The mountains are not the only places that offer magnificent views and great adventures. Lake Eyre National Park is Australia’s lowest campground but it definitely isn’t low on excitement. If anything, camping out in Lake Eyre can make you feel quite alone and fully immersed in the harsh Australian outback. Plus, getting there is no easy feat and would require you some serious 4WD experience.
Lake Eyre is a 144 km long and 77 km wide salt lake that is dry most of the time. As a matter of fact, it has been full only three times in the last 150 years. Some people are lucky enough to see the lake almost all filled up but don’t worry if you don’t, the two are very different experiences that are fulfilling in its own ways. Seeing it full fills you with a sense of wonder — because after all, this is Australia’s largest lake– and seeing it dry makes you feel a curious sense of awe because it’s like looking out into snow.
Apart from camping and photography, birdwatching is another thing to enjoy in Lake Eyre. However, if you are coming to the lake for that one last activity, you must come during the wet months when there is water in the lake.
Though not really a campsite attraction, one could take scenic flights of the lake for some unbelievable snapshots. Taking a small plane to the lake is also an option for those who want to reach Lake Eyre without having to drive its rough roads.
Lake Eyre campsites are remote and require self-sufficiency. Bring your own tent, water enough for several days, fuel stove for cooking, and of course, food.
Though the lake is beautiful both when dry and wet, you can’t go just any time of the year. Summers can get too hot and makes it impossible to camp, after the rain can be make it tricky to drive in the area, and winters can be freezing.
Those who are planning to come with a camper or caravan should take note that Lake Eyre National Park can be accessed by 4WDs only. If you don’t have enough experience off roading but are thinking of renting a 4WD just to make it, please reconsider as inexperienced campers have perished in this harsh environment before. Instead, you can take the plane and save yourself (and others) a lot of trouble.
Where to camp
There are two camping grounds in Lake Eyre National Park. First one is at Halligan Bay, where you are more likely to see water. No booking is required but you will need to pay a small fee and purchase a Desert Park Pass to get into Halligan Bay. The campsite is flat and exposed. There are toilets but no showers.
The second camp site is at Muloorina Station Bore where you have to pay $8 per car per night plus another $2 as a donation Royal Flying Doctors Service. This campsite is more forgiving thanks to more vegetation in the area. It’s a bit farther of a drive from the lake itself though.
If you find these two campsites a little too inconvenient for your party or family, there is a third option in Coward Springs. It is pricier at $12 per night but it has showers, toilets, and a hot tub. Coward Springs also offers camel tours in winter and it is a good place for birdwatching.
Top Image Source: Johan Fantenberg – flickr.com