Halligan Bay – T, OR, $. Reasonably large camping area, also has an overflow area. Permit and fees apply, inquire at William Creek. It is also covered by a Desert Parks Pass. Can be very windy and exposed, but wow it’s awesome. Worth the rough drive out, 70km off the Oodnadatta Track. Rating – 4
Sat 14th- We were grateful for our heater, it was a very cold night, coldest so far. This morning that cools breeze is back. We went for a morning walk back up to the ruins, this time visiting the cemetery. Amazing the head stones are still in such good nic.
The 70km road out to Lake Eyre is very corrugated and bumpy, worst than last time we were here. It shook the CB antenna loose so we had to stop and put it back on and check everything else was still tight. Chris does a check every morning on the Ute, trailer and an engine check, making sure everything is as it should be. Goes to show that in these rough conditions things can shake loose very quickly. We took the side tracks when suitable even though they were less corrugated they still had their issues with even bigger holes, bumps and bull dust.
There is a memorial to Caroline Crossmueller who got died after she left her car after it got bogged to walk to William Creek.
Wow that was a bit freaky. We stopped to adjust the kayak after it had moved on the bumpy road. I turned around to see a female dingo sauntering past. It stopped just in front of us and laid down on the road watching us.
We have made camp in the over flow area as its a bit more protected from the wind. We are sheltered a bit by a large bush we have camped by. After lunch and several cuppas we made our way down to the lake, walking out onto the salt. It got softer as we went and when we started to sink too much we stopped. We picked up some lumps of salt of varying thickness, Chris picked up some that was nearly 2 inches thick and pink on the bottom, not sure if will survive the trip home let alone the drive back out.
We had someone tell us not to bother coming out here as there was no water in the lake. Boy they miss the beauty of the large flat area of lake all white with salt. Water in the lake is great but the salt with all it’s crystals is so fascinating.
Back for arvo tea, sitting in the sun is wonderful and gets quite warm until the wind came back up, the flies aren’t much fun though, we had to get the fly hats out to drink our coffee in peace.
Pizza for tea tonight.
Wow what a day. We woke early for our 8am flight over Lake Eyre; it was a beautiful sunny day, blue skies, and no wind. We were booked in for a 1hr flight, we were waiting out the front of Wright Air with some of the other passengers doing different flights, we were the only ones booked in for the 1 hr flight. Trevor the boss called Chris and I in and said he could do us a special deal for an extra $50 each he could put us on the 2hr flight, we jumped at it. It was easier for him, than putting another plane up for just 2 people, so worked out best for both parties. We were thrilled to bits, the 2hr one gets us out further into the lake and right up to the mouth where the rivers enter the lake.
I was a wee bit nervous as it was a small plane, 7 seater, the pilot was only 21 one and to top it off a KIWI. Take off was smoother than I expected and the flight in general was pretty smooth. It was awesome to be up there, looking down on the flat earth below, you really get to see how little vegetation there really is up there, as we approached the Lake we could see the water, wow. It seemed we were nearly at it with our walk yesterday, and in fact 48 hrs early and we would have been walking in water. Lake Eyre is tidal so if we were there when the tied was in we would have seen water from land.
We went further into the mouth of the river; we followed the river upstream for a while before turning back towards the lake once more. The best bits were seeing the water coming in from the river and the first sight of the water on the lake.The flight took us over the lake, passed several islands with Pelicans nesting, we could see them clearly from the air, as we got further up the lake the water became muddier where the water was running into the lake. We were got a bird’s eye view on some birds flying; wow it was so exciting, and so breathtaking to see the expanse of the lake. It is only at 4% capacity and the water is covering 40% of it. They expect the capacity to reach 7% and covering 50%, with it peaking in June or July. They also expect the water start to disappear Oct/Nov.
After the flight we headed towards Marree, stopping at a few ruins on the way and the Mound Springs. Which are hot springs on these funny mounds, really strange, these mounds are surrounded by flat ground for miles. We also stopped at Lake Eyre south for a brief look.After a little while I did start to feel a wee bit sick in my tum, my tum didn’t like it when he banked back around to give us another look and at one stage when we were coming into land the plane did a big drop, tum did a loop with that one. The landing was very smooth though. The whole flight was really fun and it was so great to see the water on Lake Eyre.
The road from William Creek to Cowards Springs, is very gravelling, we were warned by several people it was not a good road and was pretty rough. A well place rock can do a bit of damaged and we had a couple of well place rocks. The gravel was being thrown up underneath the van; it put a hole in the white water waste pipe, so there is no point us putting a hose on that any more Gravel also cut the cable ties on the A frame that hold the wires that runs from the car to the van to charge the batteries while we are driving. The wire dragged on the gravel and got cut up a bit, Chris is not sure if he can fix that on the road yet. And a really well place rock hit a T piece between the 2 water tanks and we lost the rest of the water in our tanks. Thankfully we have the water in the tank in the car. We are able to plug a hose into the van from that tank and pump it in while we use it, but not put it into the van tanks. We have to pick up a T piece tomorrow. Because of this we pushed on and drove to Leigh Creek tonight, so we are closer to civilizations and parts. We didn’t pull in until nearly 8pm so we are a little worn out. So glad to be off the gravel road and onto this black stuff, so smooth.
