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The iconic inland sea situated in the Australian Outback

It seems like a mirage. With the blinding Australian sun at your back, and scorching red desert sands underfoot, the sight of Kati-Thanda-Lake Eyre would have brought tears to the eyes of early travellers. Partly because of its size. Partly because it is entirely salt water.

Situated 700km north of Adeliade in South Australia, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is the largest salt water lake in Australia. It is the focal point of the massive Lake Eyre Basin that covers over 1 million square kilometres and crosses into three Australian states and the Northern Territory.

Its name, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, recognises both the land’s traditional inhabitants, the indigenous Arabana people and its European discoverer Edward John Eyre.

This inland sea, is composed of two water bodies (North Lake Eyre and South Lake Eyre) connected by the 15m long Goyder Channel. It spreads across an area some 144km long and 77km wide covering more than 9,500 square metres. At its lowest point it reaches an incredible 15.3m below sea level – the lowest natural point on the Australian mainland.

Despite its size, high levels of evaporation mean most of the year Kati Thanda contains only little water. Between flood times, it appears as a vast expanse of salt-encrusted land and small lakes, set against striking blue skies and brilliant sun. It is easy to appreciate the isolation of this land, while standing at its edge and looking at what appears as a barren land to the untrained eye.

With the right conditions, the environment surrounding Kati Thanda changes dramatically. Heavy rain in Channel Country of SE Queensland causes rivers and channels to swell and flow to Kati-Thanda, and the lake’s water levels rise. With water comes an abundance of wildlife and new growth. Waterbirds descend in the thousands, including species such as pelicans, silver gulls, red-necked avocets, banded stilts and gull-billed terns.

Minor floods of up to 1.5m occur once every three or four years, while major floods occur only once a decade. Under spectacular circumstances, the inland sea will fill to capacity, happening as little as 4 times a century.

Water or no water, Kati Thanda is a spectacular and breath-taking sight, worthy of recognition as an Australian icon.

How to get there: Discover the wild beauty of Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre on Tri State Safaris’ 5 Day Lake Eyre Discovery Tour! More details here



Our 5 Day Lake Eyre Discovery Tours are back! To celebrate the predicted good conditions at Lake Eyre, we’ll be departing tours throughout the 2018 season.

Discover the majesty of Australia’s inland sea

As the largest salt water lake in Australia, Eyre has captured hearts and inspired awe both in flood and when bone dry. It is hard to predict how much water Lake Eyre will hold in any year, and how long it will last. However, heavy rainfall and minor flooding in Queensland this year has led to predictions of good conditions for Lake Eyre ahead.

Departing from Broken Hill, this 5 Day adventure explores:
• Rawnsley Park Station
• Wilpena Pound
• Brachina and Bunyeroo gorges
• Parachilna
• Talc Alf and the ochre pits
• Marree
• Monte Collina hot water bores
• Cameron Corner and the Corner Post
• Sturt National Park
• Tibooburra

Read the full tour itinerary here

Inclusions: One and a half hour scenic flight over Lake Eyre, all accommodation, meals and entries while on tour, transfer to and from local Broken Hill accommodation, travel in a comfortable, air-conditioned and fully kitted 4WD vehicle and commentary by a trained and experienced tour driver and guide. Just bring some spending money for souvenirs!

Departure dates: 29 May, 19 June, 3 July, 17 July, 21 August

Prices: Passenger prices begin at $4,360 per person for twin share. Tag-along, children and senior discounts are available – see our tour page for our full range of fares.

What to expect at Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre

Most often, the vast expanse of Lake Eyre appears as salt-encrusted landscapes with small lakes serving as a water source for salinity tolerant wildlife. The white salt of the lake contrasts against the low red sand dunes and mesas found throughout Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park. Standing at the edge of the lake, with no sign of human life in any direction, travellers can appreciate the solitude and isolation here.

However, local and Queensland weather have unpredictable effects on the Lake Eyre Basin.

Heavy rain and the right conditions transform Lake Eyre into something entirely different. Water flowing from Queensland Channel Country lead to minor or major flooding in the lake every three and ten years respectively. The atmosphere changes dramatically as water attracts thousands of waterbirds, and saline tolerant fish can reproduce inside.

In flood or without water, Lake Eyre is an impressive sight. You won’t be disappointed!

Read more about Lake Eyre here