Lake Eyre South

Submitted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 20:40
ThreadID: 102230 Views:3160 Replies:9 FollowUps:13
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G'day!

I'm heading on a trip in a few days and expect to be near Lake Eyre South in about three weeks.

The plan is to camp off the Oodnadatta track where it's close to the lake and travel on the quadbike to photograph the salt.

Looking at the satellite images on Google Maps, it looks like there's been a fair bit of hooning going on so I'm afraid the natural landscape may be compromised by wheel tracks.

More importantly, the lake appears to be not so salty in this area, not unlike much of Lake Torrens.

I see on the Lake Eyre Yacht Club website that the lake is dry.

Any advice on what to expect?

Thanks!
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Reply By: Mick O - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 20:56

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 20:56
From the SA National Parks latest Desert Parks Bulletin (Late April, 2013)

Apart from a small amount of remnant water at the Warburton Creek entrance of Lake Eyre North, the rest of the lake is now dry. The best way to see water in Lake Eyre is still from the air. Local charters are available at William Creek and Marree.

Halligan Bay Track – Open to 4WD with caution. This track is a declared Public Access Route. It is a bush track, not a road. Drive with caution along the entire track as the landscape is fragile and the track will deteriorate with the number of vehicles using it. Please drive to track conditions. Driving on the Lake surface is an offence and dangerous. Trailers and caravans are not recommended.

Level Post Bay Track – Open to 4WD with cautions due to corrugations. This track is a declared Public Access Route. It is a bush track, not a road. Caution at corrugations, however drive with caution along the entire track as the landscape is fragile and the track will deteriorate with the number of vehicles using it. Please drive to track conditions. Driving on the Lake surface is an offence and dangerous. Trailers and caravans are not recommended. No camping at Level Post Bay – camping at Muloorina campground.

Marree’s Outback Roadhouse Ph (61 8) 8675 8360 – Agents for the Desert Parks Pass & Lake Eyre Permits. Post Office & Commonwealth Bank Agency, diesel & unleaded fuel, gas bottle refills, licensed restaurant and take away service available.

Lake Eyre National Park


''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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AnswerID: 511128

Reply By: Barbera72 - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 21:03

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 21:03
There's no need for vehicles to drive on the salt crust and visually pollute what is a magnificent remote wonder (not to mention is a National Park). If you walk, like I did several times, you'll be able to reach within few kilometres, some interesting spots and take amazing shots of the salt. From google maps you cannot get an up to date surface information as you don't know how old the pictures are, and the lake changes continuously due floods and evaporation. Some part of the lake are just too difficult to even walk on it, due to deep slimy mud underneath the thin salt crust. I particularly prefer Level Post on the eastern shore as a place for photography, as the lake is usually dry and the salt looks white and brighter than Lake Eyre South or Halligan Bay. The best place to ask for fresh infos is the Yatch Club at Marree if is open.


AnswerID: 511129

Follow Up By: Barbera72 - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:24

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:24
This video was taken in April 2011. The second part shows the track that follows the western shores between Halligan Bay and ABC Bay. The salt you see on the lake is hiding mud underneath and almost impossible to walk one it. At some point you are sinking to your knees in mud.

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FollowupID: 789285

Reply By: olcoolone - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 21:08

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 21:08
I would keep a watch on the road conditions as there has been an alert within the last 24hrs restricting vehicles under 3 tons only allowed on a few of the roads up that way.
AnswerID: 511132

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 21:39

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 21:39
Thanks olcoolone! I'll do that.

My immediate quandary is whether I can get over the Snowy Mountains or if I'll have to go up through Canberra and Yass.

The RMS site says caution on the Snowy Mountains Highway, but anything could happen between now and Monday morning.
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Reply By: Bega Photographer - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 21:34

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 21:34
Thanks Mick!

Thanks Barbera!

All valuable info.

I should have mentioned that I'll be travelling in a 2wd trayback ute, towing a trailer with the quadbike, so where I can go off-road is fairly limited, hence the bike. Trouble is, the bike isn't registered so I'm still limited.