We had a nice quiet night last night all by ourselves. We drove the 100km straight into William Creek as there wasn’t anything to see on the way. We arrived about morning tea time, Chris filled the car with very expensive petrol, $1.85.9. We then had a quick cuppa, unhooked the van, checked we were all booked in for tomorrow’s morning flight, paid and then drove out to Lake Eyre. There is a booth to pay for a day Parks Pass at $8 a few km’s down the road. The road either side of William Creek is quite corrugated, and the 69km out to Lake Eyre is mostly corrugated with some rough mud patches.
The closer we got to Lake Eyre the more desolate the landscape became, at one point there was just small black rocks for as far as the eye could see, and no vegetation, it looked like a bomb had gone off in the place. It stayed this way all the way to ABC Bay. There was nothing much to see at ABC, black rocks and a muddy looking lake with bits of white patches of salt. Further out you could see big white patches of salt. There were no flies there because it was blowing a gale and was freezing.
From there you drive another 10km to Halligan’s Bay. As we drove towards Halligan’s Bay the ground became sandy and there was a bit more vegetation. At one point the road runs right along the lakes edge. At Halligan’s there are toilets, a shelter shed, and a camp area, which was an area just fenced off from the rest of the sand and rather small. We saw a lonely Plubber that let us get very close for some photos, there is the bird migration, not really. You walk down a sand embankment towards the lake, from there we could see off into the distance the salt flats. We didn’t see any water, but did see some reflections but can’t really say what caused them.
We walked out to the salt flats, the further you go out the wetter the ground became. It we stopped we would start to sink into the salty, sandy mud. We could see the indentations where others had walked. Salt had crusted over some of them, making quite fascinating patterns. In some other places salt had formed around the edges and then it had filled with clear salty water. In was a nice thought to think ours foot prints would leave the same fascinating patterns for others to see. As the saying goes take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints. Once we got onto the salt flats the ground became firmer, it was awesome to be standing there on the salt flats of Lake Eyre. The salt had formed many intricate patterns it was different with every step you took. It was quite crystallized in places, we broke the salt surface where we were and it was nearly a centimetre thick, it would be thicker further out. The sky was very overcast and stormy, which just added to then eeriness of Lake Eyre. Also gave us some concern as to whether it was going to rain. Out on the lake there were no flies as it was rather windy. Once we back at the car park the flies swarmed us again. We had our lunch in the car away from the flies and wind.
We hooked the van back up, drove back out of town a short distance towards Oodnadatta, saw a car wreck in off the road and have stopped next to it for the night. It is quite open, as is everywhere around William Creek, so it is howling, we hope the wind dies down for the night.We went back into William Creek, filled up with fuel again and went in to check out the William Creek Hotel which is the only shop in town, and has the only fuel pump. The pub is full of memorabilia if that’s what you call it. The walls, doors, window frames, ceiling and any spot you can stick something to and write on is filled, with business cards, old drivers licence, student ID’s, undies, g stings, bras, all forms of underwear, t/shirts, hats, x-rays, pictures, letters, newspaper articles, if you could write on it, wear it, read it, it was on the wall, anything goes at this place. You could spend hours and hours reading it all. Things were hanging down from the roof, there was literally no space left anywhere, and in some places things went back 4 or 5 deep.
It’s been great being here, something everyone should see and experience at some point in their lives, it’s very hard to describe in words what we see, how annoying the flies, wind, dust, and dryness can be. It is an experience, and an eye opener, it gives a real appreciated to the pioneers of this land, the huge difficulties they must have experienced. We keep wondering why people would choose to live out here, we are really pleased we have done this trip and would recommend it to anyone, at the same time we are ready to on and leave the wind and flies behind.
We had planned a trip this April/May 09 up to Far North Qld but alas the FNQ wet season had other ideas,with most of the areas we were heading to flooded. Poor Karumba is likely to be isolated for at least 8 weeks.
Bedourie and Birdsville are also flooded due to the floods up north moving south. As the saying goes all clouds have a Silver lining, not sure about all but this one does. Flood waters from Birdsville are moving down into the rivers that fill Lake Eyre. Note sure when this event is likely to happen again so we are taking advantage of the situation and going to head South to Lake Eyre.
Our trip south will also take us through, Bourke, which I might add is currently in flood and a disaster area. (early Feb) Bourke is on the Darling River, which flows into the Menindee Lakes and then into the Murray River, another Silver lining. Then from Bourke to Broken Hill, Silverton, Menindee Lakes, through to SA and onto Lake Eyre. After Lake Eyre up the Oodnadatta Track, up to Oodnadatta, across to Cooper Pedy. We decided to reverse this, went to Cooper Pedy first, and then up to Oodnadatta etc, then back down the Murray River region with a tour along the Murray River. It is sure to be a fun filled trip.
Chris has been flat out doing renovations in the van, putting in the back area of the van a cupboard/bench area that will house a washing machine, Waeco Freezer as well as other bits and pieces. Getting it all ready for our big trip of 5 ½ weeks.