Lake Eyre is a huge continental saltwater lake in Southern Australia, 700 km north from Adelaide. Its named after Edward John Eyre – the first European to reach it in 1840. It has been formed millions years ago as a result of aeolian processes that pertain to the ability of the winds to shape the land terrain in regions with scare plantation an lack of moist in the soil. The lake is 15 meters below sea level. Lake Eyre lays on the bottom of a big water basin including parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales. Very little of the waters in these regions however actually reach the lake.
Lake Eyre is divided in two areas: north and south. Lake Eyre North is 144 km long and 65 km wide and Lake Eyre South is 60 km long and 24 km wide. The border between the two is the small Goyder Channel. The average rainfall in the region of Lake Eyre is 100-150 mm per year. The lake fills with water up to 1.5 meters every three years and reaches 4 meters only every ten years. Due to the high temperatures and strong winds the water in this endorheic lake evaporates and its floor covers in thick layer of salt. At noon, during high water season the surface of the lake becomes so flat that it reflects perfectly the sky above and it looks like the tourists’ yachts and boats are sailing in the sky itself. Sometimes the lake waters turn pink due to the presence of a beta-carotene pigment.
The region comes to life only during and shorty after heavy rainfall. Thousands of birds fly to the lake, bath in its waters, eat small shrimps and mate. One can see flocks of pelicans, banded stilts, red-necked avocet with their unique awl-looking beaks, silver gulls and Caspian terns. Sometimes the number of birds can go up to 200 thousands. During flood, the lands around the lake start to blossom and the entire area becomes extremely beautiful. The seeds have been waiting an entire year and rush to grow and complete their life cycle before the next dry season.
The official name of the lake was changed in 2012 and it now combines the English and aboriginal name. It is now called Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre. The best time to visit the lake is from April until September. The closest settlement is the small town of Marree with a population of about 150 permanent residents who are employed in the farming sector or in the tourism business providing services for the visitors of the lake. Around 60 km from the town can be seen a ‘painting’ on the plateau floor representing a hunter with a stick or a boomerang. The figure called Marree Man is 2.7 km long and its considered the greatest piece of art than be seen from an airplane. Marree Man has been found 1998 by a pilot accidently flying over it and its still unknown who has created this giant geoglyph and why. The outlines of the image were additionally redefined in 2016 as an effort to keep it visible from the sky longer.
Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre is an interesting tourist destination and the yacht club near the shore hosts visitors from around the world even during the dry season.