So it's non regular tracks on the bike or walk. Most of my stuff is done on station tracks. I don't take well to the regular tourist venues, even the remote ones.

Pretty hard to please, huh!

So these are the reasons why I'm looking at that area beside Oodnadatta Track.

In the past I've gone a couple of hundred kms over a week or so on the bike, but with advancing years and the danger and isolation of the country, I'm cutting back to a more safe or at least less dangerous adventure model.

I travel all alone and it can get pretty scary out there, ya know.

Great image, Barbera! Thanks for that!



AnswerID: 511135

Follow Up By: Barbera72 - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 08:57

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 08:57
Mate, if you don't have a 4x4 you can only reach the lake from south (the lake lookout on the Oodna). If I was you I would drive to Mooloorina station, camp there on the billabong and then drive the quad to level post (50Km from campsite). From there you have hundreds of miles of remoteness and serenity, just walk on the lake surface or in the channel and have fun. You can also walk toward the north shores and be sure you won't meet any tourists. Please don't drive on the lake, you'll take some amazing photos in front of you but you will leave ugly trails behind that will take years to fade and wreck what is one of most beautiful part of Oz.
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FollowupID: 789267

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 09:22

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 09:22
Yep re Google... check the photo date at the foot of Google views - often disgracefully out of date. Yep also to not defacing the lake's surface with vehicles..... not funny for other tourists. Consideration for the Arabana native title over the whole region is probably smart too (its not an exclusive title though - the rest of us are still welcome, but it's not our backyard).
AnswerID: 511152

Reply By: Peter F9 - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 10:25

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 10:25
Hi Bega,

We were out there two weeks ago. There are plenty of motorbike tracks on the lake near the lookout off the Oodnadatta track, which was disappointing.Level Post Bay was much better. Had one bike track but if you walked out a kilometre or so it became pristine.

If you fancy a 14km walk out from Halligan Bay then you will likely see one of Wright Air's planes that had to make an emergency landing on the lake. Would make a great photo!! How they are going to get it out will be interesting!!

Roads were good, probably a bit to good, given the Pagero on its side after coming to grief on a bend near William Creek.

Safe travels

Peter




AnswerID: 511154

Follow Up By: Candace S. - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 10:42

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 10:42
I'd like to get more information about the airplane out there! I hope everybody got out okay. When did that (crash) land out there? Is it possible to get details of the location? Might be a tough walk to it, though, based on my experience at Level Post Bay in 2008. I was there during some rains and the lakebed was very muddy.
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FollowupID: 789277

Follow Up By: rumpig - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:05

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:05
from the quick goggle i just did, it looks like it happened on the 3rd of May 2013. there's a pic of the plane in this thread i found, but no mention of exact location. you could try ringing the helicopter company that is also in the pic to try and get more info if you like http://www.exploroz.com/Forum/Topic/102230/Lake_Eyre_South.aspx?ky=&sn=&p=%2fForum%2fDefault.aspx%3fpn%3d1
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FollowupID: 789278

Follow Up By: rumpig - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:07

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:07
oh for an edit function on here, try this link instead...lol
http://www.pprune.org/pacific-general-aviation-questions/513993-cessna-goes-swimming-lake-eyre.html
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FollowupID: 789279

Follow Up By: rumpig - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:10

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:10
that didn't seem to work either when i clicked the new link that's on this page. just goggle "Wright Air's plane lands on Lake Eyre" and scroll down to about the 4th topic that comes up in that list.
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FollowupID: 789280

Follow Up By: rumpig - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:12

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:12
if you copy and paste the entire link location i put up earlier it'll work, but clicking on the link itself here doesn't.
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FollowupID: 789281

Follow Up By: Candace S. - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:43

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 11:43
Thanks, I got that link to work.

I assumed this incident occurred long ago, I see now that it was actually this month! There's a pic over at that forum, the front wheel of the plane is buried in the salt but otherwise it looks fine.

