season but some were still hanging on. I think these are called Poached Egg and they are going to seed.
Birthday Bear was sad not to be able to walk on the salt pan since she had worn her walking shoes.

After a drink (it was 38 C/102F) and reading the information boards at the lookout we headed back towards Marree where we stayed for 2 nights. We went on a scenic flight over the Lake Eyre North the next day. It was spectacular.


  1. Cool photos of the lake and the sky looks beautiful. I hope you all stayed cool in that hot weather. I wish you could send me some of your hot weather. It was 38f here today.

  2. Well----guess you won't want to go back there again, Diane. You two have been to so many wonderful places.. It doesn't sound like this one was at the top of your list. Sorry about that... Birthday Bear's expression sorta said it all, didn't it???? ha

    Have a good weekend.

  3. Brilliant Diane - your geographical skills are certainly now coming to the fore. The rivers into Lake Eyre are not connected to the Darling/Murray system ( for the overseas viewers who may have noted/read/seen on TV that this area is again in flood mode).

    Just love your stance pointing - real "Aussiefied" - like "bloody well listen to me - the place is there!"

    Can't wait for the next episode - hurry up - now stop drinking the prize for guessing the "Swiss thing" on BB's blog - I want to win my Chateauneuf du Pape (2004 vintage).
    Great work Diane.
    Colin (HB)

  4. How annoying, driving all that way and not getting to walk out onto the lake. It is interesting to see the end result of the poached egg daisies. 'Twas hot.

  5. Hi Diane! Thanks for the comment at my place. I was just talking the other day about you. Wondered where you had gone. Now I know!

  6. In my little group of 10 in 2007, I actually crunched over the salt pan.

  7. Diane, love the cloud formation in some of the pictures. My geography lessons continue. Many thanks

  8. The photo you pointing to the lake is funny but also sad. What on earth had the tourguide in mind.
    Show you the dessert, the sky? You must have been mad.

  9. Thanks for the interesting sightseeing tour ! what an amazing landscape ! When I imagine all this salt !! I have only seen this once in the US.

  10. Fabulous - do they harvest the salt to use? We could do with a bit on our roads to defrost them. xxxx

  11. Wow, I wish I could see this!! You must have a really amazing camera to get such great shots from so far away!

  12. Ah, when all else fails ... stand and point! Love it.
    A shame you didn't get to have a crunch over the salt crust though.
    At least you had the scenic flight, coming up the next day.

  13. Interesting Diane,
    I think you expected to see a lot more of Lake Eyre from the ground.
    Amazing how beautiful it can be in the 'wet' and how drab other times, however taking a flight over the lake is awesome.
    But that is our homeland, Australia :)

  14. Pictures are wonderful, even if your visit wasn't quite perfect!

    Reading it certainly warmed up my chilly toes. That was a hot day -- Centigrade or Farenheit ;>))

  15. I found this to be a very interesting post, even if your itinerary was changed. Your pictures are very spectacular and your description of the lake is informative. Thank you.

  16. That last photo is amazing. Nice to have the equipment when the occassion calls for it.