Lake Eyre flight or not?

Submitted: Monday, May 28, 2007 at 13:47
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Gday all
1st post as a paid up member!
We are doing a trip in a few weeks across the Simpson W->E and have been offered the opportunity to do a, "one hour light plane fight over lake Eyre and or the New Painted Hills." Out of William Creek the flight runs.
This will cost about $800 for 2 adults and 2 kids and so I am after advice.
If it is a 'once in a lifetime' sort of thing then we will spend the money and do it but I wonder how much better/different the flight might be.
I know ultimately we have to decide on value but am interested in opinions.... would you spend your hard earned on this??
cheers
John
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Reply By: Member - Cruiser (NSW) - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 13:50

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 13:50
We were there about 4 years ago and the flights to Lake Eyre were $30 per person.

Get a bit of water in there and up goes the price.
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Reply By: Member -Signman - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 13:51

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 13:51
We did a Lake Eyre flight- from William Ck- with WrightAir.
In my opinion- very much worth the time & money...
AnswerID: 242902

Reply By: Andrew from Vivid Adventures - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 13:53

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 13:53
What are you flying in?

You can charter a 3-seater helicopter for 1 hour in Bungle Bungle... I think you're being screwed.

You'd want a "Wing over" set up so that you can take photos out the windows, and you'd want a great cloud day (not blue sky, not overcast), and you'd want to be taking off at first light.

"New Painted Hills"? What is that? Do they mean Painted Desert?

I'd try looking a little further - ask about stations that have private planes operating etc.

Cheers
Andrew.
AnswerID: 242903

Follow Up By: Andrew from Vivid Adventures - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 15:15

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 15:15
that 1 hour charter in Bungle Bungle is $800 in case you are wondering what I am on about.

Cheers
Andrew who wishes David would allow post editing ;-)
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Follow Up By: MintabiePete (NSW) - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 16:28

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 16:28
www.wrightsair.com.au/gallery.htm

very good scenery :)
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Follow Up By: Andrew from Vivid Adventures - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 17:04

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 17:04
Thanks Pete.

Right - that needs to be added to my list.

Does anyone happen to have GPS coords?

Cheers
Andrew.
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Follow Up By: Pajman Pete (SA) - Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 08:06

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 08:06
Looks like no ground access Andrew:

SMH article

But I think it is now on my must do list.

Cheers

Pete
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Follow Up By: Andrew from Vivid Adventures - Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 08:15

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 08:15
I would still love to have the GPS coords for it ... "no ground access" is just a plain challenge.

Unfortunately "Anna Creek Station" is like saying "Europe" - it's a hell of a big place to go looking on Google Earth.

Does anyone have any ideas on the general vacinity?

Cheers
Andrew.
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Follow Up By: Pajman Pete (SA) - Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 09:27

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 09:27
Hi Andrew,

West of Lake Eyre and south of the William Creek Road is all I can garner from the various web references.

Looking at the Natmap Rasters with the other criteria - flat around the hills, 20km x 10km, lots of river beds and no roads - the area around 29º 34.7 S 135º 49.4 E seems to fit the bill. There is also a feature called "Painted Hill" slap bang in the middle of all the little curvey contours.

Everything else in the area is either flat or marked as sandhills.

Cheers

Pete
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Reply By: Member - Mottleman (NSW) - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 15:52

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 15:52
Thanks guys for that...
Hard decision but it does seem like a lot of money.

Any more opinions welcome.

cheers
John
AnswerID: 242921

Reply By: Des Lexic - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 15:56

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 15:56
Around 8 years ago we did a trip to the Kimberly and we did the helicopter flight over the Bungles and it was fantastic. We then moved on to Derby and some others in our group did a fixed wing flight over the coast and they were rapt in that as well. I have always regretted not doing that flight and now I always take the opprtunity to do one if time and availability is in my favour.
I know that I'd like to do one over Lake Eyre providing it had a reasonable amount of water in it. So I'd suggest doing some reearch on other prices as Andrew has suggested and go for it.
Cheers
Des
AnswerID: 242923

Follow Up By: Garbutt - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 17:58

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 17:58
Have to agree with Mr Lexic for once, we have done several flights around Oz including Bungles, Arkaroola, south west tassie and head of bight in whale season, every one has been terrific gives you a different perspective, I say if you can afford it, do it. As for that specific one check if flights are going from Marree as well as William Ck, and compare prices.

