Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, William Creek, Painted Hills & Coober Pedy
Watch highlights of a visit to Lake Eyre
Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre
Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is an incredible destination, magnificent whether in its usual dry, flat, salt-plain state, or during those rare periods when rains in the gulf have filtered down to create an oasis in the desert. Birds flock to any water in the lake, and when the water level rises, water birds descend in their thousands.
Lake Eyre is Australia’s largest salt lake, with a catchment area from three states and the Northern Territory. The north lake itself is huge, covering an area 144km x 77km, and at 15.2 metres below sea level, it is the lowest point in Australia, while the south lake is 64km x 24km. It fills an average of only once every 8 years.
Flying low and slow over the lake, wet or dry, is a highlight of our tours passing through this magnificent area of outback South Australia. At Muloorina Station, take in the vista of an enormous sea of white on a private part of the lake not available to the public. In 1963-64, Donald Campbell stayed at Muloorina Station during his attempt at, and eventual nabbing of, the land-speed record in his jet-powered Bluebird car.
At Muloorina Station, take in the vista of an enormous sea of white on a private part of the lake not available to the public. Meet the owners, learn about living in this remote area and its remarkable history. In 1963-64, Donald Campbell stayed at Muloorina Station during his attempt at, and eventual nabbing of, the land-speed record in his jet-powered Bluebird car.
William Creek is famous for its pub, one of the most remote in Australia, and for being the closest town to Kati-Thanda-Lake Eyre. It’s on the famous Oodnadatta Track between Marree and Oodnadatta, two hours east of Coober Pedy. With a permanent population of just ten, William Creek is one of the smallest towns in Australia.
The William Creek Hotel, a timber and corrugated iron pub dating from 1887, is like a giant visitor’s book. Over the years, it has been adorned with business cards, hand-scrawled notes, bras, jocks and a variety of other tokens left by its visitors.
The perfect spot to refuel aircraft, and people, it’s also the starting point for tours into the Painted Hills.
Anna Creek Painted Hills
The Anna Creek Painted Hills are a spectacular and recently “discovered” section of the pristine Breakaways country. Accessible only by air, they cover an area of 30x20km. The multi-coloured, pristine, sandstone hills of varying shapes and sizes emerge suddenly out of a flat, desert landscape. The changing colours are a photographer’s dream. The deep red of the hills is believed to be due to the oxidation of iron in the rocks, while the white sections are where iron has leached away.
Wrights Air, based at William Creek, has exclusive access to land at the airstrip located near these hills. Take a guided walk through these stunning hills, giving you the opportunity to truly appreciate their fragility and perhaps even see some marine fossils.
Coober Pedy truly is like no other place in the world. The town has a rich history, diverse culture, opal mines and underground churches.
A truly unique experience is sleeping underground - surrounded by rock and very, very quiet.
Around 150 million years ago, Coober Pedy was covered by ocean, and when the water receded, the sandy silica minerals from the seabed flowed into the rocky cracks and cavities and solidified over time into multi-coloured gem-stone – opal.
The stunning Breakaways, just outside town, are a striking rocky landscape of flat-topped mesa. It's a fabulous place to toast the sunset and watch the incredible change of colours on the sandstone.
Big Winch 360° is an 8m high structure which overlooks the town, built by Claus Wirries in the 1970s to celebrate the Opal Capital of the World. It offers fabulous views over the town.