Flights over Lake Eyre

Submitted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 20:52
ThreadID: 69018 Views:2781 Replies:3 FollowUps:1
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In view of many recent queries about water, birds, access, etc, I thought I might offer some observations, based on very recent experiences.

I have just returned from Marree, where I/we took a 1.5 hour flight in a 5 seat Cessna over the Lake, at 7.30 am on Tuesday May 19th. It was $ 250 a seat.

Points of note:

1. Fuel load limits smaller aircraft to the southern half of the lake (we did not get as far north as the mouth of the Cooper).

2. I saw about 10 silver gulls in Madigan Gulf - no other species observed.

3. The town is operating at maximum limit - beds, food, resources etc. I suggest you confirm a day before every booking you have made, or send a deposit. (For example, I observed about 15 people arrive late - after dark - & fail to find a bed.)

4. Due to failure to show up for flights and accommodation from bookings made, some operators are selling that seat/bed to a individual that they are face to face with - and I can't fault that.

5. Pilots are just that - do not have unreasonable expectations of them being professional tour guides. Prepare yourself by doing your own research. I found it very rewarding to have an idea of what I might actually see, in terms of landmarks, topography, etc.

6. The raised building on the northern end of town houses the Lake Eyre Yacht Club. I suggest you tie up to the wharf there. The sailing on L Eyre & feeder rivers is even more newsy than water in the lake. They are also running the beaut website. This operation is, lMHO, likely responsible for many in the town earning a decent income at present. Even though not a sailor, I gave an un-asked for donation.

7. It can be hard to see the water - colour can be the key more than you'd expect.

8. I enjoyed every minute of the road trip from Adelaide to Marree and my time in the town. Drive down every street if you can, and imagine yourself living there. There are "real" characters in the district if you take the opportunity to greet them.

9. Enjoy yourselves.


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Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 07:59

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 07:59
Rick, thank goodness - some sense! And I would expect nothing less from you. When you are out there living amongst the 'excitement' it is so very difficult to make people understand that unless you fly over the Lake you won't really see anything. This goes also for the birds - the pelicans nesting as seen on ABC were not at Lake Eyre and I'm not giving away their location because it is a hatchery and the birds deserve peace and quiet and because it is extremely difficult to get to! These birds will find their way to the Lake eventually.
For those who have been ringing me and asking - there is a sight seeing plane based in Birdsville and in a week or two there will be a helicopter as well (nothing to do with me whatsoever) the contact number is (07) 46563214 for information about cost etc.
Please remember that Birdsville is a long way from Lake Eyre - cost will be a factor. There is plenty to see around the Birdsville/Big Red, Diamantina area though.
When we flew over Lake Eyre from Birdsville - we followed the flooded Diamantina, into the Warburton Groove, south down the Lake, west to William Creek - refuelled - east and followed the Cooper east to a point, turned left before Innamincka to head back to Birdsville and came to a point where the Cooper and the Diamantina were only 30 klms apart. We flew for 5.5 hours and did not see any birds - but I didn't expect to and the pilot was not allowed to fly low over any rookeries. I still can tell you though of the magnificence of the colours in the Lake from pure white to bright blue (like Tahiti waters) and the amazing shapes of the sand beneath the water - the way the light played over the Lake - the enormity of how the water arrived - flying in the middle of the Lake with the cloud formations and the endless sky (or was that Lake?) Stunning - it will be with me for all my life.
(Footnote - because we live so far from the Lake at Birdsville, we chartered and it was expensive, very, but once in a lifetime probably for me, wouldn't have missed it for the world).
Rick, I am a great believer in doing the research (not as thorough as you though, more's the pity) and I am constantly (still) surprised at the number of people who don't read a map, book, look up the internet (I'd rather read a book or ring someone!) and find out about the places they are going to see. They don't know whether they are east or west, north or south - they are missing out on so much.
However you travel - be safe and thoroughly enjoy.

AnswerID: 365933

Reply By: rocco2010 - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 13:45

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 13:45

To add to the excellent information above, can i say that the ABC's Radio National program Bush Telegraph has been touring outback SA all week including a live broadcast from the shores of Lake Eyre near William Creek on Tuesday and from Marree today. They were at Roxby Downs on Monday, not sure where they were yesterday

The program has been full of useful information and interviews with interesting people, including a pilot who sounded like a good tour guide.

I just heard a professor whose name escapes me give a detailed summary of what is happening bird wise. The commodore of the Lake Eyre Yacht club was also on.

Smarter people than me should be able to find the Radio National website and have a listen.



AnswerID: 365959

Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 14:24

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 14:24
As Rocco says,it's on RN, and you can download it as a podcast...........

..........just what I have done, thanks for the advice about the program, Rocco.

I'll play it on my way solo up to Alice Springs next Friday.
FollowupID: 633713

Reply By: Fiona & Paul - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 16:53

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 16:53
Thanks Rick for the information as the chief and I are not far off departing for that area, we had done what we thought was sufficient research, but, it appears like we have a bit more work to do to ensure we enjoy the trip.

Being a photographer I don't want to miss out on too much detail.

Paul H
OZ Downunder

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AnswerID: 365979

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