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Lifestyle : Lake Eyre
6 day Adventure The most spectacular scenic flights you can imagine! The highlight of your Lake Eyre Adventure is undoubtedly seeing the lake from the air. But there s so much more to see, like the Warburton Creek and the Cooper Creek. That s why Outback Spirit has included 2 scenic flights in the tour. These 2 scenic flights are perfectly timed, being an hour and 15 minutes each. You ll enjoy the spectacle of Lake Eyre North and South, the Warburton Creek and the Cooper Creek and land at Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary for a 4WD tour and guided nature walk. What really sets our tour apart from everything else is the aircraft. The 2 included flights are taken on board a Cessna Grand Caravan. Featuring a high wing and jet-turbine reliability, it is simply the best aircraft for scenic flights. Most importantly, it s a modern aircraft with modern design, avionics and safety. Includes two scenic flights worth $600! Scenic Flight : Lake Eyre South, Lake Eyre North, Warburton Groove, Warburton Creek, Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary. Scenic Flight : Cooper Creek, Lake Killamperpunna, Marree. Call 1800 OUTBACK (1800 688 222) For your comprehensive brochure THE SUN-HERALD SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2011 3 lake eyre special report Rare bounty . . . (clockwise from far left) water brings the desert to life; Lake Eyre is awe-inspiring; the Prairie Hotel; a flooded Lake Eyre. Photos: Photolibrary.com; Lonely Planet Cover photo: Photolibrary.com Trip notes Flying there The Tailor's two-day luxury flightseeing tour from Adelaide, staying overnight at the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna, is priced from $2499 a person. Includes return Adelaide flights, accommodation, meals, four- wheel-drive touring in the Flinders Ranges, a visit to the Birdsville Hotel for lunch and full-day scenic flight over Lake Eyre and the Channel Country. (08) 8354 4405, thetailor.com. A two-hour flight from William Creek to Lake Eyre North costs $400 an adult. (08) 8670 7962, www.wrightsair.com.au. Getting there By 4WD: There are two access tracks to Lake Eyre National Park. One turns off the Oodnadatta Track about seven kilometres south-east of William Creek and runs to Halligan Bay (64 kilometres). The second track runs 94 kilometres north from Marree to Level Post Bay via Muloorina Station. Make sure you have reserves of fuel, water and food. For road conditions see the Desert Parks Bulletin at environment.sa.gov.au or road report at transport.sa.gov.au. You need a valid Desert Parks Pass to visit Lake Eyre National Park by 4WD. parks.sa.gov.au. Camping there Halligan Bay has endless views. Sign in and out at the William Creek pub before you go and when you return. More information parks.sa.gov.au, southaustralia.com. Millions of birds are arriving to gorge themselves on fish. Lake Eyre Lake Frome Lake Torrens SOUTH AUSTRALIA ADELAIDE 654km NORTHERN TERRITORY Marree William Creek Birdsville Parachilna 10 centimetres long. You can't swim because areas close to shore are usually so salty they will sting any cuts, grazes or mucus membranes (such as eyes, nose and other tender areas). If you want to swim, you'll need to be in a section that's at least four metres deep, where it's not much saltier than sea water. To get out that far, you'll need a boat and that's no longer permitted without written permission from the indigenous owners, the Arabunna people, much to the disappointment of members of the Lake Eyre Yacht Club (who surely must be one of the most optimistic sailing squadrons in the world). When we checked with the rangers we were told boating of any type is out, including paddling a kayak or canoe and that, technically, we weren't even allowed to dip our toes in the water because access to the lake itself is off limits. The best way to experience it is by air, which allows you to see the immensity of the inland. Swirling patterns of salt are easily discernible and, as we head further north to where the lake has begun to fill, it gradually takes on a pink hue (opinion varies as to whether the colour is caused by algae or billions of tiny brine shrimp), then blue and, finally, muddy brown, where water has freshly arrived from the desert's flooded river systems. We don't see the teeming birdlife we've heard so much about, although whether that's because we're too early in the flooding cycle or we're flying too high is unclear. Any disappointment vanishes when we hit channel country in Queensland, the lake's water source. The desert is a vast inland sea, red gibber plains submerged under a flood in every direction, the tops of dunes forming small islands. You can clearly distinguish the slowly creeping front line of the flood. As we follow the lacework of flooded rivers towards Birdsville, the normally dry plains are lushly green and it's hard to believe that this is some of the harshest desert country in the world. If you want to see it like this, go now. Although it's the third time in a row the Queensland rains have made it to Lake Eyre, the odds of it happening again any time soon are slim. After all, 8 million waterbirds can't be wrong. The writer was a guest of the South Australian Tourism Commission.
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