GB
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Reply By: Bruce M - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 17:11

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 17:11
Mottleman

I took the one-hour flight over Lake Eyre with Wrightsair on 26 April this year. It cost $180 per adult, and used a high-wing six-seater Cessna. There was water in Lake Eyre North, and the area under water was expanding by the day, but it had not reached a point where it was visible from the shore (Halligan Bay). The pilot on my flight was meticulous in ensuring that photographers got the shots they wanted and that everyone got a look at each point of interest, banking and circling as required. I considered it good value.

Wrightsair's Painted Hills flight goes to a location south of the William Creek Road which it is claimed has scenery better than the Painted Desert. This location is on private property and is not accessible by 4WD. I did not fly it so I cannot advise on its value, but it is certainly a different location from the Painted Desert.

Bruce M
AnswerID: 242934

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 18:26

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 18:26
John,

I don't think you are getting "screwed" at all.

What people fail to realise that a business such as Wrightsair need to cover expenses such as fuel, etc. and there would be a minimum amount to recover, for a flight to be viable.

We did a couple of flights late last year and the cost per couple was reasonable because it was "halved" between two couples. In your case you need to cover the full cost and obviously you need to justify it.

I would have a guess and say you will do two flights.
To the best of my knowledge, Trevor runs the "Painted Desert" flight at dusk, so you get the best view of the multitude of colours only possible as the sun is setting. On this flight you will fly across Anna Creek Station and get a great view of the vast flood plains that you can only see from the air.

The next morning you will be taken across Lake Eyre and probably part of the Simpson Desert as well. I haven't been on this flight, but another option you may like to ask Trevor Wright about is the flight to Dalhousie Springs for a dip in the hot springs where the tiny fish will nibble and tickle you. The kids especially will love this.
On this flight we flew across the edge of Lake Eyre then along the edge of the Simpson where you get a great perspective of the undulating dune landscape, finally landing at the airstrip adjacent to Dalhousie Springs for a dip for a couple of hours.
Then we landed at the Oodnadatta International Airport and was picked up by the pink Volvo "Airport Limosine" for lunch at the Oodnadatta Roadhouse. Finally a flight back along the Oodnadatta Track to William Creek. You may even see a Road Train kicking up a dust trail.

There isn't another flight option. Anna Creek Station covers the whole area including William Creek itself and the plane(s) on this station would not be licenced for passenger carrying tasks.

I would recommend you have at least one overnight stop at William Creek especially if you are incorporating the flights identified above. You may even like to drive out to Halligan Bay on the edge of Lake Eyre where you will find yourself at the lowest land point in Australia. William Creek consists of the Hotel, the "Airport" and the Caravan Park and is just as fantastically "outback" as you can get.

I have no association with Wrightsair or William Creek businesses but if you can justify to cost of the flight(s) you will certainly remember the experience.
Bill


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AnswerID: 242947

Reply By: NissanGU - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 22:47

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 22:47
Mottleman,
Go for it. We did it back in June 2000 when it was almost full and it was worth it.
If you can afford it do it, the perspective from up there was awesome.
At the shore line at Halligan Bay the water stretched out forever and was so still that you could not make out the horizon at all, the water just kept on going and going. See if the air service will provide a shorter lake only trip at a lesser rate perhaps.
Cheers
Paul
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Follow Up By: Andrew from Vivid Adventures - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 23:05

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 23:05
The Lake Eyre Yacht Club site is saying that it is almost empty ...
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Reply By: Member - Mottleman (NSW) - Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 09:24

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 09:24
Thanks for all the info. and taking the time to reply.

Looks like I'll be $800 lighter after William Creek but on balance it seems like a chance to do something unique.

cheers
John
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AnswerID: 243100

Reply By: bushnana - Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 16:02

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 16:02
Just returned from a trip on the Oodnadatta track. Did the Lake Eyre and painted hills trip - 2 hours $600 for two. Wouldn't have missed it for the world. Believe me - there is no access by road. It's just like another world. Do it.
AnswerID: 243212

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