I did happen across mention of another Cessna that crash-landed on the SE part the lake in 1990. Not sure though where exactly, or if there's much left to see. Reportedly everybody got out of that one okay too.
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FollowupID: 789289

Follow Up By: Peter F9 - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 12:50

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 12:50
Accured on Friday 3 May 13, late in the afternoon. Trevor Wright had engine trouble on a private charter with him and two passengers on board and was forced to land on Lake Eyre. Landed safely about 14kms North East of Halligan Bay. Nose wheel dug in. Due to being late in the day they could not get the rescue chopper out to them so they had to stay with the plane overnight. Chopper plucked them out the next morning. Not sure the fate of the plane. Talk of having to dissassemble it to get it out.
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FollowupID: 789299

Follow Up By: REDHUX - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 16:38

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 16:38
Had a beer or two at William Creek on Sat night with a couple of the aircraft engineers involved in the retrieval of Trev's plane (which should be out by now I think). They put a complete new engine in the plane and used mostly quad bikes to get out there. Said it was still quite boggy in places and with rain expected over the next 48 hours, it will obv get worse. Good luck Bega!
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FollowupID: 789713

Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 10:44

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 10:44
G'day Laurie,

small world, eh? I hardly ever visit EO nowadays so a conversation by chance, indeed.

The images on the L Eyre website page are regularly updated from Landsat or similar. I would imagine that will be the most recent data you can get. I suggest asking Lyall Oldfield of the Marree servo/store for local updates.
I reckon the Muloorina experience might also be quite rewarding, especially visiting Goyder's Channel.

Cheers

Rick M
AnswerID: 511155

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 08:30

Friday, May 17, 2013 at 08:30
G'day Rick! Great to hear from you.

I'll keep Muloorina and Goyder's Channel in mind for a future trip.

Hey! Have you ever driven in to Mount Hopeless? Or has anyone else? Will I get my 2wd trayback in there?

Thanks!
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FollowupID: 789384

Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 09:05

Friday, May 17, 2013 at 09:05
Driven both north & south past Mt Hopeless (the hill is a few km to the west) on the dirt road from Moolawatana to the Strzelecki Track. The hill/peak is quite insignificant in many ways and I can understand why Eyre used that adjective.

IMHO the ground looks rotten - do you know what I mean by that term? Loose underneath, only just firm on top, spewy when wet. If you are after an opinion on going to the hill solo, I'd say no - if you do go down it'd be a long walk back to the Moolawatana HS. by all means give me a ring or email if you want to discuss it more

Have a good 'un.

RM
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FollowupID: 789387

Reply By: Candace S. - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 10:52

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 10:52




Yes, please don't drive on the lakebed!

There wasn't much salt to be seen at Level Post Bay on 7 June 2008. Just a mud plain that wasn't easy to walk on, but probably would have been easy to bog a vehicle on!
AnswerID: 511157

Reply By: Bega Photographer - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 08:23

Friday, May 17, 2013 at 08:23
Ah, thanks to everyone! There's some great info there plus photos and video. Much appreciated!

To set all your caring minds at ease, I have no intention of riding the bike on the lake. It's not only illegal and immoral but downright stupid. I'm well beyond the hooning stage of life.

From the viewpoint of a pristine environmental photographer, degrading the aesthetics is just not on.

I certainly don't want to get the bike stuck in the mud and I don't want to get salty mud on it and have it go rusty.

One of the things I'm up against is that you can't get a quadbike registered. While I've ridden on some roads within stations, just as the pastoralists do, it would be pushing the boundaries a bit far to ride on roads which are on the regular 4x4 tourist route.

I'm having a bit of trouble inserting photos from my website because they're hotlink protected by CloudFlare. Here's another try:





These photos come from near the junction of Teatree Creek with Lake Torrens, east of Andamooka.

I'm hoping the access the mouth of Margaret Creek near Lake Eyre South.

My old bike was not sufficiently reliable for another trip so I bought a new (second hand) one. Here she is fitted out with boxes for the trip:



Later in the year my wife will accompany me on another trip along the Strzelecki track and up to Lake Eyre South. Another couple will be with us with a Landrover. I'll have no trailer and no bike so we may be able to include some of these great suggestions.

Thanks!
AnswerID: 511214

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