Kati Thanda

Lake Eyre

Kati Thanda

Lake Eyre

Lake Eyre from the Air

August, 2022

As with everything in nature there’s no exact timing, but roughly every three years millions of litres of water surge from Channel Country in the remote north and across Australia’s desert outback through rivers, channels, and creeks, coming together at a natural low-point in the nation’s landscape, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre.

Spanning some 9,500 km², Lake Eyre is Australia’s largest Salt Lake and is also an endorheic lake i or basin. Located around 650km northwest of Adelaide in South Australia’s remote outback, Lake Eyre is a just a short flight from Wilpena Pound Resort in the Flinders Ranges.

Its dynamic, ever-changing state – sometimes in flood and briming with birds and at others a vast and dry crystalline crater stretching endlessly to shimmering horizons – form the legend of the Australian outback’s incredible and diverse make up. The outback comes into bloom as colours shift across the lake in tones of pinks and oranges, silvers and blues.

The significant rains in Australia in 2022 have had an upside: Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is currently amid a flooding event, bringing life to the outback and creating one of nature’s great spectacles best viewed from the air. The Lake Eyre flooding of 2022 is one of the largest and most significant events to date – a rare and incredible natural display not to be missed!

Waters are quickly filling the desert landscape, transforming the Salt Lake to a vast wetland and attracting a thrilling cacophony of birds including big flocks of diamond doves, zebra finches, budgerigars, cockatiels and even pelicans coming in to rest on newly formed – and temporary – islands.

University of New South Wales professor of environmental science Richard Kingsford said Lake Eyre got water every couple of years, but a really big filling didn’t happen that often.

“In terms of surface area, probably 70 or 80 per cent of Lake Eyre has water in it … that’s a pretty rare event,” he said.

The short airstrip at Wilpena Pound Resort is the take-off point for thrilling scenic flights operated by Wrights Air, where its small plans take off on aerial adventures to reveal a whole new perspective and allow a better understanding of the ancient landscape.

Options include a 30-minute fly around Wilpena Pound for a chance to see the two ‘spines’ that form its walls so evident in the Adnyamathanha creation stories and longer half and full day aerial expeditions taking in Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre and the tiny, remote towns of the South Australian outback.

The six-hour scenic flight to Lake Eyre and William Creek heads north over Parachilna, the Leigh Creek coal fields, the township of Marree made famous by the Marree Man or Stuart’s Giant – a giant geoglyph discovered in 1998 on a plateau at Finnis Springs that appears to depict an Indigenous Australian man hunting with a boomerang or stick. It’s also best seen from the air.

The flight continues onwards to Lake Eyre and a landing at the remote town of William Creek for lunch at the hotel. On return, the route loops back via the Anna Creek Painted Hills, the Andamooka opal fields and Lake Torrens for an unforgettable outback adventure.

Lake Eyre package

Experience the breathtaking Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre on your next trip to the Flinders Ranges with this scenic flight, accommodation and extras package. T&Cs apply.

Take a scenic flight

Explore the Flinders Ranges on foot, then take to the sky to see this spectacular landscape from up high. Choose from a range of scenic flight itineraries on offer right from the resort’s airstrip.

Cultural tours

Learn about the region from the land’s Traditional Owners by joining an Aboriginal cultural tour. All tours are run by an Adnyamathana guide and range from walks to half day 4WD tours into the gorges.

Personalised cultural experiences

Our team can offer personalised experiences for your group or event designed to share and educate people in the rich culture of the Adnyamathanha people. From learning about bush tucker to walking through this ancient land and hearing stories from the Traditional Owners, you can choose between a range of experiences. Contact our team to discuss your personalised group experience.