Posted by: debrakolkka | December 5, 2010

Lake Eyre from the air

Lake Eyre is the largest lake in Australia, not that it is often full of water.  It is in remote northern South Australia, about 700 kilometres north of Adelaide.  The lowest parts of the lake are 15 metres below sea level, and when the lake is dry, large salt pans form, caused by the seasonal expansion and evaporation of the trapped waters.  It is actually 2 lakes, Lake Eyre North and Lake Eyre South, connected by the Goyder channel.

The lake is fed by rivers flowing from Queensland, the Diamantina, Georgina  and Cooper Creek.  Most years the water doesn’t make it to Lake Eyre.  Usually there is not enough rainfall to allow the rivers to reach that far and the water evaporates very quickly in the intense heat of central Australia.  The lake fills roughly 4 times a century.  Now is one of those times.  Heavy rains in the catchment areas have seen huge flows of water making their way into Lake Eyre, allowing fish and bird life to flourish.

We thought it a good idea to see Lake Eyre with water.  It may not happen again in our lifetimes.  To drive there would be a huge undertaking so we decided to take a flight over the lake.  It obviously meant we would not get to see the wildlife, but we expected the view from the air to be spectacular.  We were not disappointed.  

Lake Eyre from the air

It is very difficult to show how spectacular the lake looks.  I took the photos from the window of a small plane.  It was very bumpy under the cloud cover and the 2 layers of perspex don’t help much.  Anyway here are some more photos.

amazing patterns

the Goyder channel - that blue bit

it looks like clouds in the sky

where the water starts to flow into the lake

the Diamantina become the Warburton

The Diamantina spreads out over the channel country and reforms to become the Warburton River. 

amazing landscapes

the South Australian Channel country

the channel country spreads for hundreds of kilometres

great country for cattle

the Diamantina river heading to Lake Eyre

Cooper Creek punt

Cooper Creek is the coming together of the Thomson and Barcoo rivers.  The water course is 1,300km long, the second longest inland river system after the Murray – Darling.   If the flows to the north are large enough the water finally arrives in Lake Eyre 9 – 10 months after the rain – incredible! 

If you get the chance to see Lake Eyre and the South Australian channel country, grab it.  Word is that next year will be wet as well.


  1. Wow…I’ve only ever seen this on tv…thanks Debra…

  2. great view!

  3. Great photos Deb,

    Your photos and comments demonstrate what a vast country we live in.
    Incredible, we only have a population of 22 million.

    Cheers Judy

  4. Wonderful! I’ve not flown over Lake Eyre, but have flown over Lake Amadeus, another salt lake (one of the pictures is here: , but the rest aren’t up yet). I really want to fly over Lake Eyre – where did you fly from?

    • We did a 2 day trip out of Adelaide. Love your pic of Lake Amadeus.

  5. I know so many people that want to visit Lake Eyre-me included!

  6. That would be pretty amazing seeing Lake Eyre.

  7. Awesome Deb, My Dad did a bit of a ‘outback Australia’ treck in the 1990’s & has awesome pictures of this too. Its one big amazing country we live in isn’t it…, so much to see. Thanks for showing us these 🙂

  8. wow Deb, the photos of your recent SA trip look fantastic. Im so glad you enjoyed it. We live in this state and havent wittnessed it. Thanks for the photos. Hopefully we will catch up next ime we are in Brisbane ar you are in Adelaide. Cheers

    • You have no excuse – get out there and have a look!

  9. […] to Adelaide to visit lovely relatives, and flew in a light plane over Lake Eyre, full of water, and visited some iconic outback towns, Maree, Coober Pedy and Birdsville – what […]

  10. May I ask who you flew with? I’m a pilot out that way, you might be interested in some of the photos I’ve taken as well – absolutely amazing part of Australia!

    • Our trip included Maree, Birdsville and Coober Pedy as well. There are some better photos on those posts. It was my first time to those outback places.

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