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Lifestyle : Discover Lake Eyre 2012
Call 1800 OUTBACK (1800 688 222) For your comprehensive brochure Lake Eyre Adventure NSW QLD SA VIC 1 1 1 2 Port Augusta Wilpena Pound Burra Lake Eyre North Lake Eyre South Lake Torrens Parachilna Birdsville Adelaide Marree Warburton Creek Macumba River Diamantin a River Cooper Creek Eyre Creek Flinders Ranges Simpson Desert Regional Reserve Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary Goyder Lagoon Murray River 4WD TOUR Travel in a small group - maximum 26 passengers 4WD tour on Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary, a 1.7 million acre property operated by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy Witness migrating birdlife to Lake Eyre Enjoy a tour on the banks of the Warburton Creek with expert guides Visit the Marree Museum in the historic railway town Off road tour to the edge of Lake Eyre Wilpena Pound and the Flinders Ranges Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges Outback Spirit exclusive scenic flights! 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, not just one. These 2 scenic flights are perfectly timed, being an hour and 15 minutes each. The 2 included flights are taken on board a Cessna Grand Caravan, one of the safest aircraft in the world. 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. Touring Highlights Scenic Flights Enjoy two 1 hour and 15 minute scenic flights aboard luxurious Turbine aircraft -- the Cessna Grand Caravan. Ecology Tour Warburton River ecology tour on Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary r fill up the bucket list Trip notes Getting there Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar fly from Sydney to Adelaide; Regional Express (Rex) flies from Adelaide to Coober Pedy. rex.com.au. Flying there Wrights Air is at William Creek but also picks up passengers from Coober Pedy. One-hour scenic flights depart William Creek daily between 8am and 5pm, and cost $260 adult, $234 child. www.wrightsair.com.au. Staying there William Creek has hotel and camping accommodation ranging from $35 for a powered site for two to $150 a double for an en suite cabin. williamcreekhotel.net.au. Phone the Desert Parks Hotline for Lake Eyre travel advice: 1800 816 078. environment.sa.gov.au. year is going to be a very short Lake Eyre season,'' he says. ''There's flow coming in but it's minor or below-minor floods whereas in the last few years we've had moderate or high floods. There will be some more water coming into the lake but, compared to the last three years, it's going to be not as much. The northern section of Lake Eyre North, that top half, is quite shallow so whatever water gets out there gets blown across the lake with wind and gets soaked up and evaporated away.'' He recommends visitors fly over the lake rather than tackle the treacherous outback roads whose pitfalls include bulldust holes, corrugations, washaways and wind erosion. While he describes the Birdsville, Strzelecki and Oodnadatta tracks as ''basically dirt super-highways'', trouble can strike when people leave these thoroughfares for tracks where they might not see another vehicle for a week or more. ''When people get off these [major] tracks and go onto what is essentially a bush track, all of a sudden these are the worst roads in Australia,'' he says. Those keen to drive should have outback driving experience, spare tyres, food, fuel, water and an emergency beacon. They should also allow plenty of time -- covering 60 kilometres can take up to two hours. ''People should drive slowly,'' Magor says. ''We do get people who want to rush out there and rush back.'' Magor's advice for those who want to strike a water-filled Lake Eyre off their bucket list this year is to do their research and make a few phone calls before signing up for their trip. ''People need to remember the pilots are just pilots . . . not a tour guide,'' he says. Someone such as Wright, however, who has lived in William Creek for 19 years, is a great source of local knowledge. For Wright, the important thing about the freakish weather that has filled the lakes in recent years is that ''it's actually drawing people out to a unique part of South Australia that hasn't been overexploited''. ''I think Lake Eyre, provided it gets facilities, will one day be construed in similar terms to Ayers Rock and the Bungle Bungles,'' he says. Publican Ngaire Beckett, who arrived at the William Creek Hotel only in late February, says the travellers she has met are ''interested in having a bit of a look around their own backyard''. ''A chap called in for breakfast this morning with his wife and six little girls,'' she says. ''They said they couldn't take six girls overseas so . . . they've packed up a four-wheel-drive wagon and they're all going on holiday around Australia. ''It's great to see so many young families as well as the older people travelling through.'' Those who forget the outback is also home to persistent flies can buy a fly veil at the pub. ''I think you've got to pack food, water, wine and repellent,'' Beckett laughs. The deserts and roads along the way QUEENSLAND outback tour operator Graham Reid has guided hundreds of spectators on Lake Eyre scenic flights over the past three seasons. Reid, of Travel West Air Safaris, operates Lake Eyre day flights from Brisbane and Toowoomba. His first 2012 flight, in a 36-seat Dash 8, departs Brisbane on Saturday. Further flights will depart Toowoomba on April 28 and from Brisbane on May 5. The day tour, which includes meals and a stop-off at the iconic Birdsville Hotel on the return leg, costs $1750 from Brisbane and $1850 from Toowoomba. Reid says the water-filled lake looks "just a little bit different" each season. "It's not just about the water in Lake Eyre --- it's the journey of the water in the river systems, the properties, deserts and roads along the way," he says. travelwest.com.au. Bush Pilots Australia flies a six-seat Cessna 206 over Lake Eyre North from Hawker, a four-hour drive north of Adelaide, with a lunch stop at the William Creek Hotel. A minimum of two passengers is required ($1200 a person). The price drops to $900 a person for three passengers and $740 a person for four or five passengers. bushpilots.com.au. KL 3 SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012 THE SUN HERALD SPECIAL REPORT LAKE EYRE
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