One of the magnificent features in the South Australian
outback is the massive Lake Eyre. Whilst in recent times there has been some
water, the lake is usually just a dry salt lake. You can see Lake Eyre on the
horizon as you travel along the Oodnadatta Track between Bopeechee and
Curdimurka. The darker patches that can be seen on the top of small mounds near
Lake Eyre South or at Hermit Hill are remnants of the ancient seabed. If you
stop and take a look you will see these sedimentary stones are quite distinctive
in appearance and texture. There is also a side detour as you head towards
William Creek from Strangeway Springs. This detour takes you between Halligan
Bay and ABC Bay.
Lake Eyre is the world's largest internally draining
catchment. The rivers that feed the lake covers an area of 1.2 million square
kilometres. Usually Lake Eyre and particularly Lake Eyre South which is the part
of the system visible from the Oodnadatta Track is a dry salt lake.
The salt on the lake is the result of past floods, having evaporated, leaving
the dissolved salts behind. When the lake flooded in 1950, a 30 cm layer of salt
was left in its wake.
The Oodnadatta Track crosses almost all of Lake Eyre's western rivers. Whilst
these rivers flood infrequently, the reality saw that railway bridges were
built, many of which are still evident today. It was because of the infrequent
floods that the Stuart Highway and the Adelaide to Darwin rail line was
relocated further west.1
More information about
and the many locations along the route.